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The Right Questions for IT Service Providers

by: Ronald Escanlar

Wednesday, December 28, 2011 |

Multinational and large companies have their own IT departments due to the big role that IT plays in their business processes. However, IT has permeated our daily lives, from our personal finances to our utility bills. Any important transaction now is recorded beyond mere paper documents - a financial account has a hard copy and a “soft” copy.

In such context, small and mid-sized businesses need IT support more than ever. However, SMBs do not have the budget to spend on an IT department. Thus, many SMBs have turned to outsource their IT needs to a service provider.

Questions to ask prospective IT service providers

Finding the right IT service provider is also akin to finding the right employee - there is a need to thoroughly screen service providers to get the most out of an outsourcing relationship. In an interview with InformationWeek, TeamLogic IT Vice-president for IT Vince Plaza named four questions that SMBs can ask of prospective IT service providers.

What makes you better than other service providers? Being shy of asking the right questions will not give you the best outsourcing deal. It’s also a way to test a provider - providers which know their services well will take advantage of this opportunity to showcase their company.

What will you do to help my business keep pace with the competition? As the global marketplace gets smaller, companies are also becoming more competitive among themselves. Will the service provider be able to enable your company to keep pace with modern technologies?  

What will you do to give my business a fast ROI? An IT service provider should provide more than the hardware and software, says Plaza. Quality service providers enable business owners to understand how their investment in technology will help their ROI rate accelerate.

Who will provide support when my business needs help? Working with a service provider means you also have to know how they work. Who provides support when problems crop up? How fast do they act on a problem? Does the person have the right credentials to help you solve an issue?

These are just general questions for a prospective outsourced IT deal - your business will provide you with more specific questions, such as the number of your IT equipment, the scope of work that needs attention, software deployment, among others. Location and vendor partnerships are also major influences in choosing an IT service provider, although most service providers can provide support to major technologies, i.e. from Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

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