Managed IT services can empower your organization and keep it running smoothly. With platform and application support, helpdesk services, maintenance, and more, the right IT services provider will improve your efficiency and productivity – while practically guaranteeing better security and more consistent uptime.
But with so many vendors to choose from, how do you choose the best fit for your organization and your needs?
How to Shop for IT Services
These are some of the best tips for shopping for IT services for your business:
1. Document your list of needs. Before you start looking for specific institutions or service packages, document a list of your needs. What kind of services do you need for your organization? What is your current scale of operations and how could that scale change in the future? What is your current budget and how important is it to stick to that budget? If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you’re going to have a much easier time determining whether a service provider is a good fit or not. This will also prevent you from overbuying or working with an organization that offers services you don’t really need.
2. Start shopping locally. As you begin your search for the best IT service provider, consider starting with local organizations in your area. For example, if you’re in New York City, search for IT services in NYC. Many IT service providers operate remotely, but if you work with a local, you might be able to negotiate a better deal and get access to more support.
3. Get real referrals. Talk to other professionals and see if they have any referrals for you. Are there any likeminded entrepreneurs in your area who have used managed IT services in the past? Have they worked with an organization they love? Conversely, do they have any advice on IT service providers to stay away from? Consulting with people who have had real experiences can help you make a much better decision.
4. Examine the scope of services. When you find a potential candidate, examine their scope of services. Do they cover all of your needs? Do they specialize in one specific area? Can this list of services expand or contract in alignment with your needs, or is it somewhat set in stone? Do you think the pricing is fair for the services provided and how does the pricing compare to other providers in the area?
5. Investigate credentials and experience. Verify that this company is going to provide high quality services by investigating their credentials and experience. What is the leadership team like? What kinds of clients have they worked with in the past? How much collective experience is held by the team? Has the organization won any awards or honors?
6. Read reviews and testimonials. Similarly, it’s important for you to investigate reviews and testimonials. What have previous clients said about this organization? Were they satisfied or dissatisfied with their services? Are there any specific grievances or specific compliments that stand out to you? Depending on your circumstances, you may even want to interview a former or current client.
7. Compare apples to apples. If you have multiple candidates that you’re considering, make it a point to compare apples to apples. If you’re comparing pricing, make sure the service packages are nearly equal. If you’re comparing specific services, make sure each organization describes the service in a similar way.
8. Look for flexibility and scalability. For the most part, your organization will be better off working with an IT service provider that offers flexibility and scalability. For example, is it easy to put together a custom package of services, or are you forced into an out-of-the-box template? If your organization grows exponentially in the next few years, will it be easy to upgrade your current level of services?
9. Pay attention to communication. How does this organization communicate with you? Do you have a dedicated account manager whom you can reach at any time? Does this organization operate with transparency and openness?
10. Negotiate. When you’re ready to take the next step, consider negotiating. Push for a lower price or a more attractive service package to see if you can land a better deal.
Making the Final Decision
Chances are, there are many different IT service providers that could potentially be a good fit for your organization. There’s no such thing as a perfect fit, so try not to be too much of a perfectionist when shopping around for the best option. If you’re struggling to choose between two very similar providers, don’t overthink it or suffer from analysis paralysis; after you’ve already done all the necessary research, just go with your first instincts. Having an experienced, reliable IT service provider is always better than not having one.