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6 Tips for Choosing the Right IT Provider for Your Small Business

Teaming up with an IT provider can be a game-changer for many small businesses. It not only facilitates growth but also frees them from the perpetual cycle of fixing IT issues, which is a common headache for many small corporations. In many cases it's additionally a smart move financially. However, making the decision to onboard an IT provider is merely the beginning. There's the crucial task of assessing various providers to find the perfect fit, a task that may seem daunting given the abundance of options.

 

Drawing from our extensive experience as seasoned IT providers, we are well-versed in the intricacies of the industry. We believe in sharing our expertise to empower businesses in making well-informed decisions regarding the contemplating an IT provider for your small business IT needs. In this article, we'll delve into six key areas that warrant evaluation when searching for a managed service provider.


4 hands putting together 4 puzzle pieces

Capabilities

Before diving deep into evaluating a potential IT provider, it's vital to ensure they meet some fundamental criteria. Ideally, they should possess experience within your industry, serving as a promising indicator. If they lack this industry-specific experience, exploring alternative providers might be wise. Additionally, consider other important questions: Can they effectively cater to a business of your scale? Do they boast the requisite resources and personnel to address all your requirements?

 

Small business decision-makers must ascertain the capabilities at the disposal of their potential IT provider. It's imperative to inquire about the software they utilize, particularly in terms of cybersecurity. Conduct thorough due diligence to gauge their suitability for your organization, both presently and in anticipation of future growth plans.

 

Costs

After confirming that a potential provider meets essential criteria, the next consideration typically revolves around cost, a key concern for most businesses. IT providers offer various pricing models: Some bill based on completed projects, others charge hourly rates, and some include additional onsite expenses.

 

The nature of service plans can also differ significantly. While some providers offer support within specified usage limits and charge for additional services, others adopt a subscription-based model that may still entail extra fees for certain projects. Our favored approach is a comprehensive subscription-based structure, encompassing all services without hidden costs.

 

Contract Language

Congratulations! You've verified that a potential provider is capable of handling the task within your budget. Now, it's crucial to delve into the intricacies of their contract. Paying meticulous attention here is essential: ensure you grasp the agreement's terms, including any renewal requirements, and confirm that the provider implements adequate measures to safeguard your data.

 

Comparing providers becomes simpler by examining their service-level agreement (SLA), which delineates the contract duration, service scope, guarantees (such as response time and uptime), and contingency measures. These terms serve as a convenient method for comparing the policies and services offered by different companies. Should you encounter any clauses you find unclear, don't hesitate to seek clarification.

 

References

While many IT providers may boast about the services they offer during interviews, the true test lies in verifying their claims. The most reliable method is to seek feedback from others. A reputable IT provider should readily provide references for you to contact. Engage with these references to gauge their satisfaction with the service provided. Don't hesitate to request multiple references, particularly those aligned with your industry or technology goals. Experienced providers typically have a wealth of references they can offer for validation.

 

Staff Turnover Rate

Here's a consideration often overlooked by businesses when evaluating IT providers, yet it holds significant importance: staff turnover rate. This metric can offer insights into the provider's operational dynamics. The IT industry faces severe understaffing and intense competition, resulting in frequent turnover. On average, IT technicians tend to remain in a position for just 1-3 years before pursuing better opportunities. While some turnover is natural, excessive churn could pose challenges for client businesses.

 

Inquire about the tenure of the provider's engineering staff. During reference calls, question businesses about the stability of their point of contact with the IT provider. Additionally, conducting research on job boards can provide insights into the roles the provider is actively hiring for, further illuminating their turnover trends.

 

Service & Availability

Once you've whittled down your options, there's one final crucial aspect to verify: the availability of an IT provider. Some providers pledge round-the-clock, 365-days-a-year service, while others may have exceptions for holidays or confine their support to regular business hours.

 

Understanding that greater availability is preferable, especially during critical situations like server outages, is paramount even for non-experts in IT. It's essential to scrutinize the Service Level Agreement (SLA) to ascertain the provider's guaranteed response times. Are they committed to responding within minutes, hours, or days?

Once again, the SLA serves as a telling document. While some providers may make grand promises, their SLA might not reflect this, or they may subtly indicate full coverage while excluding significant aspects. Hence, thoroughness in your search for the right fit is imperative.


Ready to Dive into Selecting an IT Provider?

If you're in search of an IT partner, ensure to pose pertinent questions to potential providers to assess their capability in supporting your team effectively. Feel free to reach out to us at MapleTronics to explore whether we align with your requirements. We streamline the partnering process, engaging in detailed discussions about the advantages we offer to your operations. For more information call as at 574.534.2830 or contact us online.

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