When it comes to managing your business's IT infrastructure, it's crucial to have a reliable and trustworthy IT partner. Unfortunately, many business owners and managers may not know what questions to ask to make sure they are getting the best service possible. Asking the right questions can help you understand your IT provider's capabilities, identify potential issues with your existing provider, and ensure that your IT infrastructure is optimized for your business needs. That's why we've put together this list of the top 10 questions we believe every client should ask their IT provider to ensure you are getting the most out of their services.
How will your team help my company achieve its strategic priorities and improve mission critical processes?
If your IT partner doesn’t understand where your business is headed and how you plan to get there, how can they ensure the services they provide are aligned with your future goals? You need a trusted partner that will take the time to observe, listen and learn. We make it our business to understand your business.
- How will you help us compete more effectively in the marketplace?
If your team is bogged down in day-to-day support requests and network monitoring, it makes it hard to focus on the key strategic initiatives to sustain your competitive edge. A true partner is one that not only provides service desk and network monitoring but is also coming to the table with ideas and strategies to help your team increase its velocity and develop innovative solutions.
- How will you help us remove barriers to emerging technology implementation and adoption?
One of the core competencies any IT should have is effective strategies for new technology adoption. The fact is they not only have to adopt the same things you are using, but they have to support it as well. Great IT companies are early adopters who are testing solutions for use with clients.
- What is your strategic direction and how do you determine company priorities?
One great way to figure out what kind of support you should expect from your IT provider is to ask some key questions about their company. Understanding their strategic direction and priorities will help you figure out if they can grow and adapt with you, but also, where you will fit in their operational priorities.
- How do you assess performance, adapt to changing client priorities, and scale with our business?
Truly dynamic IT providers are anticipating the market and have a sense of how they plan to scale to meet business trends. Your IT provider should be meeting with you at least a quarterly to understand how your business is evolving so they can adapt to your changing business needs. Also, are they simply reporting what they have done or are they coming with new ideas?
- What industry specific knowledge and experience do you have?
Industry knowledge goes a long way in reducing the learning curve and building a shared understanding of your IT needs. More importantly, an IT solution provider with knowledge of your industry will likely be aware of emerging industry trends and also know of solutions other companies may have had success with.
- What is your approach to earning and maintaining certifications relevant to your services?
A good barometer of an IT provider’s commitment to excellence is value the company places on certification maintenance and continuing education of its IT professionals. By asking this question, you can get a sense of both the breadth of knowledge, experience and expertise you can expect. You should also be able to get an understanding of the redundancy of expertise which is extremely important with the increased turnover we are seeing in the IT industry.
- How do you address Cybersecurity incidents?
In today’s environment there is nothing more important than understanding the cyber threats your company faces and how your partner will address an incident should it occur. It is extremely important to have a very high level of confidence in your provider. One way to do that is to ask for examples of how they addressed issues in the past and ask for any third-party recommendations to support their cybersecurity knowledge and expertise.
- What can we expect in terms of ticket responsiveness and resolution?
Whether an issue impacts one user or your whole company, downtime is expensive. Your IT partner should offer live expert support 24x7x365. Beyond that, an overwhelming majority of issues should be resolved on the first call. You need to ask about the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and make sure they are not outsourcing any support to a third-party or you will be reliant on their SLA with the third-party.
- What is your approach to onboarding and orientation?
The success of any partnership relies heavily on getting off on the right foot. What is the onboarding process for your IT Partner? How to they measure success of that process, and what input do you have? What is their plan to understand all your current systems, subscriptions, and services?