Over the past two to three decades digital technologies have transformed the way businesses operate, communicate and provide products and services. Today, technology is more critical to business success than ever, with new technologies allowing organisations to scale new heights of productivity, giving decision-makers time to focus on revenue-driving endeavors.
The challenge lies in ensuring the solutions you adopt closely address your business needs, and that implementation is carried out by experts with a keen interest in seeing your business flourish. For that, you need a trusted, proactive and committed IT partner.
The question is: does your current IT provider have what it takes to help your business navigate the changes ahead? This can be a tough question to answer because it can often be hard to quantify the quality of IT support. You may feel like you’ve not been with your provider long enough to make a qualified assessment, they may not have assisted you with a project thus far, or maybe you simply don’t have a reliable benchmark against which to judge them. Whether you’ve been with your provider for 5 months or 5 years, here are 5 signs of a sub-par IT support provider you should watch out for.
They don’t go above and beyond SLAs
While having an established service level agreement is invaluable in terms of quantifying the minimum level of service you expect, a good IT provider will consider an SLA the limits of what’s acceptable, and strive to do far better. They should be bringing their knowledge and experience to the table, with initiatives and solutions tuned to your business needs which offer the best balance of value and performance. A good provider will also prioritize proactive maintenance, with break/fix support seen as an insurance policy should an issue slip through the cracks. If your provider is sticking religiously to their minimum contractual obligations now, they’re never likely to offer exceptional service in the future.
They want to mold your business to fit their product
The best IT providers are problem-led, meaning they take business problems as a starting point, and work backwards to find a solution. Sadly, many IT providers employ the opposite strategy: taking a product, and convincing their client that they need it to solve a problem that may or may not exist. There are some great, and highly adaptable tech solutions out their but sometimes a problem requires a uniquely tailored approach that is sensitive to a unique set of business circumstances. If your provider is trying to foist services you don’t need and solutions that are sub-optimal on your business, they are likely more concerned about making a quick buck than fostering a trust-based relationship.
They’re vague about what they offer
While some IT providers are keen to display their credentials and areas of specialization, they are others which claim to be masters of everything without the evidence to back it up. These operators should always be viewed with an element of suspicion as in the fast-moving world of technology it is very difficult to stay on top in every field of expertise without maintain a sizeable team of specialists. Don’t be afraid to enquire about the fields your provider specializes in. If they’re overly vague without the qualifications to back up bold assertions, it’s likely they’re massively overselling themselves.
The same issues are arising time and time again
The job of an IT support partner is to ensure your business’s technology functions as flawlessly as is reasonably possible. A key tool in achieving this objective is remote maintenance capabilities, which allow providers to take proactive measures to prevent minor issues escalating into business-critical calamities. The system isn’t infallible, and sometimes issues fall through the cracks resulting in disruption. You should take note however, if the same issue returns again and again. This will likely be due to the application of quick fixes, rather than a thorough investigation to get to the root of the problem. A provider taking this approach isn’t serious about the integrity of your IT system and could apply the same “cut corners” approach to other aspects of their service delivery.
They don’t communicate well
While IT service provision is largely about deliverables, the human side of the business relationship is a vital cornerstone in ensuring you gain maximum value from the service you’re paying for. You want a provider who’s approachable, amenable, warm and friendly. You want them to speak in your terms: plain English with a focus on how technology can deliver tangible business benefits. Ideally, they’ll make the time to ensure your team know how to interact with new technology and understand any changes that are planned.
If your provider is reticent, standoffish, and tends to speak excessively in technical terms, it could be that they don’t have the drive to fully invest in the relationship. Such a provider is unlikely to be a supportive partner during periods of significant change.
While the list above is by no means exhaustive, we hope it’s given you pause for thought, and allowed you to evaluate the performance of your IT provider to some degree. In our next article, we’ll outline some of the key qualities you should look for in an IT partner.
INNOVATIVE, FLEXIBLE & TRUSTED
Since 2002, Echelon Technologies has been a leading provider of IT support and consulting, focusing on small and medium-sized businesses in the Greater Phoenix area. We have helped hundreds of companies, and thousands of users, to increase productivity and profitability by making IT a streamlined part of their operations. We equip our clients with customized technology solutions for greater operational value and to reduce risk. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact and see what we can do for you.