If you’ve recently signed up for IT services from a third-party, there are a couple of things you need to know before getting started. Likewise, there are a couple of things that your service provider needs to know before they can get started. Here’s a short checklist that will help you make a smooth transition to a new IT service provider.
Start with a Network Audit
Before it’s possible to improve and get a handle on your organization’s infrastructure, it’s important to understand where you are and where you want to be in the future. This is what a network audit accomplishes, and many IT providers will start their service offerings with one. This is because it’s important to get a clear understanding of what your organization’s needs are before attempting to build off it. A network audit exposes weak points, including app usage, bandwidth expenditure, security issues, and more.
Signing up for a network audit can be the first step your business takes alongside a managed service provider toward a fruitful, mutually-beneficial relationship. It doesn’t hurt to get second opinions during this phase, but remember that some IT providers might just use an audit to generate a laundry list of things to sell you. It’s equally important that you prioritize the most critical issues found in the audit.
Review Your Service Level Agreement
What does your IT provider do for your organization? Chances are that, in your meetings with your service provider, you’ve established a service level agreement. This agreement determines the type of service that you receive from your provider, including the number of workstations and servers to be maintained, the amount of cloud storage offered, the terms and conditions regarding what the service provider is obligated to cover, what kind of timetable to expect for IT support, and so on.
Every service provider is different, but you should strive for complete and total transparency at all times. You’ve heard the phrase, “Know what you pay for,” it applies to managed IT services all too well. It’s also worth bringing up questions about escalation. If the provider typically has a 3-day response time for standard support, then what happens when it’s holding up an important initiative or an employee can’t get their job done until it gets fixed? Will that cost more? If so, how much?
Tell Your Employees Who to Contact for Assistance
Chances are that if you have a new IT provider, you may have had an old go-to guy for all your technology troubles. Therefore, it’s important that each one of your employees know about the change in protocol so they don’t continue to call your old break-fix IT provider for help with their workstations or otherwise. In part, this is one of the benefits of working with a managed IT service provider. It gives your employees a one-stop shop for any IT-related troubles, so they don’t have to hound vendors or pay for expensive help desk support.
Instead, find out what kind of end-user support is included (if any) and give your employees a phone number or email address to contact when they need help. You should also be able to set up restrictions as far as who can request support, and who in your organization can incur billable charges. You don’t want to open the floodgates to your users in cases where one-on-one support is billable without you first knowing what these expenses will look like.
What it basically comes down to is maintaining clear and concise communication with your new IT provider, and that’s something we at Advantage IT Management take great pride in. We want you to know exactly what you’re getting from us. We can effectively help your business simplify the transition to a new service provider and minimize downtime in the process.
If you are looking at a new managed IT services provider, it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion to make sure that your business is being taken care of. To learn more, reach out to us at 251-662-9770.