Are you leaving time, money, and resources on the table?
Whether you think your IT services partner is doing “okay” or you have a sneaking suspicion you could be receiving greater value from your partnership, it can be challenging to know which characteristics to evaluate and where to begin.
That’s why we put together this practical and actionable guide to help walk you through the process.
Below are seven questions you should ask your current vendor. Even if you’re happy with your current situation, these are things that every business should know about their IT services provider. Each will help you identify whether or not your current solution is providing the ultimate return on your IT investment and whether they’re ideally suited to address your unique IT needs.
7 Questions to Ask Your Current IT Provider
#1 – Do they provide the greatest overall value (not just the lowest price)?
Value is the perfect place to start because it’s a crucial differentiator between an “okay” managed IT services provider and a genuinely excellent managed it services partner.
As in any industry, you’ll find that some managed service providers work to undercut the competition by offering low prices, but you’ll want to pay special attention to the quality/cost ratio when evaluating your IT services vendor. You can’t simply compare bottom line numbers.
Instead, you need to look at the true scope of services that goes into their “managed services” offerings. While other managed IT services provider’s may not provide free security software, monthly reports, or unlimited user support, Adaptive Information Systems includes everything listed on our site within our service umbrella.
The term “managed services” means different things to different vendors, so take the time to define what yours includes to determine where the greatest value lies. Rock bottom prices typically mean far less value to the end user—you.
We base our monthly service agreements on the concept of delivering the highest possible value for our monthly cost. That means you get the greatest service for the price you pay, period.
We work with you to evaluate the specific needs of your business, how we’ll meet them, and openly share what your monthly cost will be to do so. What that translates to is a fair price, top-of-the-line tech, exceptional service, and, in the end, happy customers for the long term.
It also allows us to deliver the highest possible ROI compared to our competition. If your managed IT services provider sold you on a lower price, but you’re paying overages for additional services, you’d be wise to take a closer look at just how much value they’re delivering under your current contract.
#2 – Are they quick to respond, and do they resolve issues efficiently?
Many managed IT services providers don’t have the staff/resources to respond as quickly to your IT issues as you need them to.
A more experienced technical staff and a world-class toolset can address a greater variety of issues in less time, using fewer resources, period.
To cap it all off, if you’ve selected a value-focused vendor and a monthly services agreement that covers what you need, you’re not paying for additional support or expertise to make that happen. You’re up and running again faster and all for your standard monthly cost.
While evaluating the efficiency of your current managed IT services provider, be sure to determine:
- If there are efficient methods for your staff to engage support.
- Whether centralized documentation exists, so users don’t spend time answering the same questions.
- If there are issues, could they be handled more efficiently by addressing them remotely?
- Whether they have a stated SLA (service level agreement) which covers both initial responses and solve/escalate time.
If you are relying on a budget IT managed service provider, it’s unlikely that you have an around-the-clock team working to keep your business running at 100%. At Adaptive Information Systems, we pride ourselves on our proven ability to ensure your environment is running as it should.
#3 – Is their approach truly proactive and preventative?
A quality managed IT services provider is one that takes steps to solve your IT problems proactively and ensures there are preventative measures in place to keep them from happening again (where possible).
If your current managed services provider or IT support solution is operating on any break/fix pricing model, be sure to evaluate whether or not they take this proactive and preventative approach.
Evaluating how they approach things like:
- 24/7 networking monitoring
- strategy meetings
- reviewing outdated technology that needs replacing
A top managed service provider like Adaptive Information Systems is focused on the long term success of both parties. If we need to put in extra work in the early stages of a client engagement, we make that investment in your success. It leads to greater efficiency and a stronger relationship with a happier client. A managed IT services provider thrives when you have fewer problems, not more!
A proactive managed IT services provider will include services like:
Account Management/Technical Consultancy
Clients get a dedicated account manager who will go on-site to meet and review technical reports, hear business goals, and help plan for IT needs (for example, if a client is planning an office move, we’d want to know about it so we can advise on vendors for things like VOIP, cabling, equipment, setup, etc.) Your managed IT services provider should be very up-front with how they offer strategy and help outside of standard user support.
