10 Things Your New IT Service Provider Needs to Know
Whether you are a small business owner looking for a Managed Service Provider for the first time, or want to switch to another company because your current IT Support just isn’t cutting it, it’s good to know what a good IT Specialist will ask, not only to feel confident in the company you’re hiring, but also to make sure you’re covering all issues–big and small–from Day 1.
You might not know how many of those annoying time-consuming technical problems disrupting your daily productivity could be solved by fixing a bigger issue. And you don’t want to jump into a contract with a services provider who knows how to “fix” it, but doesn’t have the experience, knowledge, and/or qualifications to address the root of the problem, leaving you hanging or consistently band-aiding the issue–oh, and by the way, charging you for the hours to do so.
We’ve put together a short list of questions we’d ask a potential new client.
After answering and discussing these topics with the right Managed Service Provider, you will feel confident in knowing you will be well taken care of (and when to say ‘no’ to the wrong one).
1. What does your business need from an IT Service Provider
From Cloud backup, Email Hosting and Microsoft 365 to a Disaster Recovery Plan and Data Protection, IT services are essential to the comprehensive health and security of your small business infrastructure and its productivity. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the things your business needs–we are here to fill in the gaps and often can offer solutions you don’t even know exist for those nagging daily issues.
2. What would you view as a success?
As an IT company, we focus on prioritizing your needs as a small business. From initial assessment and project planning to ongoing maintenance, the goals are not just to solve the problem, but to create an ongoing solution from root to surface AND to deliver the quality customer service, fast response times and expertise we have become known for. Perhaps this question would not just reference what immediate “it would be great if we could . . .” ideas you have, but also what solutions you may need to solve what is lacking in your current IT services team.
3. Tell us about your average day and how a solution that meets your expectations would impact that daily work.
Are you running around, doing things that are not your job, trying to fix everyone else’s problems because your IT support is so slow to respond? Are you having trouble getting your job done because you’re constantly helping everyone else accomplish basic tasks and resolve technical issues? Are you wasting hours trying to fix Outlook, anti-virus, or network connectivity issues?
4. What business problem(s) are you facing?
From more stable Wi-Fi to educating your staff on ransomware and setting up your conference room for meetings–even upgrading your network surveillance cameras–there are plenty of seemingly small issues that can add up quickly and create a frustrating lack of productivity in day-to-day work. No problem is too small when every minute is important for your small business.
5. What's prompting you to do something about the problem(s) now?
How urgent are these issues? Have they been building up for a while, getting worse, and grossly impeding your productivity? Are you anticipating this will be the case soon? Or the more common issue–is your current IT services team not following through on their commitment? Wasting your time and money and leaving the problems unresolved? It’s important for us to understand what is prompting you to shop for a Managed Service Provider, as much as possible.
6. Are there issues affecting everyone in your organization or just you?
Those daily update notifications–is that just your computer or a recurring problem for the whole staff? Outlook locking up every time you post an attachment? Isolating the problem and its source is the key to prioritizing projects right out of the gate. And our proposed solutions will depend on need and support from the decision-makers on your end.
7. Is there anything or anyone who might serve as a barrier to our proposed solution(s)?
8. Do you have a budget allocated for IT solutions?
The ideal solution for a managed services contract is a full-scope fixed-rate 24x7x365 contract. This kind of support is hands-down the most cost-effective and budget-friendly, manageable option for small and large businesses alike. However, there are multiple ways to work within a limited budget and still meet your needs; for example, starting off with a contracted number of hours based on initial project needs and a negotiated rate may be best for you getting off the ground, transitioning into a bigger office, or reopening.
9. How does the budget sign-off process work?
In a small business situation with limited staff and resources, typically the approval goes through the office manager/representative to the CEO. In a more complex scenario, such as a small town or city municipality, our proposal process begins with a manager, which is then presented to a budget committee and council, and finally voted into action. This information is essential for IT consultants in order to plan and prioritize your projects and services.
10. When do you want to get started?
Tomorrow? Next week? 3 months from now? Your timeline could depend on a variety of factors, from urgency of current issues to terms of an existing contract. Having a clear timeline and prioritizing your new IT support is an important place to start.
Now Technologies is a full-scope Managed IT Service Provider and certified small business enterprise located in Columbia, Maryland. Certified engineers, unmatched response time and over 25 years of professional IT support in MD, DC, VA and beyond. NTI offers 24/7 fixed-rate unlimited support contracts, helping to build, protect and grow your company’s infrastructure from the ground up.
Matt Deskin, Vice President | firstname.lastname@example.org
410-844-4222 | www.nowtechs.com