Choosing an IT service partner is a daunting and critical task for any organisation to make, regardless of their size or industry. It is a risky business decision to change IT service providers. Until you actually start working with an IT partner, there is no easy way to qualify their service quality or call response times.
By making the right appointment, you should see a seamless transition of services between existing and new providers. Your partner should feel like part of your internal team and should not only guide your technical direction, but challenge your business – at the appropriate time. Your business will benefit from quality service, support and on-going expertise, allowing you to plan ahead and feel confident these plans are achievable.
But how do you get the right partner?
To make things easier and from the feedback we have had from our customers over many years, you can look at 3 key deliverables when shortlisting partners:
- Customer service
- Response times
- Technical expertise
How you weight these will depend on your business’s own priorities. Our experience has shown that response time is often the most important consideration. This is followed by customer service and finally technical expertise. It may seem strange that expertise is last on the list, but looking at this pragmatically, companies tend to assume that an IT services company will have the necessary skills to deliver the services required.
When you begin to assess partners, consider some or all of the following to help you make an informed decision:
Certifications and accreditations
Industry accreditations such as Microsoft Partnership and Cyber Essentials certification show a commitment to technical quality.
ISO 9001 demonstrates an organisation’s focus on customer service, solutions, processes and procedures. It highlights a business’s ambition to put customers at the forefront of everything they do, with continuing process and delivery improvements.
ISO 27001 highlights a business’s commitment to managing sensitive company information. The ISO 27001 standard includes people, processes and IT systems and is important if you have strict data security requirements to abide by.
All of the above accreditations and certifications have a degree of external auditing required to verify the business is adhering to all required standards. This should reassure any organisation that the service partner is committed to quality customer service, processes, and technical expertise.
Case studies and testimonials
If an organisation is happy to go on record and talk about their own experience of the services and support provided by a service partner, you can take some comfort they are meeting that customer’s expectations. Any provider should be able to put you in touch with other businesses they work with to provide references. This is a good indicator of the overall quality of service delivery and you can feel reasonably confident that the service will be at the desired levels.