Choosing an IT company to support your business can sometimes be a bit of a daunting task. You’re going to depend on them to keep your systems running. You’re going to be spending quite a lot of money with them, so you want to make sure you get it right. And there are so many IT support companies out there, how do you know which one is best for you?
Well here are our top three tips on how to choose the right IT support company for your business…
It makes sense to start your search close to home. If you’re in Macclesfield, and you need computer support, you’re going to have a bit of a wait if your IT company is in Bournemouth. Of course, engineers won’t always have to come out to site. Any IT company worth its salt will be able to resolve a high percent of issues remotely. But there will be occasions when they’ll need to come to your office. Try and choose a company located within an hour’s drive of your business premises. And if you have satellite offices or more than one site then make sure that your chosen company can offer support in that area. Don’t make your search too narrow though. If you’re in Wilmslow, don’t discount Macclesfield IT companies. Widen your search to Cheshire, or East Cheshire at least, to get the biggest range of expertise and a greater variety of businesses to make your decision from.
Ask for Experts
Most IT companies have specific specialisms. Some are Microsoft experts, others specialise in Cisco, Citrix, Sophos, VMWare…some will have expertise in a number of these areas. Some will offer telecoms solutions, connectivity, cloud computing, IT security…just make sure that their offering meets your business model. And if they claim to be experts or partners of a certain provider, check that they have the credentials to back up this claim. If somebody claims to be a Microsoft partner for example, you can check with Microsoft through its Pinpoint site. Most of these accreditations expire annually as well so don’t be afraid of asking potential suppliers to prove their claims. Think carefully about exactly what you need. Which of the services on offer will actually benefit your business? Don’t get drawn in to exaggerated sales pitches or wowed with the offer of snazzy gadgets. Think carefully about your business computing need and ensure that it is met efficiently and cost effectively.
If you’re a restaurant and you open from 5pm – midnight, it’s going to get frustrating if your IT company works a regular 9-5 day. Make sure they’ll be available when you need them and be aware of possible out of hours call out charges. Check what Service Level Agreement response times they provide. If your systems are so business critical that an hours downtime will cause huge loss of earnings, make sure your computer support company has the capability to provide a fast and effective response and fix time. How big are your shortlisted IT firms? A one-man band vs a bank of 50 computer engineers will make all the difference when you look at how many employees and sites you need supporting. Will they come to site if the job requires it? Will this be part of your monthly support charges or will you incur extra costs for call outs? How transparent are they? Will they offer proactive system monitoring? This will save you huge amounts of down time as the engineers keep on top of any potential issues and fix them before they arrive.
When you’ve made your shortlist and met with a few providers, make sure you ask for references or case studies. If they have a happy customer base they should be able to offer you plenty of contacts you can speak to about the service they provide. They’ll want to come to your offices to get a good idea of your business space, but go to see them too. You’ll get an instant feel for their company culture, the size of the business, the moral of the team and ultimately, you’ll be able to better decide whether you like them, Remember, they’ll be supporting you and your business working with you as your IT partner, so you need to be sure you’ll get on.