5 Do’s and Dont’s for Choosing an IT Services Provider

Your IT services provider should provide a high value for your organization. Meaning, the IT vendor should have broad expertise, be able to deliver on-demand services, and help push your organization’s initiatives forward  –  without requiring a great deal of personnel capital or technology costs, depending on the current state of your infrastructure.

But it’s not easy to find an IT service provider. You may be tempted to evaluate a vendor based on price only. And while that approach may seem to make sense in the short-term, a cheap, yet inexperienced IT provider can’t help you deliver on long-term goals like scalability, reducing risk and more.

To find an IT service provider that delivers the most value requires that you first establish your needs and goals for IT outsourcing, and then investigate the IT options that exist.

Here are some do’s and dont’s to follow when choosing an IT services provider that will line up with your business’ needs:

  1. Do: Outline your goals

For many organizations, outsourcing IT is a good move. But for the partnership to work, you need to know your needs. Do you want to lower IT costs? Fill in a void in your IT personnel? Expand your IT team? Boost quality assurance? Increase IT responsiveness? Lower compliance risks? Gather your team together and identify your top needs. Then, you can match these goals to the provider’s expertise and capabilities.

  1. Do: Investigate vendors

Not all IT providers are the same, and as you start to research vendors, you’ll quickly find this out. There are large vendors, boutique providers, offshore options, and more. For example, an offshore provider may be affordable, but the choice often comes with risks for quality and challenges with availability and communication.

By outsourcing your IT to a large provider means that you’ll access a variety of expertise and the capability to manage large initiatives, but larger-sized vendors may also come with a lot of red tape, an impersonal approach and inflexibility.

On the other hand, a very small IT vendor may not have the capability to deliver on your needs or respond in a timely manner, but will generally be agile in their service offerings.

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  1. Do: Evaluate your IT expertise needs

You should choose an IT provider based on how the expertise will give you the biggest advantage. What short- and long-term goals do you want to accomplish through outsourcing IT? Conduct an IT assessment before making a decision about a provider. That way, you’ll have identified the areas in which you need help, and the type of expertise you want to invest in.

  1. Don’t: Dismiss rapport

When outsourcing one aspect of your IT needs, or the entire team, consider the IT service provider as an invested partner in your organization. Would you want to work with this vendor on a daily basis? Is the team easy to work with? Can you collaborate effectively? These qualities are just as important as the vendor’s expertise, qualifications and capacity.

  1. Don’t: Focus too much on industry expertise

If you’re in the healthcare, legal or financial industry, it may seem logical to outsource IT services to a vendor that has expertise in these niches. In many instances, the better course of action involves choosing a vendor that has the specific IT skills that you need, rather than industry expertise. The ability to take on the complexity of your project and size of your IT initiatives will have much more of an impact on your organization than specialized industry knowledge.

When choosing an IT services provider, keep the important factors like compatibility, expertise and need in mind. Avoid making mistakes like focusing on industry expertise, rather than IT qualifications, and you’ll end up with an IT partnership that helps your organization move forward.

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