In the 21st century, it’s likely nobody will be able to find a business that isn’t using at least one form of information technology. That puts plenty of businesspeople in the position of needing to seek out and work long-term with IT companies, often external to the business itself. Entrepreneurs will have to make smart decisions about the IT companies they bring into their fold, otherwise their entire business could be on the chopping block. As business owners scout for IT companies, there are some questions they can ask themselves to ensure they’re making the right decisions for their company.
What Does the Business Need?
Business owners might be vaguely aware of what technology needs their business has, but it’s crucial they clearly define these needs before they reach out to IT companies. This means having a comprehensive list of what technology is going to help the business thrive, and what’s necessary to protect the company’s data in case of disaster. Being at least partially aware of what technology can steer the business toward its goals, and what the company hopes to get out of its technology can support entrepreneurs in making educated decisions when taking stock of the IT companies they have at their disposal.
Is the IT Company Experienced?
Once an entrepreneur defines how technology will push their business forward and ensure it operates smoothly, choosing an IT company to install and maintain technology won’t be as much of an uphill battle. One key to business owners choosing their best option is comparing their selected technological needs to any IT company’s listed areas of expertise. If the IT company has a proven track record of experience in the technologies a business owner plans to incorporate into their business and experience working in similar industries, then no doubt entrepreneurs have found their right match.
Do They Have a Good Reputation?
The IT companies entrepreneurs stumble upon should ideally have some history of previous work experience. Business owners may think twice about working with an IT company that doesn’t have an established background servicing businesses—unless they can vet the capabilities of current staff. A newly opened IT company may be the best choice, in spite of their blank record, if the staff appear knowledgeable. It’s best to talk to the people who would be doing the work and get a sense of what they can handle. However, if the company has previous work experience, entrepreneurs can make better judgments about the quality of services IT companies can provide by turning to referrals, reviews, and interviews with clients.
Who Is on Their Team?
Even if business owners can get an initial feel for an IT company through referrals, reviews, and client interviews, they shouldn’t hesitate to inquire about who’s on staff and what they’re capable of accomplishing. The right IT company will have enough staff to address business concerns in a prompt manner, and will have at least one specialist in the varying technology sectors a business owner has listed as important to their operations. Businesspeople may recognize running the technology for their business will be no small feat. In that case, looking for large staff numbers and bigger teams of specialists, depending on which technology will play the biggest role, is the best course of action.
What Is Their Availability?
Some businesses may require IT companies that run 24/7, depending on the level of connection between their business and technology. Some businesses are inevitably going to end up being almost entirely upheld by technology. A tech company likely won’t want to work with an IT company that can only promise 9 to 5 hours, on the chance technology fails and puts the company’s data in jeopardy in the middle of night. In those circumstances, an IT company with round-the-clock remote access—or possibly on-site access—would be a lifesaver. Business owners should determine if they will have time-sensitive concerns and pick an IT company that is capable of responding to issues as soon as they arise.
How Much Will Services Cost?
It goes without saying that IT services will add up in costs. Once business owners believe they have found a few IT companies they could rely on, the final step is requesting quotes and comparing prices. There’s no question business owners will want to go with the most affordable option, or at least be prepared to meet the costs associated with what they’re demanding. Business owners should obviously always check prices, and make sure they can pay those fees before onboarding any IT company.
Luke Miles | Contributing Writer