7 Ways to Tell If Your IT Support Provider Is Ready to Grow with You
Technology is so central to the operations of any organization of size that, irrespective of the field of business, technology has the ability to either drive or impede growth.
For this reason, a continued close match between your business and your IT support company is essential to growing your business. Your support provider must grow, scale and respond with your organization.
But how do you know whether the IT outsourcing provider you are currently using can grow alongside your business? We think these are the seven key capabilities you should identify.
RESPONSIVENESS AND AVAILABILITY
Hiccups are a reality of business life but constant pauses and breaks in services will produce subdued growth. It’s essential to work with an IT support company that can deliver day in, day out – around the clock.
First, consider whether your managed support provider delivers out of hours service: evenings and weekends. All-day support is essential because growing businesses can’t risk losing a morning or a day’s productivity just because a sleepy IT provider only woke up at 9 AM.
Fast issue resolution is important too. Often this depends on the depth of knowledge your IT provider possesses. When seeking IT support, companies can’t sit around waiting for a provider to consult external sources. A worthy partner will have the in-house expertise to rapidly respond to a problem, ensuring flawless business continuity.
WHY IT’S NOT A GOOD IDEA TO TACKLE THESE ISSUES YOURSELF
Small companies shouldn’t take a lackadaisical approach to security and compliance, but they often do, as the perceived stakes simply aren’t that high. However, as a business grows, it becomes more exposed and its security and compliance burden becomes more difficult to ignore.
An IT support company that supports a smaller business will usually do what is necessary to ensure a degree of cybersecurity, but large companies and enterprise-scale operations require a much more involved approach.
Evaluate your provider’s security credentials, and ensure your IT support company has in place a program to manage both cybersecurity and compliance concerns; the latter is too often neglected.
Also, take note of your provider’s internal security and compliance arrangements – managed service partners will inevitably have access to and even hold your confidential business data, so their internal practices matter.
PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT AND STANDARDS
Your IT support partner may start off on the right foot, but once a contract is in place it is easy for performance to drop, and for your business to run on technology that doesn’t meet expectations or fails on good practice grounds.
The last thing you want is for your IT outsourcing to gently drift off pace, only to fail spectacularly when your growing business needs it most. So, consider whether your provider delivers status reports that cover KPIs including responsiveness. You should also see regular overviews of current issues, what your provider has achieved over time and any longstanding challenges.
A provider that can keep up with your business growth will also have in place set standards for routine tasks, including a service level agreement (SLA) that compels their team to be there as your business grows – or face consequences.
UNDERSTANDS ENTERPRISE-SCALE IT
Start-ups and growing businesses may think that enterprise-scale technology, with all the associated buzzwords, acronyms and seriousness are a world apart from their needs and requirements.
However, the day will come when your company needs enterprise-scale IT. When dealing with IT support, some companies may not want to switch providers when they reach a certain scale.
That’s why it’s worth signing up with an IT support company that can meet enterprise-scale technology needs. Besides, small businesses can often learn lessons from enterprise approaches to IT, including in its ability to manage technology, to secure data and to extract value.
A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO IT
Growing companies often end up fixing things on the go. It would be a mistake to rely on an IT provider that does the same. In contrast, your IT provider must be proactive in its approach: upgrading capacity before capacity becomes a constraint and foreseeing and responding to problems before they arise.
Indeed, a proactive approach to IT can be crucial to your business. It ensures the business grows unimpeded, and serves to empower its growth.
BACKUP AND REDUNDANCY COMPLIANCE
The proactive approach extends to backups and redundancy measures as well, because a growing company cannot afford to suddenly find that crucial services – or crucial data – are suddenly missing when needed.
Verify that your IT support provider has a comprehensive, regularly reviewed backup plan that ensures your company’s technology assets can be restored should any issues arise. Redundancy is important too – where your provider supplies live services it needs to have sufficient redundancy in place to perform a switchover in case of hardware or software failure – giving your business the continuity it needs to grow.
KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR SECTOR
At the outset, your IT requirements may look a lot like any other organisation’s IT requirements. However, as your company grows, its requirements may become increasingly niche due to your particular field of business.
An IT provider that knows your field of business inside-out will be better able to service niche, unique technology requirements than an IT provider without other clients in the field.
Furthermore, your provider will know where the growth opportunities are from a technology perspective, and where the speedbumps are. In other words, your managed services partner can become a real partner in your business – utilising technology to support it every step of the way.
SWITCH BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
It’s never fun switching IT providers, particularly given how closely technology integrates into most companies’ operations.
However, if you’re not sure that your IT provider can grow with your business there may come a time where it is worth considering a switch. Switching at an early stage of business growth will prevent more difficult, more challenging problems in the future.
Many organisations depend deeply on IT to fuel business growth, so your IT provider can make all the difference. Therefore, consider a switch and get in touch with OSCS. We will gladly sit down and discuss how our wide range of IT services help deliver growth for your business.