Written by Haydon Kirby, IT Account Director – 12th October 2017

Why do businesses outsource their IT?

Businesses across the world and specifically in the UK are now outsourcing their IT to specialist IT Support companies in order to reduce costs and reap the highly skilled expertise within the IT Support company itself. The cost of running internal IT teams can prove very expensive. payscale.com state the average salary for a Technical Support Manager is now £36,000 a year.

Outsourcing IT to a specialist provider enables businesses to spend more time focussing on business growth rather than operational headaches, reduces financial outlay and provides the added peace of mind that your business data and infrastructure is being monitored by a responsible third party.

To help you choose the right IT Support company for your business, we’re going to explore the questions you should be asking and what you should consider before you appoint them.

Reputation and Experience

When choosing a IT Support provider, one of the first things you should concentrate on is credibility and reputation within the industry.

Here are some considerations:

  1. How much experience do they have? Have a look at their case studies.
  2. Do they have a good reputation? Check their Feefo or Trustpilot reviews
  3. Ask for references – they should be able to quickly supply the contact details of 2-3 current clients you can contact.
  4. How long have they been established?
  5. Industry partnerships – Are they certified with any leading suppliers? Eg. A Microsoft Gold partner

Although smaller IT Support companies may be cheaper overall, they won’t necessarily have the same experience or resources as an established larger provider that can offer partner discounts on hardware and software.

Are they IT Security specialists?

The GDPR continues to be a hot topic. The GDPR replaces the Data Protection Act of 1998 and affects all businesses sizes. The fines businesses could face in the event of a cyber attack, if found they were noncompliant, are reported to be 4% of annual global turnover so compliance is paramount.

IT Support companies offer varying levels of IT Security services. You want to be confident of the new IT Support company’s ability to implement and manage a wide range of industry standard security measures.

Here are some considerations:

  1. Do they have GDPR certified Consultants?
  2. What cyber security protection would they recommend for your business?
  3. Are they a certified WatchGuard, Sophos, Altaro partner?
  4. Do they have any GDPR content available?
  5. What other clients have they carried out IT Consultancy for?

Do they fit for your business requirements?

Ensuring that you find an IT Support company that can meet your specific businesses requirements is essential, not just for now but also your future aspirations and expansion plans. Monthly cost should not be the primary factor when choosing your provider.

Here are some considerations:

  1. What size is the provider? Is the helpdesk large enough to facilitate the needs and demands of your employees?
  2. Where are they based? How fast can they get to your office when on site assistance is required.
  3. What level of remote assistance do they provide? Most will offer this as standard and only onsite assistance when absolutely vital.
  4. What hours do they provide IT support? Is it just during normal business hours or do they also offer a 24 hour IT Support service for those times of need?
  5. Does the proposed level of IT Support suit your requirements? Larger IT Support Companies will offer several packages with differing SLAs.
  6. What is the average response time and do they have an escalation procedure if things go wrong?

Some IT Support companies can give the impression that they have a large help desk however this is relatively small in reality.  Before you appoint an IT Support Company, it’s sometimes worth visiting their support team. If you plan to use the IT Support Company for more than IT Support e.g. IT Consultancy, then we would highly recommend you visit their offices and meet the team beforehand.

Support ticket logging process

All IT Support Companies operate using various ticket logging systems. Some require a call to the office and others email. You will find that the larger IT Support providers have their own customer portals where customers can log and monitor support tickets.

The ticket logging process can be the decider when choosing your provider.  Seeing as this is the most frequent method of communication you’ll likely have with them.

  1. Are you put into a call queue if you log a ticket by telephone? What is the average wait time.
  2. How else can you log a support ticket?
  3. Do they have a client portal? Have you seen a demo?
  4. How do their support calls get prioritised?
  5. Are the call handlers experienced IT Engineers?
  6. What is the average monthly first contact fix rate?

Know your Account Manager

Getting to know your potential Account Manager is imperative, some smaller IT Support companies do not offer Account Management.

Here are some considerations:

  1. Do they carry out quarterly and annual reviews whereby the Account Manager comes to visit you for a face to face meeting?
  2. How can you contact your Account Manager?
  3. Are there any performance reports available for senior management and how can you access them.

Choosing a new IT Support company is not an easy decision and finding the best suited provider takes time and careful consideration. We hope you found the blog useful, if you are looking for an award winning IT Support company please get in touch.