Having an inside view of the IT Consulting industry in several cities, we wanted to share some of the pitfalls that business owners fall into when selecting and IT Consulting Company in Los Angeles market. Whenever we bring in new clients that are switching from another IT solutions company, we learn a little more about what typically goes wrong. Based on this experience we have put together a quick list that can help business owners steer clear of poor response time, lack of experience, poor knowledge, limited capabilities, lack of value added services, high pricing, poor organization, and more.
2. Staff Selection Criteria – If your potential IT provider tells you that they rely solely on years of experience and/or certifications for selecting their staff, then this is an indication of potential future problems. We have interviewed hundreds of candidates over the years and have a good understanding of what works. Strong analytical skills are a prerequisite in this industry, much more so than certifications or decades of experience.
3. Staff Contracting – If the staff that the IT services company uses are not dedicated full time employees, than that indicates that the organization does not dedicate resources to staff training, development, and is also a potential security risk.
4. Operations Department (Helpdesk) Organization – It is critical that there is a very high degree of internal organization within the IT support company because in this field of work the most important elements in delivering a quality service is full retention of all the voluminous information about systems and works being done and communications among the staff, management, and clients. This is a much more strenuous environment in this respect than many other service industries.
5. Large Customer Base Similar to Your Business Needs – Believe it or not, a provider with a large customer base is good indication. As long as that large customer base is similar in needs to your organization, this can serve as an indicator that this IT company is doing things right. This is also an indication that the provider will have much more depth and breadth of experience and be more creative with solutions to infrastructure related needs.
6. Comprehensive IT Offerings – IT companies that deliver a limited pool of services can not grow with or even meet the current needs of the client. You don’t want your IT support to be learning on you how to solve problems and how to implement a new system that your business needs. A company that has experience in supplemental IT offerings can support your business needs on any issue. General products to look out for are, Cloud Hosting, Managed Services Platform utilization, Anti-Virus integration, off-site and on-site back up synchronization, data replication services, Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) management, Voice over IP (VOIP) support and implementation, Server Management, and much more.
7. On-Site Service – If the provider is prepared for expedient on-site response, then you could be in for a lot of hurt. In large cities such as Los Angeles it is easy to find IT contractors. Many IT service companies can get someone out to you once in a while, but if they are not locally staffed with the trained in-house staff members, they can’t help you when your servers are on fire. They can’t help if this is a big picture issue and they send a local person who is not familiar with your environment.
8. Multi-Tier Support Staff – If the staff that supports your firm does not have multiple tiers of support than that is also an indication that they do not have the depth of knowledge and experience that is so good that they want to make tiers to keep them away from the everyday troubleshooting tickets. Truly talented and proficient staff is usually not on the first line of support and are available for serious problems to be escalated to them. You as customer definitely should want an IT Consulting firm that has that kind of expertise so that when you are in a deep technical hole, they will be able to solve it.
9. Multi-City Presence – Business network support firms that are able to replicate their success in multiple geographic markets and are successful for a number of years demonstrate even a higher level of management and organization sophistication. This is evidence that their abilities are superior and should strongly me looked at. However, there is a downside here. Some such companies have become bureaucratic in their systems and have grown beyond their abilities to be effective. This issue needs to be evaluated on a trial basis.
10. Proof of Work – The real test is to have a provider perform several small projects with multiple communication steps in each. This will give you a feeling of their technical abilities and even more importantly their information sharing and communication systems. Also, if they are not willing to do such a trial is a testimony to their knowledge of weaknesses in this area.