Everything You Need to Know About Outsourcing IT Support
3 Jan 2016

Everything You Need to Know About Outsourcing IT Support

1. What you need to consider

Outsourcing your IT support is a big decision. You need an IT provider that is reliable, experienced, knowledgeable, trustworthy and, above all, what we call a natural partner. They should be a good fit for your business by having the same values and culture as your organisation. They also need to understand your business. They should know your pains and your future goals.

  • They should also work with you to achieve an enduring partnership based on mutual understanding and trust, rather than a transactional-based engagement.
  • That's why you need to choose the right IT provider. And these are the key factors you need to consider.
Quality

When choosing an IT support provider you need to ask questions about their staff. What are their qualifications, experience and expertise? Do they have a large and varied pool of IT experts you can access?

You also want to ensure an IT provider has the ability to deliver what you need. A good way to ascertain this is to speak to their customers to find out more about their track record. Alternatively ask to have a tour of their operations or review their quality assurance procedures and documentation. You can also consider small or short term engagement and project to get an understanding of this first hand.

Culture Fit

Your IT provider is essentially going to become an extension of your IT team (or possibly your whole IT team). And just like you assess potential employees to make sure they will fit your company's culture, it is important to choose an IT provider who will work well with you.

If you are a fast-moving, ever changing company then you need to find a fast-paced IT who will be able to meet your IT demands. Or if you are a not for profit you may want to seek an IT provider that gives back to the community.

Customer Service

This is an important factor for many different reasons. Firstly, understand the Service Level Agreement (SLA) being offered. Does the SLA match your business needs? What does your SLA include? What are the response times for different issues? What are the IT provider's problem-resolution procedures?

It is also important to choose a company that has open communication and is friendly, approachable and reliable. When things start to go wrong you need to know your IT provider will be there for you when you need them most. That is why you should ask questions such as, 'Will I have an account manager?', 'What are your return policies for hardware?' and 'What kind of warranty is offered on products and service?'

Flexibility

One of the biggest concerns when outsourcing anything is losing control but this doesn't have to be the case. In fact, it shouldn't change, IT is a function to support business and business objectives, not to impose or create blockages that hinder the business from operating effectively. Make sure the IT provider you choose offers flexibility to continue to meet your organisation's changing needs. If new employees come on board are your software solutions scalable? If company direction changes quickly can your IT company accommodate? If you need to respond to a changing environment how can your IT company help you?

These are the sorts of questions you should be asking.

Security

Be sure to ask questions about your IT provider's security measures. Ask questions not just about how they will manage your IT security but also how they manage the security of their own systems and servers (this is important to note as service providers not only have documentation on your environment, they store all passwords and even sensitive data, especially if an offsite backup solution is implemented). Security of environments is often overlooked and is paramount for managing risks effectively.

What security solutions do they implement? Are they focused on preventative monitoring and management? How do they minimise downtime?

 

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