Changing IT providers

Change is constant.  And change is challenging.  You face it all the time in many areas of your business.  However, implementing changes for change’s sake can be wasteful.

Information Technology (IT) is a critical function in any business, regardless of its size.  Your wheels don’t turn smoothly enough or fast enough if your IT is not up to scratch.  And you definitely don’t want your wheels coming to a shuddering halt.  So, if your current IT provider has given you no cause to look elsewhere then good!  If you are happy with the quality and service you get from your current provider then you’re possibly best off focussing on other areas of your business.

However, perhaps you’re not happy.  Or perhaps you’re coming towards the end of a support contract so you’ve prudently decided to look around and see what other options are available.

Why might you be unhappy?

Lack of Proactivity

They always do the bare minimum – always just responding to circumstance rather than looking proactively to ward off threats and mitigate risks.  They have no Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) in place so they’re unable to identify issues such as missed backups or impending hard disc failures.  They have no culture of their engineers regularly visiting your site to check on aspects of your IT system’s performance.  In summary, they’re not focussed on spotting problems before the problems become an operational issue for you the end user.

Lack of Continuity

Every time you contact them you’re dealing with a different engineer – someone unfamiliar with your setup – unfamiliar with your current challenges.  And that person wastes some of your time acquainting themselves with the background details.  Granted – if the provider has a decent CRM system then the notes on your case(s) should be accessible to all – but it’s still non-ideal.  It’s always best to have personal continuity – allowing the engineer to build up a deep body of knowledge about your systems and your needs.

Inability to reach People

Perhaps your provider hasn’t been accessible when you’ve needed them – emails unanswered, phone-messages unreturned, etc.  You need to be able to reach your provider.   Which means that your provider needs to have sufficient personnel to both work on other customers’ active issues AND be able to listen and deal with new issues that you raise with them.  By the way this won’t happen by accident.  An IT provider that is fit for purpose needs to be deliberately geared for dealing with multiple customers at the same time.  You need to avoid dealing with the proverbial man in a van.  He can only work on one thing at a time.  If he’s working on one issue for you while also fielding calls from another client then he’s not optimally focussed.  He’s inevitably thinking “possible sale” and failing to focus on what’s most important to you – YOU.  The best he can do is to interrupt his work with you and acknowledge that other client.  What can actually happen is that he can lose focus on your issue and fail to do a good job in a timely manner.  He doesn’t have a helpdesk.  He isn’t geared to be responsive to whoever gets in touch.

Lack of Responsiveness

Even if they are accessible perhaps they’re unresponsive – listening to you but then taking too long to take action.  It’s useless to you if your provider treats what you say as rhetoric.  Ok – you do want to be listened to – but it’s really action that you need.

Bad Quality

Or perhaps their quality has been lacking – maybe providing you with mediocre or flawed equipment – or implementing a “fix” that proves to be anything but.  Are their people trained?  More importantly, are their people training.  The technological landscape keeps changing – and that’s not going to change – it may even accelerate.  Unless your IT provider invests in the ongoing professional development of their people, they’ll be left behind and guess who’ll suffer as a result?  You don’t want to feel assured just now as to their technical expertise.  Now is just a snapshot.  You want to be confident that their capabilities will grow and mature over time.

Unsatisfactory Service

So maybe they do take care of your technical issues.  But what about timeliness?  It’s no good to you if fixers take too long.

Lack of Reliability

Is their reliability solid?  Perhaps they’re failing to give you something that’s intangible but critical – that assurance – that feeling – that they’ll be able to take care of you no matter what you have to deal with.  Many IT providers seem to miss this – they seem to miss the fact that to you IT is purely a tool – albeit a mission-critical tool – that empowers you to get on with your real work.

Did you notice the absence of price in the above list?  That’s deliberate.  And the reason is simple – you don’t want to be penny wise and pound foolish.  If a provider is half the price but takes twice as long to fix important issues where does that leave you?  You’re actually worse off because your productivity hit extends over a longer period of time.  You may want high quality and great service combined with a low price but it’s not possible.  You cannot get all 3.  So you’ve a choice to make – which of the 3 are you prepared to do without?  High quality?  No.  Great service?  No.  The implication is clear – do not focus excessively on price.  Focus on value.

At BITS we will always be happy to help you and to answer any questions you may have regarding our own experience, expertise and track record.  If you’d like to arrange an initial consultation, entirely free of charge or obligation, please contact us in confidence.