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Lancashire Times
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Jamie Durham
IT Correspondent
3:00 AM 7th May 2022
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Six Tips For Choosing An IT Support Provider

Monday morning comes and with a huge week ahead, you’re ready, poised, and motivated to tackle the mountain of tasks that’s been playing on your mind all weekend. And with no time quite like the present, you sit down at the desk — cuppa in hand — only to switch on your laptop and find…

Well, we could insert any manner of issues— because, with an ever-increasing reliance on technology, it’s often impossible to predict the next hiccup that will arise when we least expect it. But with a reliable IT team on standby, matters can be addressed quickly, leaving you free to ponder your week stress free and with one less reason to let that all-important morning coffee get cold.

But what should you be looking for in an IT provider? Here, Jamie Durham, founder of Systemwork, shares five tips which will help to put your business on the right track to securing its very own, technical dream team.

Accessibility

It’s no good having a resource that you can’t get hold of, or a provider that leaves you with a ticket number and not a great deal more. At the outset of a relationship, check which communication channels your provider utilises, and how quickly you can expect a response.

An email address or service desk often forms a first point of contact and will likely be the main channel for queries. These days, many companies shy away from telephones but check if you can take a number for urgent enquiries – or for matters that need escalating. It never hurts to cover all bases.

Speed

IT issues can seriously derail an employee’s day, impacting important deadlines and affecting progress across a business. And that’s why choosing a provider that has the capacity to remedy issues quickly and effectively, is vital.

When exploring the options, ask about typical service patterns — how long does it usually take for a problem to be resolved? Does the company have targets to meet when it comes to responding to client queries and concerns? The nature of this line of work means that targets should be measured by hours and not days, to prevent significant business disruption and, in some cases, potential revenue losses.

On-site support

Sometimes, no matter how hard a technician tries, a problem needs in-person attention – not the remote access upon which the industry has become reliant. Ensure that on-site support is available where needed and clarify whether such assistance is included within the monthly fee.

Whatever the industry, call out charges can be hefty. Avoid any nasty surprises and discuss this important element ahead of time, so that both parties are clear about expectations.

Location

While remote working and the ability for IT companies to connect to devices from afar has increased the capacity for businesses to look further afield for their IT provision, keeping the aforementioned factors in mind is worthwhile.

While travelling an hour is do-able, making the journey halfway across the country to fix anissue that a local provider could have taken care of easily, probably isn’t so practical. Bear this in mind before choosing a provider or forever hold your peace…

Industry credentials

Do your research and check out a company’s credentials ahead of time. Awards wins, industry accreditations, and a wider voice within the sector are good indicators of reliability and expertise.

Likewise, having a nosy at the LinkedIn profiles of any employees within the company should provide an insight into their specialisms — including any educational achievements and previous positions within the sector.

Reputation

Most established companies — especially within the IT space — will have a website filled with information that can aid your decision-making process. Testimonials and case studies can provide especially rich insight into the activities that a company has delivered before.

The presence of familiar names among a client-base often delivers that extra layer of reassurance. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other companies for an honest opinion about the firm’s work.

An increasingly integral part of business today, choosing the right IT support is more important than ever. Remember to do your research, using the hints and tips above, and step into a new working relationship with the confidence to tackle the days and weeks ahead.