Shopping for an IT services provider in Houston, TX can be hectic and confusing with the large number of IT services companies and a broad range of offerings.
You shouldn’t choose the first company you come across because they might not be the best fit for you. Note that your company’s future is on the line here.
Before you start searching for an IT services provider, ponder over what exactly you’d hope to gain from their support. This will help you formulate the right questions to ask when interviewing potential vendors.
With this guide, we’ve made it easy for you to choose the right vendor.
Consider Data Security Expertise
Robust data security is mandatory. It should in every part of your company, particularly your technology.
Look for a service provider with strong expertise in data security. Such a company is able to create a security plan to match your needs and budget. Engineering and construction industry is a regulated industry and you need an IT service provider who understands the applicable regulations. This will help your company stay compliant.
Cybersecurity threats are evolving. Your IT services provider must keep up to speed. Otherwise, they will fail to keep you protected.
Don’t forget that even with the best infrastructure and skills, there is no guarantee when it comes to a data security breach.
If an IT company gives you a 100 % guarantee that your business will not experience a data breach, that service provider is either lying or is ignorant.
Go For a Proactive Management
There are some IT services providers who work on reactive tickets like troubleshooting email problems or fixing broken printers. There is nothing wrong with this reactive ticket, and its common way which most IT companies use to solve problems.
However, the right IT companies should reduce these reactive tickets by having proactive management.
Proactive solutions go beyond active monitoring. Your IT services provider should familiarize itself with your business environment and help you choose tools to reduce your downtime.
The best IT company prefers proactive to reactive management.
Proactive solutions involve constant meetings between your company and service provider to form a technology plan to propel your company to new heights.
Look for Experience, Certifications, and Professional Development
Look for a company that is experienced. Look at their portfolio and find out the systems they have supported.
Don’t pick a company that is learning on your systems and money. A verified way to establish their support experience is certifications.
Most recognized IT vendors, including Microsoft, provide certification programs to professionals and IT companies who service their products. This is done at the individual level.
Ask the potential vendor what certifications their professionals hold and the renewal period.
Employees should be receiving on-going treatment to ensure their skills are up to date. Ask the company about training—does the company have a budget set aside for professional development? Is this budget utilized? Do their employees receive cross-training in different systems?
Certification and experience in one system are not enough. The vendor should have employees who are knowledgeable about systems and apps which interact with your main system.
What is their Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
Look for an IT service provider that has a defined guaranteed response time. These should be stated in your contract. Your business shouldn’t be left in darkness on response time when issues arise.
SLA typically defines the time the IT services provider will take to address your issue- not specifically when it will be fixed. If the IT services provider guarantees they can fix issues within a defined period of time, this is a red flag.
Regrettably, some IT issues can take time to fix, especially if a third party is involved who isn’t bound by the same SLA contract.
If an IT services provider is quick to mention the exact amount of time they will use to fix a problem, they are most likely using short-cut solutions that don’t address the root problem
Consider Pricing a Secondary Factor
In the technology world, you get what you pay for.
A home-based or a garage company may offer you the best deal in the market but what kind of services are you entitled to? Have you considered how much your company loses every time your website's down?
If you do a comparison between the rates per hour you’re losing when the systems are down to the rate per hour the IT support charges- you will get the bigger picture. You need peace of mind to focus on other things.
Avoid making pricing a primary factor when it comes to choosing a vendor.
Choose Month-to-Month Contract
Don’t accept being tied down by long-term contracts. In most cases, such contracts favor the IT services vendor more than you.
Imagine frustrations with your cable or mobile service provider, but you can’t walk away since you have a long term contract.
Do you want to have the same experience with your IT services company when you can’t access some files on your computer or the server is down?
If you’re unhappy with the performance of your service provider, you should be in a position to search for a new vendor within a month. This will encourage you to evaluate the performance of the vendor and make changes that please you.
Consider only vendors who offer month-to-month contracts. This model has an out clause of 30 to 60 days. A short contract gives you an upper hand. At no given time should your vendor have the upper hand.
Prioritize Transparency When Comparing IT Services Companies
When comparing IT services companies, you should look for a company that gives you straight answers to all your questions. They must be transparent.
Don’t enter into a contract with a vendor that hides important information in the name of ‘trade secrets’. Transparency is king.
Contact us today if you are an engineering or construction firm in Houston, TX looking for reliable IT support.