Every business reaches a point when their network needs have grown beyond the capabilities of their current solution. However, when the time comes to explore other opportunities, the job of comparing providers most often falls on the shoulders of the office managers like you.
As an office manager, you already have a great deal of work on your plate. From employee onboarding and payroll to overseeing financials and managing your administrative staff, finding time to locate, compare and choose a managed service provider seems practically impossible. Additionally, how can you be sure you’re making a good choice when IT isn’t your area of expertise?
To help reduce the time spent on this task, and help you make the right decision for your company, we’ve compiled three industry insider tips to help you get started in choosing a managed services provider.
Determine Why You’re Seeking a Managed Services Solution
Whether due to growth, process changes, or a combination of the two, your internal team or small third party provider may no longer be the most efficient option for managing your network. However, in order to choose the right provider, you first need to define why you’re seeking managed IT services in the first place.
Here are a few questions to consider:
- Are you opening a secondary office or business location?
- Do you need newer technology your current solution cannot support?
- Is your restricted budget preventing you from hiring a full IT department in house?
- Is your current provider’s support response time too slow for your company’s needs?
Knowing the answers to these questions will not only help you find providers who specialize in the areas you need assistance with most, but it will also help you ask the right questions to assess their competency.
Know What You Should Expect
All managed services companies are not created equal. While some offer rapid response support 24 hours a day, others may only offer support during normal business hours. In order to choose the best provider for your needs, you need to define your expectations.
For example, do you expect to have one central point-of-contact with whom you can reach out to when you need assistance, or are you OK with calling a 1-800 number every time you need help? Additionally, do you expect a personalized plan customized to your specific needs, or are you satisfied with a one-size-fits-all solution? If you’re unsure, you may need to discuss these expectations with your company’s leadership team or internal technology personnel prior to comparing providers.
Remember Low Price Doesn’t Always Mean Better Value
As an office manager, you likely work with various vendors and service providers, and may even oversee payables. You’ve probably noticed that, sometimes, the level of service provided by these vendors doesn’t quite match their cost. However, when comparing various managed service companies, it’s easy to be fooled by price. Although you may feel pressure from your CEO to locate the most affordable options, keep in mind that lower prices can sometimes mean less experienced teams.
Conversely, though, higher prices don’t always indicate better quality service. You need to make sure the value fits the dollar amount. If a provider charges more than average, ask about additional benefits you may receive to make up for the increased cost.
Overall, it’s best to do your homework before you begin comparing managed IT providers. The more research you do beforehand, the quicker the selection process and the more likely you are to find a company that satisfies all your network needs and expectations.