Tech is an interesting thing in that small business owners sometimes let their IT providers have control over everything. There are countless stories of the IT department playing video games all day instead of doing the “work” that they are paid to do. Why is that? Well, tech has a lot of automation, and parameters that can be set up to ensure that a day’s work is really full of monitoring the proverbial radar in case anything goes wrong. It’s for that reason that you shouldn’t just let anyone jump into your IT services and run without clearly defined roles. There are some questions that you are going to want to ask your IT service provider, so that they aren’t just sitting around twiddling their thumbs.
What Is Your Core Business In IT?
Here’s the kicker, you’re going to have to know what you’re getting into. What are the services that an individual or business provides? Is it just IT consulting? Security? Programming? Design? What in the world of the IT banner is a person going to be able to assist you with. There are plenty of tech workers that aren’t really going to help you with certain tasks. For instance, if you need to network all the printers in the office to run on specific formats, you may run into an issue if you hire someone that is skilled in only programming languages. They are still under the banner of IT, but may not be good at network administration.
How Big Is Your Work Force?
If you’re going to hire anyone, make sure that you know how many individuals are under the work force. If you hire a company for IT solutions and they are only 2 people strong, you will find that they can easily be overwhelmed. The same goes for large companies, as they can end up losing sight of smaller clients in favor of larger tasks. You need to have a balancing act here.
Where Are You Located?
Here’s something grand, you should know where the IT providers you are going to hire are located. Do not hire anyone that is too far away. What if your network goes down? What if a computer needs upgrading? Not everything can be done remotely. You need to know where the infrastructure of your IT providers are located, in case you need on campus help.
What Software Do You Use For Automation?
Look for automation in the work place? You should know whether or not the company you’re hiring uses the latest standards. If you need specifics, just ask. Don’t be shy. You need to know what is expected for the money you’re going to pay to get help in this arena.
What Are Your Business Hours?
Tech doesn’t sleep. You need to ask whether or not the provider you want to hire can help you at 2 in the morning, as well as 2 in the afternoon your time. Your computer network may go down at midnight, who do you call? Will there be someone there to help? These are strong questions to ask prior to considering managed IT services.
Will There Be Manual Checkups and Monitoring?
As mentioned above, there is a certain “set and forget” element to the world of IT. You need to ask whether or not there will be manual updates, checkups, and fixes in place. This is an absolute important question, because you want to ensure that the providers you hire have on hands approach to your business needs.
Are You Familiar With The Software My Business Uses Daily?
Some IT professionals have no clue what programming language, software package, or network you have in place. You’re going to have to explicitly ask them. Do not hire anyone to help you unless you have an answer to this. If you hire providers that are learning as they go, you’re going to run into a lot of issues, which is not what you need to focus on within the world of networking, IT and beyond. Your business needs someone that knows what they are doing, and that includes the software you’re utilizing to run your business.
How Do You Handle Technological Changes or Upgrades?
Here’s the thing about IT, it’s ever evolving. Hiring IT providers is good, but the provider that you’re hiring needs to be able to adapt, learn, and understand changes that come to the industry. For instance, if you have POS software that has a huge update, will the IT provider be able to upgrade your systems or will they be stuck in the past? How do they measure change, and how do they make it easier for clients to work within the confines of the evolution of IT protocol?
How Do You Know Your Client’s Needs Are Met?
This is an important thing. What if the IT providers you’re speaking with don’t have a lot of satisfied customers? How will you know? You need to actively pursue how they measure this, and whether or not they have any ideas as to whether or not their clients are happy with the services they provide. If they are clueless, or just assume or take their word for it, you may run into problems. Always ask about this. Satisfaction and customer service go hand in hand when it comes to IT.
Why Should I Hire You?
The million dollar question is here. Why? This is something that you want to hit any IT providers with. Why? If they cannot really answer this, or they have some bravado in their speech, don’t believe the hype. A lot of people are good with sales, and have a great deal of hubris. You do not want to fall for the sales pitches that many IT providers will have as a result of asking this question. Make sure that you have an outlined plan, and seek out providers that can answer this within the confines of your plan for the future.
These are important questions to consider. Weigh them out, ask them, and see what the people you want to hire will say about them. This will help you gain the trust of a solid team, and will help your business grow exponentially, no doubt.