There is no doubt that outsourcing your business’ IT to a specialized IT consulting company, can save you both time and money.

Regardless of what industry you are in, technology most likely plays an integral role in the day-to-day operation of your company. Have you considered what would happen if you weren’t getting the most out of your IT system?

For some clients, IT can be like an onion; protected by layers of problems and expenses that no one can seem to solve before the next layer is uncovered. While this can be a common feeling amongst executives, it shouldn’t have to be this way.

A well-managed IT system doesn’t have to break your budget- it should strengthen your business’ day to day routine, enhance productivity and boost subsequent profit.

When it comes to ‘all in’ managed IT services, or IT support agreements, there are 5 critical questions which can make or break the relationship between you and your IT service provider:

1. What does ‘all in’ truly mean?

Support agreements and ‘all in’ managed IT service agreements should be clear and leave no question unanswered. Ensuring that you understand exactly what is included in your agreement is vital as additional fees and/or items that aren’t clearly understood should notequate to additional charges every month. If everything is included, why would there be any extra bills?  Your service level agreement should fit the day to day needs of your business, with a clear and predictable cost each month.

2. How long will they take to resolve a problem?

When your IT systems are down your entire business suffers, so it is essential to clarify with an IT team how long it will take them to respond to your support request, and also how long it will take them to resolve it. Many IT services state that they have a rapid response time, but this does not mean they can solve the problem straight away. The solution might be hours or days away, so talk about timing in your IT support agreement, well before a problem actually occurs.

3. When do they operate?

Gone are the days when everyone works 9am-5pm. Information technology is crucial for businesses at all hours of the day, and you will need to confirm when your IT team operates. Even if they do not provide a service 24 hours a day, it is wise to partner with a team that works similar hours to your own business. Waiting for technical support can be costly for your business, so think about this concern ahead of time.

4. Are they using the latest and most efficient technology?

This is very simple to figure out.  If you are seeing or hearing from engineers when it comes to updates, patches, basic maintenance and reboots, the 90s are calling, and they want their IT support team back!  Intelligent systems management is driven by advanced technology, delivered through proven processes and tools overseen by tech experts. As a result of this mature technology, your IT provider should be able to handle much of your work remotely and without any interruption to you. When your IT department is using advanced and modern technology, efficiency and productivity amongst your workplace should dramatically increase.

5. Am I secure?

If you need to ask, then you probably aren’t.  Professional, modern IT providers use premium security software and management systems to relentlessly support basic IT administration and delivery.  Security is at the heart of any IT and business infrastructure so demanding security and compliance services are a must.

As the complexities of the technology you use to run your business increase, so do the vast amount of options, price points and opinions surrounding IT support.  While this may be the case, IT support does not have to be confusing or costly. With the right communication, strategic plan and service provider, you can optimise technology solutions inside of your organisation.

Hayden McMaster