5 Signs you need to change your IT Provider
The number of businesses investing in digital adoption has skyrocketed since the pandemic began and there are no signs that this trend is slowing down.
Digital adoption essentially involves helping businesses to use and capitalise on technology — which could involve anything from using business email accounts to cybersecurity protection or digital cloud-based tools to improve productivity.
One of the biggest hurdles many entrepreneurs face when getting started with digital adoption is their lack of confidence and/or experience with technology. Rather than deal with the problem themselves many small businesses wisely opt to outsource the challenge to IT managed service providers.
Yet, the process of finding a good IT provider can be really daunting for the uninitiated. There are so many providers out there all saying the same thing. It’s hard to know where to begin and easy to be taken for a ride. Those with more experience of buying in IT support will almost certainly of had one or more disappointing experiences.
As a managed IT service provider myself, I’ll be the first to admit it can be a minefield. So, to help you make the right choices in the future, here are my five signs that the IT provider you’re talking to is probably one to avoid.
1. They prioritise themselves over you
Bad IT providers tend to struggle with listening. They will often suggest whatever solution is most convenient or profitable for them rather than what’s best for your business. If you sense their priorities are not aligned with yours, don’t be afraid to interrogate them and make them clearly justify their reasoning. If they can’t, there’s your answer.
Like a good doctor, a professional IT provider will always listen to and understand your specific symptoms and prescribe the right solution. Not palm you off with generic paracetamol. They should be able to offer clear guidance on how their strategy will enable you to meet the goals you agreed on and on top, would provide a transparent measurement of your progress in achieving those goals.
2. They are just a supplier, rather than a strategic partner
Of course, any IT provider is supplying a service, but the best ones do much more than that. They will maximise their efforts to work together as an extension of your team. They’ll invest the necessary time required to truly understand your business, priorities, and plans, and in so doing, they will be able to consult on and prevent potential future issues. A poor provider is too lazy for that and just wants your money.
It is advisable to suss out the sort of method of working the provider will offer you when it comes to solving business-level problems. Remember – it is the providers that are thorough in their learning process about you, your team, and your business, that will have the most positive impact on your business success.
3. They fail to deliver a cost-effective service
Another key thing to ask your provider is how they will demonstrate return on investment, and by what methods. After all, you don’t want to invest in something that ultimately is not going to be worth it. Having a conversation around how your IT provider would support you with business reviews and budgeting will significantly help you decide whether they are going to be able to offer you value for money.
4. They are distant and unavailable
In the initial honeymoon period after a contract is signed most relationships start out great, but as time goes by the support can begin to dwindle and you can start to feel like a number more than a valued customer.
If you’ve got a problem, you don’t want to be waiting days for a response to your ticket from the support desk. You want it resolved quickly and professionally so you can get back to being productive.
It is vital that your IT provider is available when you need them to help make technology an enabler for your business, not a bottleneck. Good providers will always make themselves available to fix your issues quickly and ensure you are empowered to make well-informed decisions.
5. They don’t understand people
There’s a common stereotype that many tech people don’t have the best people skills. And in my experience, that’s fairly accurate. But of course, there are exceptions. The right provider will be able to offer a human connection and expansive technology knowledge.
IT providers who don’t understand people tend to communicate in jargon and buzzwords, rather than digestible language that is easy to understand. Communication styles can be a big indicator of how they will work with you. Open, frequent, and professional communication will signal that you’re actually a valued customer rather than just a number. Remember, any service is only as good as the people providing it.
Ultimately, the vetting process to find an IT provider is not a task to be taken lightly. You don’t want to be lumbered with an expensive someone who doesn’t understand you or your business needs. But if you lookout for the warning signs listed above, you’ll be able to avoid a lot of frustration. If you connect the dots, you’ll realise that in reading this blog you’ve already found that reliable and trustworthy IT provider you were looking for.
Augustine Woo, founder, and director, Techsolve
Augi (pronounced Oggy) Woo began his career in IT in 2000 when he undertook both in-house and freelance roles for large media production companies in central London. He founded Techsolve in 2006 with the vision of taking IT headaches away from London’s small businesses. He is a highly approachable and friendly guy who can convey technical information without drowning his audience in jargon.