Checklist for Switching IT Vendors

Sam Bloedow

Sick of IT turnover? Chances are the last time you were disappointed with your IT team, you brought in a new IT vendor who guaranteed uptime and a fast response but never delivered. Now, you may be thinking about switching again. Before you bring in a new team, it may be time to change your perspective of what your business needs from an IT vendor.

What should you expect from your IT provider? At a bare minimum, your technology should be secure and functional. But you want more than that. Is it unreasonable to expect your technology to increase productivity with efficiencies that make life easier for your employees? We think not. To help, we’ve provided an IT checklist to help you make the right IT vendor selection for your business. 

Managed Service Providers vs Technology Success Providers

Most businesses assume that managed service providers (MSPs) provide the same functions — they handle your IT tickets, they respond when you need them, and they claim to shorten downtime with prompt response time. But, they don’t realize that IT service should be more than that. 

A more advanced kind of IT vendor will provide your employees with the tools to make them more productive. Introducing the Technology Success Provider (TSP). The main goal of a TSP is to help your business achieve its goals more efficiently in addition to everything that an MSP should be doing in the first place. When searching for your next IT provider, consider a TSP instead of an MSP.

Your IT Onboarding Checklist

So, what should you look for in a TSP or IT vendor? You’ll want to make sure they fulfill the expected responsibilities and meet the goals you establish. What factors should you consider when screening TSP support? Here's are two checklists to help you navigate that decision.

Basic IT Management Expectations Checklist

Every managed service provider should offer the following baseline of services so that your business operates without interruption:

  • Fast Response Time. As a rule of thumb, expect to have your technology issues addressed within minutes or hours - not days.
  • 24/7 Unlimited Remote and Onsite Support. Day or night, your IT provider should be available so that your team can continue working.
  • 24/7 Monitoring and Maintenance.  Your provider should receive alerts when your network hiccups and, more importantly, fix them without you having to call in. They should also monitor and update security patches to protect against known vulnerabilities.
  • Proven Track Record. When reviewing your IT vendor selection criteria, choose a provider who’s delivered the service you need to other businesses your size, complexity and within your industry. Get references and talk to their clients to get their perspective.

If your potential IT service provider meets these specifications, you’re on the right track. However, these standard requirements go no further than IT support. Where IT vendors fall short lies beyond service and maintenance. With IT playing such a critical role in the way most businesses operate, you need a more holistic approach to your technology spend.   

The Forward Thinking IT Vendor Checklist

A technology success provider partners with your company to evaluate new opportunities, implement the ones that will work and deliver measurable results on all initiatives. With this, comes the need for your vendor to understand your business and to communicate often, openly, and with transparency. 

Look for a vendor that can forecast what your business will need in the future. Work with them to align what they do today with your goals for the coming years. Technology should give you confidence that you can meet your future growth needs. To achieve this, make sure your provider will:

Reduce Your Risk

Cybersecurity should be at the heart of all your IT initiatives. From spam to ransomware, cybercrimes can threaten productivity or the very health of your business. You need more than simple security patches, so look for expertise and guidance to keep your technology ahead of the hackers and reduce your business risks so you can sleep at night.

Increase Your Functionality

Do you need help getting more from your applications? Are your business systems optimized to increase functionality and productivity? How much functionality do your people have within your technology? A proactive IT partner will analyze your systems and propose the right functionality to meet your business goals with a plan that can scale for the future.

Improve Your Performance

The way that the components within your infrastructure — including the software, hardware, data handling, security, communications, and management — are brought together should enable your employees to work more productively. Performance should meet customer needs and scale with your business as it grows. Demand that your provider submits plans to improve performance and scalability.

Make Data Accessibile

How will your IT vendor provide your people better data accessibility? With the right channels and authorization in place, your business can enjoy increased productivity without sacrificing security.

Find the Right TSPs to Scale Your Business

Your IT partner should offer a consistent, always-on IT experience that goes beyond management and maintenance. With an added focus on business systems and reducing your largest costs, a technology success provider brings additional value and innovation to your IT needs. Start planning for your future with a consultation with Thriveon. Our fractional CIOs can align your IT program with every aspect of your business.

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