What Makes an IT Managed Services Partner vs. Just an IT Company
Many organizations become disappointed with their IT companies over time.
From law firms to schools to government agencies and every variety of business, it’s a common complaint. Why are there still so many technology issues when you’ve hired an IT company to work on your behalf?
While your IT company may resolve your problems, what is being done to prevent them from happening in the first place? Are you using technology as effectively as you could be? Are you taking advantage of new technology that could help? Are you missing out on opportunities to do more?
These are questions that reveal a fundamental problem that has little to do with technology: it’s the difference between working with a vendor and working with a partner.
If you’re asking those kinds of questions, you’re working with an IT vendor and it’s time to start thinking about upgrading. Read on to learn the key attributes of an IT partner and the difference a partner can make for you.
Proactive vs. Reactive
While it’s important that your IT partner responds to your questions and requests quickly—we believe this should happen in 15 minutes or less—we’ve found that organizations of all types benefit when their IT company regularly takes the initiative.
Non-IT people don’t have time to stay on top of new developments and innovations with Microsoft, ransomware protection, telecommunications, networking, etc. Their IT company is in the best position to bring them ideas for solving problems, working more efficiently, and growing without technology friction – but do they? When was the last time your IT company brought compelling new ideas to you? That’s what a partner does.
Solves Your Problems
No matter how proactive your IT company is, problems are going to arise based on user error, external threats, and other unforeseen issues. That is why your IT partner should be as responsive as you need them to be. No organization can afford to be down for hours or days because of a technology or internet connectivity problem.
What should never be tolerated are chronic problems. An IT partner will help you resolve these by prioritizing the most disruptive, costly problems and developing a plan to resolve them, and prevent them from happening again. It’s best to do this as part of your annual strategic planning, with an IT partner at the table.
Prevents New Problems from Arising
An IT company can only serve as your partner if they have a thorough understanding of your current IT infrastructure, challenges and goals – usually as part of an initial IT assessment. This “deep dive” is even more valuable when it identifies problems and other things holding you back that you may not be aware of – lack of an effective backup process, having exposure to ransomware attacks, and overpaying for your phone system are commonly discovered problems.
An IT assessment should also include a review of your current technology contracts to ensure that you’re getting what you’re paying for. Less reputable vendors overcharge because they know technology can be intimidating and a lot of people will just go with whatever they recommend and don’t realize that their vendor doesn’t have their best interests at heart. This review can also identify your best technology vendors and show you how to get more out of them. An IT partner can act as your technology advisor, helping you to manage these vendors.
Work Smarter, Not Harder & Seize New Opportunities
Once both chronic and preventable IT problems are resolved, and you have the confidence that your IT partner can quickly handle new issues as they arise, you and your partner can focus on bigger things, like streamlining processes, reducing costs, and creating new competitive advantages.
For example, both Power BI and Power Apps in particular are incredibly powerful and cost-effective Microsoft tools that we can implement to automatically consolidate and process data from multiple sources to streamline manual process that bog down your knowledge workers. They cost a fraction of what other business intelligence software and custom app development costs but are just as customizable.
Are You Working with an IT Managed Services Partner?
If you’re not happy with your technology or the performance of your IT company, contact us today – we can start by conducting a technology landscape assessment to understand your current situation, to determine what needs to be fixed, and to identify what new opportunities can be seized once technology starts working for you – instead of the other way around.