How to hire the right managed IT services supplier for your needs
Bringing in outsourcers should be an investment in your business – not a risk. Take the time not just to select the right candidates, but to vet them properly.
As a startup owner, you wear many hats. Marketing, accounts receivable, and IT are just a few balls you juggle. At some point, however, you’ll reach the limit of your current business model.
To scale, you need to hire. However, IT professionals don’t come cheap. According to Salary.com, IT generalists make $34/hour, or about $72,000 per year. Unfortunately, that’s $72,000 you don’t have right now.
Thankfully, there is a better way. In instances where you need to scale, but cash is tight, outsourcing makes sense. Managed IT service suppliers offer tech functions for less than most in-house teams.
Don’t hire the first firm you come across, though. There are several factors you should consider as you weigh your options. Below, we’ll go through the most important ones.
Identify Your Areas of Need
The best-rated IT services firm can’t help you if they work on the wrong things. Before bringing outsourcers in, outline your IT needs.
Are you concerned about your network’s defenses? Are you considering a move to the cloud, but don’t know where to start? Ready to scale, but don’t have the cash flow to hire an in-house IT team?
When you don’t identify IT deficits in your business, all you do is waste money & time. However, once you’ve established your company’s needs, a managed IT services supplier can offer effective solutions.
Evaluate Their Scope of Practice
Now you’re ready to start evaluating firms. Start by finding every managed IT services supplier in your area. Then, contrast what they offer against your needs. For instance, if beefing up your cybersecurity is a top priority, drop any firm that doesn’t do cybersecurity.
Ideally, shortlisted firms will offer every service you need. However, close matches (e.g., they offer 4/5 services you want) can also make your shortlist. Firms that offer top-notch customer care, unique service offerings, and attractive price points are also worth a closer look.
Get Them to Outline Their Workflow
Once you’ve established your shortlist, start contacting firms. As the recruitment process begins, get an idea of how each prospect plans & executes their work. Ask them to lead you through a mock project from start to finish.
This way, you’ll learn how they organize their workflow. In doing so, inexperienced firms that “wing it” will expose themselves. However, firms with solid planning skills will clearly demonstrate how they go from day zero to project completion.
How Will They Save You Time & Money?
Your firm, like all others, tracks a variety of metrics. For most, though, time & money are the yardsticks by which we measure success or failure.
How can IT outsourcers reduce wasted time and cut financial expenditures? The consultants you interview should highlight case studies from their portfolio.
They should demonstrate how managed IT services offer similar/better functionality than an in-house team – all at a lower cost. Consultants for these firms can demonstrate that their services, valued at around $150 per user/month, costs less than hiring an IT generalist. For instance, a 20 person company would pay $36,000 for outsourced IT – that’s half the cost of a one-person in-house solution.
Consultants should also show how their solutions have freed in-house staff from non-productive, time-wasting tasks. For instance, when a programmer no longer has to reset passwords, they can spend more time adding value for their employer.
How Will They Make You Money?
Outsourced IT service teams don’t just save money – they can also act as a force multiplier. Aspiring IT outsourcers should be able to make a solid business case for how their firm can increase your profits.
For instance, their low cost versus in-house makes it easy to scale your network. The more traffic your site can handle, the more revenue you’ll earn. Managed IT service firms should also emphasize how they allow your talent to focus on productive tasks. Rather than put out fires, they can code, make sales, and take care of your customers.
How Quickly Do They Respond?
What would happen if your network went down at 11 in the evening? You’d lose out on 8-12 hours worth of sales. That’s not good – in fact, that’s probably why you’re looking for outsourced IT help.
Any managed IT services supplier you bring on-board should have 24/7 availability. That means whether your servers go down at 3 pm or 3 am, they’re on the case – pronto. If they can’t respond at all hours, they’re not a serious player – drop them immediately.
Can They Train Your In-House Team?
48% of office workers have gotten phished at least once in their career. The average office worker barely knows how to do proper web research, so this doesn’t surprise us at all.
Consequently, any managed IT services firm should also offer in-house training sessions. The average loss in a hacking attack is around $200,000. 60% of affected businesses never recover, so your team must learn about proper cybersecurity protocol.
An outside IT firm should be able to teach your team various key skills. These include proper password hygiene, how to recognize a phishing e-mail, and social engineering attempts.
Are They Well-Versed in the Latest Tech Trends?
Change in the tech world has only picked up speed over the years. As such, any firm you bring in must be knowledgeable of the latest trends and news.
Not only that, but they should also be able to explain it to you in relatable terms. How will AI and machine learning impact your industry over the coming decade? Are there any adjustments you need to make not just to stay current, but to thrive?
Consultants from professionally-managed IT service firms should be able to answer these questions knowledgeably and with confidence.
Hire the Right IT Firm the First Time
Bringing in outsourcers should be an investment in your business – not a risk. Take the time not just to select the right candidates, but to vet them properly. Do so, and your eventual decision will earn a solid ROI in the long run.
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