Choosing an IT consultant to provide ongoing managed services is an important task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The right IT consulting firm can help catapult your business growth; the wrong one can leave your company stagnant.
When selecting a provider of IT managed services, ask the following questions to find the best IT consultant for your organization:
1. How many clients do you currently serve? This question gives you a general understanding of the scope of IT managed services an IT consulting firm provides. Generally, a high number of clients indicates a smooth, effective service process.
2. If you install new software or hardware, how do you handle questions and problems that crop up following installation?
3. How long have you been in business? As in most areas of life, more experience often equates to better performance.
4. What IT tasks do you outsource to other companies? It isn’t unusual for an IT consultant to outsource at least a few services. For instance, many IT consulting firms partner with overseas call centers to provide round-the-clock help desk service. Ask potential providers of IT managed services about their outsourcing. Who answers their telephones? Is it the same people who actually solve IT problems? If not, you might be up for some frustrating lag time in the midst of a system crash.
5. Are you able to accommodate one-off projects, or are ongoing IT managed services your sole focus? How are one-off projects managed and priced?
6. Will we have a consistent service representative? Typically, small business leaders hope to have a consistent contact for IT consulting. If a different IT consultant visits your office every week, it’s harder to establish a positive relationship, and more time is required to explain the current IT situation.
7. What is your policy regarding privacy of client data? What information do you share with your outsourcing partners? Ask this question to protect your brand’s intellectual property.
8. Do you cater your information for your audience? A strong IT consultant eschews technical jargon in favor of everyday language that c-suite managers can understand. As you discuss your potential partnership with each IT consultant, notice whether he or she uses words like ROI, business intelligence and other common phrases of the business management world.
9. What are your regular business hours, and how do you handle after-hours support needs? Depending on your business, you may require 24-hour availability.
10. What aspects of IT do you monitor, and how do you handle system alerts you receive? Ask this question to appreciate each prospective IT consultant’s security and ongoing maintenance capabilities.
11. How do you document system information and IT managed services? This information can be crucial for strategic planning.
12. Do you specialize in a certain market segment? What is your niche? If a certain IT consulting firm specializes in your arena, chances are they will provide higher-caliber service
13. Can you provide references for past projects or accounts that resemble my company’s needs?
14. Do you see your clients as partners? How do you facilitate your clients’ success? Don’t settle for anything less than a strong partnership with your IT consultant.