All necessary documentation, server updates, and proactive and reactive things that need to happen to keep your network and servers running smoothly. We handle administration so that you can focus on what you do best—running your business.
A sophisticated, up-to-date toolset to help you run your desktops most effectively. Antivirus, anti-spyware, or anything else you require.
Help desk answers your questions and troubleshoots problems during weekdays and business hours.
#4 – Are they delivering TRUE expertise to your company?
Every managed IT services provider claims to be an expert amongst their competition. You probably heard this during the sales pitch from your current vendor. That said, you may have also seen signs that this isn’t exactly the case since you’ve begun working with them. Here are a few ways to evaluate the expertise of your current IT provider.
Full Team Support and Redundancy
A single team member is not going to be able to solve all of your IT issues. Even if they could, it’s far more efficient to have the expert in that issue address it more quickly and more effectively. At Adaptive Information Systems, for example, you can be confident that we’re sending the most qualified person to handle your request.
Your access to our full team of experts also adds the comfort of redundancy. If your dedicated expert caught a nasty cold or wins the lottery, one of their expert counterparts is there to make sure you’re covered.
Our team members range from software experts to hardware technicians, cyber-security officers, network engineers, and cloud specialists, and our clients have access to everyone.
Retention and Length of Tenure
The typical length of tenure between a managed IT services provider and their employees is a few years or less. When turnover is high, it can impact the quality of the work being delivered to you, the customer.
What makes things worse is that their knowledge typically goes with them. Most managed IT services providers don’t have refined systems of documentation that allow them to document a company’s history and easily pass it on to the next IT individual/team that joins the company.
That means leaving your IT strategy with some serious gaps and plenty of work required to fill them. That’s why Adaptive Information Systems has worked so hard to build a team of experts, and why we document all processes and procedures with each customer.
As mentioned above, no matter which member of our team happens to be working with you, you can be sure that they clearly understand how your environment works due to consistent and accurate documentation shared throughout the entire technical team. Documentation is so vital that it deserves to be a standalone question.
#5 – Do they provide sophisticated process documentation?
We consider sophisticated process documentation a critical component of a successful managed IT services relationship. If internal processes aren’t documented, the potential for wasted resources increases dramatically, which translate to lost time and revenue for your business.
That’s why Adaptive Information Systems operates from technical documentation platform for every client. This documentation platform is accessible by all team members, and every time your environment changes, or we encounter a problem, we document or update the most effective solutions.
This applies to your general processes as well. For example, once we determine the specific process to set up a new PC for your company, every PC you buy will be set up the exact same way based on the detailed documentation. When you call for help, any member of our support team can check for the latest and greatest documentation of your environment.
We even transfer this documentation to your IT personnel if we go our separate ways so that you can pick up right where we left off. We find that this level of documentation is typically non-existent for the majority of small businesses, and we take pride in providing this critical feature for our clients.
#6 – Can they quickly scale based on your company needs?
The needs of small businesses can change dramatically throughout a year or even a single quarter. Be its rapid growth or seasonal load. Many managed service providers have trouble keeping up with those changes due to their limited capacity and internal hiring obstacles.
By working with a top managed IT service provider like Adaptive Information Systems, you’ll be able to modify your agreement based on your needs and do so quickly and efficiently. We work with companies of all sizes, and our team thoroughly understands how to address small business fluctuation seamlessly.
#7 – Do they help you understand the value of your IT?
One of the essential duties of any quality managed IT services provider is helping you understand the value that they’re providing. That means establishing a way to regularly demonstrate (in plain English) the various initiatives they’re working on and how to support the long-term success of your business.
Adaptive Information Systems was founded with the mission to help businesses get the most out of their technology investments. We are a Salinas IT support company, we provide technical support services for businesses in Salinas, Monterey and the surrounding counties, we are ready to manage your IT needs so you can focus on running your business.