In the current economic climate where time and resources are scarce, increasing numbers of businesses are outsourcing their IT systems. On paper, it makes perfect sense.
IT systems, after all, are the backbone of your business. They keep your processes flowing. Configuring your systems is technical. Managing them requires expert resource.
IT outsourcing means you have an external department of specialists handling all your technical needs. Best of all, they can do so at a fraction of the cost of employing a team of in-house IT experts.
Even so, your IT systems are integral to what you do. They are more sensitive than a skin-care testing company. Outsourcing them is therefore a huge decision. It’s one that can be fraught with insecurities.
And, with more options on the market than apples in an orchard, knowing how to pick a sweet one can be tricky. As such, we’ve put together a checklist of questions you can ask a prospective IT provider to gauge their suitability for your business.
If you’re remote, how will you understand the intricacies of my business?
Like Cinderella’s shoe, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to your IT needs. Your business and processes are unique. That’s why any prospective IT provider should carry out a full assessment. The insights generated inform how your systems should be configured and managed to ensure you profit from them each and every day.
Ask your prospective supplier about their process. Will they start with an assessment? Will your proposed business outsource package be based against this?
How much downtime can we expect in the event of an IT issue?
Even the most robust IT systems experience issues. When one of your employee’s machines go down for instance, they lose the ability to work until your outsourced IT team resolves it. The loss of productivity can be costly.
How will your prospective supplier deal with such instances? What’s their remote service like? What SLAs are in place? What escalation processes are in place? What’s being monitored and at what point will action be taken in the event of an issue? Ask to see past examples where they have worked with similar businesses.
IT tip: A reliable provider can set up your IT systems. From here, they should monitor and manage your processes within your agreed service requirements.
What type of cloud solutions will you use?
Whilst the cloud is a part of everyday life, the complexities of business systems mean many still understandably have their head in it.
Your dedicated IT team should install and manage the right software. Again, as your business processes are unique, your needs must firstly be assessed in order to meet them.
Ask your prospective supplier how they plan to streamline and automate key processes. Will your business be able to access data anywhere, anytime? Can you do so securely? And can you do so at a fraction of the cost with hosted servers?
Making an informed decision
IT outsourcing is designed to save you time and money. The wrong decision, however, can end up costing you. It’s important to therefore choose wisely where your IT dollars are spent.