Is choosing an IT company to manage and assist with all of your IT needs at the office or home a difficult decision? As there are many different IT companies to choose from, making a decision on which one you’d like to work with can be tough. Below are 10 important factors to consider when selecting a probable candidate.
This is the most important factor most of us will look at first when choosing an IT company; however, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Jumping on the cheapest offer you see isn’t necessarily the best idea, especially if you rely on IT for your day-to-day business activity. It is important to think what would work best for your company or family. Most IT Companies can give you a rough estimate on how long the job will take and the pricing. However, with technology things can go wrong so the estimation is not always 100% accurate. Consider this when looking at price:
- Do they set pre-paid monthly pricing?
- Charge hourly for onsite support?
- What is the minimum cost for onsite support or remote support?
- Is there a callout fee?
- What time increments do they bill in? 15 minutes, 30 minutes, hourly?
IT Companies all have different pricing models, so it is extremely important to identify if it is a good fit for your business or home. Pricing should be transparent and honest. If a business is unable to provide you with a confident or solid pricing structure, it might be a sign that something isn’t right.
2. Area of Focus / Specialisation
An IT company is not always the “it” company. Subsequent to price, it is important to investigate a company’s specialty or area of expertise. Choose a company that specialises in your system and can confidently support the areas of interest for you. You would never look for a plumber to install an electrical point, so don’t look for a Windows-based IT company to configure your Mac server. Pay that little bit extra (if you need to) to get a professional!
- Does the IT Company only focus on large enterprise, small to medium businesses or home users?
- What is their area of expertise?
- Do they actually specialise in both, Windows and Mac computers or just one?
- What other services do they provide?
3. Customer Reviews & Satisfaction
As with any business, customer satisfaction is a pivotal part of a business. How do you know if the IT Company you are thinking of hiring are highly rated from current and previous customers? When looking for a place to have dinner, most people will Google or Facebook a restaurant to see what others have to say. This is not just limited to restaurants, but any business – including IT Companies. You can find reviews and recommendations from real people and see the experience that customers have had. From reviews you want to look for these answers:
- Are they easy to contact for support?
- Were they prompt and professional?
- What’s the average time it takes to respond?
- Do they have a good track record with their customers?
- Did they resolve the issue?
- Do they have credible referral sources?
All of this information from an unbiased source is integral when evaluating the credibility of an IT Company.
4. Tech Support & Availability
When your IT system goes down due to a technical fault, you want to ensure that your IT company can act swiftly to get you back up and running. When your company relies on technology, any downtime can mean loss of income. Before choosing an IT company, ask which communication and assistance methods they offer. This can be done in the way of remote support, onsite support, phone support or email support. Can you speak to someone about the issue or do you need to log a ticket first? Do they offer out of business hours support and how quickly can they come out to your location to fix the issue? You’ll find that, like in price and technical specialisations, all IT companies are not equal and offer different types of support and availability.
This area of consideration comes down to the following question – What makes this IT Company special? What extra incentive do they provide to make their services more attractive? Do they keep all client information and passwords safe and can they provide it to you when needed? Do they purchase products in your business name so you have full control over the application or system?
You want to select a company that can provide a holistic and integrated IT system without locking you in to a contract based service agreement for every service in one. We have come across many IT companies that do operate this way and unfortunately the client was stuck with many services that they were unhappy with (and no easy way to get out)!
6. Reputation and Credibility
How did you find about the IT Company? If it was a referral, is it a reputable source? Do they have all the necessary certification and experience with large vendors like Cisco, Microsoft and Apple? Are they partners with companies such as Google, Xero and Vend? Most IT companies will have their partners and affiliates linked on their website and you can be confident in their abilities with these types of systems.
As more and more companies are moving to an Apple ecosystem, Apple provide a great tool to find verified Apple consultants that you can find here: https://consultants.apple.com.
If you have a home or business with Apple products, using the Apple Consultants Network will provide you with a large list of Apple consultants in your area that are specialists in your task at hand.
7. Open Contract
It is important to know if the IT Company requires you to sign up to a lock in contract. If this is the case, you need to confirm details such as:
- What is the contract period?
- What is exactly covered?
- Will there be extra charges?
- Would they provide you with all the password information if you decide to change your IT Company or is there an extra fee?
- Are they bundling all of your services together and restricting you from easily changing providers?
Some IT Companies might have hidden fees that can cause more drama than good. What about a password information sheet with all your IT Information? If you move to another IT Company, is there a charge to release information to your business? Believe it or not, but there are many IT companies that do! This is extremely important to confirm before locking into a contact.
8. Communication & Record Keeping
Communication and record keeping is another important aspect of selecting an IT company. It is important to be able to communicate easily with your IT specialist. You should be kept in the loop when they are resolving an issue or finding a solution to your problem. Does the IT Company keep communication records in a database? Everything should be recorded in case it is needed down the track and each IT specialist in the team can communicate effectively about your system. This seems like basic business practice, but you would be surprised how neglected it is – even by IT companies!
9. Business Liability Insurance
Nothing can be worse than spending a large amount of money on equipment and it breaks due to the Company of which you have contracted. It is extremely important to confirm that the business has insurance in the event of the worst happening. Also ensure that they are a registered business with an ABN and ACN.
10. Do you know the people you’re dealing with?
Is the provider’s staff sufficiently skilled to be responsible for your data and confidential information? Do they tailor technical solutions to your business or do they offer you a template? Do they adjust to your skill level and speak to you in a language that is easy to understand? Are they a locally based company or are their headquarters overseas?
Take your time and choose wisely when it comes to finding the right IT Company. IT should be about building solutions for you, so the first step is to understand what you are getting and if it meets your needs. Secondly, the provider must be focused on exceeding your business goals. As an IT company, it is our job to simplify your system – not overcomplicate it! Downtime can be crucial to the business, so make sure that you can get support when you need it most.