IT Companies come and go but the best provide technology solutions for their customers and they do this by listening to you. When was the last time your IT staff or IT Company listened to you?
Don’t let any company ever tell you that the way you do business is not unique. Every owner, manager & director has a sense of how to best operate their companies. Your IT Company needs to build a solution around the way you want to do your business. If they came to the table with a solution already in hand then their solutions aren’t adaptable. Which of these has happened to you…
- They tried to sell me on 24/7 support. I’m only open from 8 to 5
- I have 10 GB of business data but they gave me a great deal on 10 TB of storage
- They saved me money on my internet connectivity and phones but I was down for 2 days
- I called to ask a question and I got a bill for 500 dollars
- Their “local” contact had an area code located 4 states away
The key to choosing the ideal Technology Solutions provider is to make sure that your needs are in line with their services. If you need 24/7 support, ensure that they can offer 24/7 support but if you don’t need 24/7 support, ensure that you aren’t paying for it and subsidizing those companies that do. If you want a local account manager or even the same account manager every time you call in make sure that you won’t be calling a pool of sales people.
Questions to ask
While a guide to IT Company choice would be different for every customer, Chess has come up with some guidelines to ensuring that you ask the right questions when choosing your technology partner.
Dialogue – Sit down face to face with your potential account manager and ask how often they will be onsite to discuss YOUR needs and wishes. Most sales people are more than happy to come and sell you something but listening to you is not their strong suit. Develop a plan to discuss how technology projects are progressing and ensure that together you and your solutions provider have developed a strategic plan.
Expertise – Ensuring your partner has the personnel and skill sets necessary to deliver a quality solutions experience is paramount. When engaging possible IT partners, have their technical lead discuss a previous project they worked on that is similar to yours. Their comfort level in detailing the project will give a strong indication of how comfortable they are with designing actual solutions.
Critical Thinking – After describing your environment and needs ask your potential IT partner to discuss what they think are some projects or solutions that could help your business. “Have to do an assessment” or “We’ll let you know” are not acceptable answers. Account managers and technicians should be comfortable enough to offer an outside point of view. Do you like what they have to say?
Integration – Your ideal Technology partner is going to be able to provide you fully integrated solutions. Can they offer access to disaster recovery technologies, storage technologies, server and desktop technologies, software technologies and technologies on the horizon? Ask how their pieces fit together so that you are clear on how your pieces can fit together.
Ultimately, the ideal Technology Solutions provider is going to engage in a two way partnership with your company. Be sure that whoever you bring on to handle your technology needs is willing to engage with you and is willing to adapt a solution that fits your needs