The scenario is all too common. Your current IT vendor just messed up your network for the last time. Not only that, he was days late in getting back to you to mess up that network, undermining your entire operation. Now, you will find someone who is a professional, like this guy was supposed to be. You can’t just pick someone out of the sea of “IT Professionals,” this time you will find an IT professional through a referral. Except there is one problem, the IT provider that you’re about to fire came to you through a referral.
What are you to do? Your IT Infrastructure is the backbone of your business, yet you can not find people who can give you a consistent peace of mind. On top of that, the referral approach does not work because every single person you know has a cousin, a brother, a friend, or a third cousin’s niece’s college roommate’s uncle, who they swear is “Great.”
The problem is that it simply does not take anything to call yourself an IT Guy, IT Provider, IT Supplier, IT Professional, or any of the other synonyms for helping people take care of their computer issues. It starts with tinkering with computers since childhood, then progresses to helping Mom’s friends, then charging a couple of bucks for quick fixes. The problem, however, is that the IT vendors that develop in this manner and then stop progressing are constrained to being able to only solve things that they were able to solve before you or can figuire out on the spot. The constraint in most of these cases, is that they lack the foundation to understand what they are doing. So, they end up pocking in the dark. Sometimes they find the solution and sometime not. A lot of times they find the solution that is not the optimum resolution and it takes them to arrive at this solution a lot longer than for a person who really understands the complete logic of the endeavor and has experience solving this issue.
Very good. We have understood what we need a person who has a many years of general multi-field IT experience, a Computer Science degree from a real four year university, and has specific accredited IT certifications, such as MCSE, MCSA, MCP, A+, and CCNA. At this point of our refined search, we hit another roadblock. The problem is that out of the enormous pool of all the referrals that we can have from our circle of friends, non of referrals will qualify. The reason is that people with such qualifications usually have very very nice jobs working for companies that really value them. Another issue to really consider, is that if for whatever reason you happen to find such a person free-lancing, there will still be only 24 hours in his/her day. That means that this person can not possibly provide you with responsive service. Thereby mandating the pontential that when something terrible happens to your infrastructure he/she will not be there for you when you need it.
The alternative, using someone less qualified means that in addition to the potential lack of availability, you now have the potential of being overcharged for his/her time while this technician tries to solve something he/she has never seen before, which obviously would take longer. Of course, the possibility of being stuck with mis-configured, insecure, and dysfunctional network is much higher in such a scenario.
What is the alternative then? The answer is that if you are a company that does not need to spend tens of thousands of dollars per month on an internal IT Department, you need to hire an external IT Department and pay only for services that you use. This approach is more economical because you have access to a company who ensures that it has enough staff to provide timely service to you, while giving you access to a large knowledge base and experience inherent in external IT companies that have depth and breadth in terms of qualified staff. Another aspect of using an external IT help desk company is that it is supposed to have a quality assusrance system, standardization of ticket resolution system, standardization of billing system, knowledge sharing system, and an overall supervision of the entire ticket process and delivery.
To recap, let’s go over important points that will help you to select an IT service provider that will let you sleep at night:
- Has an organization of several trained technicians with response time guarantee
- Has customers who you can talk to and receive direct recommendation and description of their work
- Does not charge monthly fees up front or make you sign yearly contracts for support, you are supposed to pay only for what you use
- Has a Quality Assurance system that can be demonstrated
- Has documented standardized billing practices
- Has standardized ticket resolution process that can be demonstrated
- Has a robust knowledge sharing tool
- Has trained staff
- Has effective management structure of operational oversight over ticket resolution process
- Has experienced operational managers in all the significant fields of IT: Corporate Networking, Data Recovery and Storage, IT Security, Web Development, Server Management in Windows and Linux Environments, and Desktop Troubleshooting in Windows and Mac.
Such an approach to your next service provider will ensure that you are: 1) Not overpaying for extra time spent on undue research, 2) Receive expedient service, 3) Not stuck high and dry because IT vendor don’t know what to do, 4) Not overpaying for some locked-in monthly service that you might not even use.
Enjoy Your Search! This Should Help!