Modern business relies on IT support to survive. Just imagine if you lost connection to the internet for even a couple of hours during a busy day. It would probably create chaos that takes days to recover from.
And if you have actually experienced something like this and don’t need to imagine the scenario, then you know the pain from lacking properly maintained IT.
Consider another scenario. What if the main computer in your office fails to boot due to an improper update? An important client is calling and needs urgent information “right now”, but there’s nothing you can do as the information is stuck on the computer that just fails to boot.
If you had proper IT support in charge of your IT infrastructure, this scenario wouldn’t even happen for several reasons:
1) The chances of having that device failing to boot would be extremely small
2) Your IT provider would have several backups and cloud-supported procedures so you can access that document from any of your devices
3) A quality provider would be available to you 24/7 and be able to handle issues like this, often in minutes
So life is quite a bit easier when you have a quality IT provider on your side, but that’s easier said than done. How do you even obtain this quality IT support in the first place? Well, you have to know how to recognise quality IT vendors and how to go about hiring them. Most of this has to do with how you interview and review potential candidates. And that’s what this article is about, so keep on reading.
1) Ask about their experience with businesses that are just like yours
If you’re a business owner you can empathise with being a rookie in an industry and you know how hard it is to to make it past the first few years of business. However, don’t let that sense of empathy prevent you from being strict about your requirements. You will always get the best experience when working with seasoned professionals.
When it comes to your IT infrastructure, in modern times this is the core and backbone of your business, and you most definitely do not want to leave it in the hands of an amateur who would use your business as a learning experience.
And it’s not just about the overall technical experience either. It doesn’t matter how many decades someone has worked with “IT stuff” if they have never worked with a business like yours, or wouldn’t know how to align with your culture.
You want to ask every potential candidate whether they’ve worked with similar businesses in the past. And that includes not only businesses in your industry (or something similar) but also businesses with a similar organisational structure and company culture.
2) Prepare some questions, and listen to the way they answer
You don’t have to be an expert on IT in order to interview a potential provider. In fact, their ability to answer well when your questions aren’t “perfectly formed” is a great telltale sign.
If you have the time and patience to educate yourself on IT, feel free to read through our blog archive, and you might come up with some great questions on your own.
If you need a quick list to get you started however, here are some questions that are always good to ask:
– What are your backup procedures and how do you make sure we never lose important files and documents?
– Do you have a specific policy or strategy to deal with catastrophic events and what are some of your experiences handling those in the past?
– What are your support policies and response times? Will you be there for us when we have an unexpected urgency at an unexpected time and need a quick resolution?
Then listen to the answers. If they’re good at what they do, they will be able to simplify the answer in a way that makes sense. If it’s filled with technical jargon and hard to understand, they’re probably not good at dealing with humans.
And consider that IT support isn’t just about the technical proficiency of the experts providing the service. They need to communicate and work alongside the humans in your office when a challenge or problem arises.
3) Do they have a pro-active or a reactive approach?
It is hard to make any quick and fast rules about how to ascertain this one, but you will probably be able to tell the difference. In essence, the difference between a good IT-provider and a bad one is similar to the difference between a good doctor and a bad one.
The greatest difference is that a quality doctor is far more concerned with prevention than they are curing or treating problems once they arise. And how do good doctors help with prevention? They give you great tips and advice on how to prevent problems from arising in the first place.
The same is true of any quality IT provider. If they’re anything like the Inspired Techs team, they understand that your success is their success.
This means that a quality provider isn’t working on just coming up with strategies about how to handle issues once they arise. Their focus will primarily be about setting things up in such a manner that you don’t even need to make those urgent calls in the middle of the night. They will, however, be ready in the rare circumstance that such a thing does happen.
At Inspired Techs, we pride ourselves that this is the vision that our founder Leon Black had when he first formed our company. As someone that had spent years observing the outdated “we fix stuff to make money” model, he took it upon himself to flip that model on its head. This is how Inspired Techs was born and you can say that our vision is at the core of everything we do and how we do it.
4) Do they seem themselves as a business partner or a team of “people who repair stuff”?
Honest, reliable and trustworthy IT providers don’t just set up the “technical stuff” to check off a list of technical criteria and guidelines. They will go well beyond that and actually advise you from the perspective of a business partner that cares about your business success and productivity in a way that helps your business grow.
As an example, that is just one of the secrets behind our success at Inspired Techs. The core of our philosophy has always been that if your business grows and becomes more successful, that in turn immediately and directly contributes to our own growth and success as a business.
We do not see the businesses that we work with as clients or “projects” to work for. Our mission is to see each business that we help as a business partnership of sorts. If we can help your business run smoothly, efficiently and in a more productive manner, your business will grow, and that is in fact our primary mission.
This is why we define our goals in business terms such as helping boost your productivity, help with transferring business processes to more efficient technologies such as the cloud and coming up with best practices, standards and strategies.
And on that note, if you are in the process of trying to find the right IT support provider, do feel free to reach out and contact us here. We would love to hear from you.