Net Platforms

What Should You Be Getting From Your It Support? – 5 Signs of a Poor IT Provider

Since the beginning of the digital revolution over 40 years ago, technological progress has accelerated exponentially, allowing organisations today to communicate, leverage data and drive engagement in ways that were previously unthinkable.  While technology has always played a role in business success, today it’s more critical than ever, with a wave of new technologies allowing businesses to achieve next-level productivity, agility and flexibility.

With so many options to choose from, the imperative lies in adopting technologies that adequately address the needs of your business and ensuring they’re expertly configured for maximum benefit.  This challenge requires the assistance of a dynamic, trustworthy IT partner who’s in tune with your business.

With a period of significant change on the horizon, you may find yourself naturally asking:  is my current provider up to the task of helping my business overcome the challenges ahead?  Answering this question requires an objective assessment of the IT support you currently receive.

This isn’t always easy to do.  If the relationship is still young you may feel like you can’t yet make a judgement.  If your provider hasn’t assisted you with a complex project, you may feel unable to assess their technical competence.  If you only have experience with one or two providers, you may feel unable to make an assessment in the context of industry standards.  Fear not, as in this article we’ll explain the 5 key hallmarks of poor IT provision, so you’ll be able to assess your current provider, whether you’ve been with them for four months or four years

 

They let SLAs define their service

While a comprehensive service level agreement is vital in terms of setting out expectations and defining the parameters of service delivery, your provider should view the SLA as the minimum required standard rather than a target.  They should be actively volunteering their knowledge, experience and insights,  suggesting changes and proposing solutions which address your business challenges while also being mindful of constraints such as budget.  They should be employing a prevention-first approach, with proactive maintenance playing a critical role in keeping your IT systems functioning, and issue resolution seen as a safety net rather than the only line of defence.   If your provider fails to offer support beyond the basics outlined in your SLA, they probably won’t have the drive and dynamism required to help you navigate technical challenges in the future.

 

Their service is led by the products they provide

A good IT provider will employ a consultative, issue-focussed approach to their service delivery.  This means considering the key challenges their clients are facing, and developing custom strategies to overcome or mitigate these difficulties.  Unfortunately, many providers promote the products they specialise in, giving little or no consideration to how their clients stand to benefit.  There are indeed solutions out there which can be adapted to a wide range of environments, but sometimes a uniquely challenging set of circumstances requires a custom solution that isn’t “off-the-shelf.”  If the solutions being offered seem a poor fit for your business, and interactions often seem like a sales pitch, then your provider is likely more concerned about making a quick sale than helping you optimise your business technology.

 

They’re unclear about what they offer

While a provider that operates within a distinct technical niche can be limiting, you should be wary of one that claims to do everything without the credentials to prove it.  Without a large team of specialists, maintaining competence in every technical field is a serious challenge due to the ever-evolving nature of technology.  It’s entirely reasonably to ask about the experience and credentials your provider holds in a specific technical domain, especially if you plan on embarking on a sizable project with them.  A can-do attitude is great, but without the required qualifications and expertise it will only take a project so far.

 

Your IT is experiencing recurring issues

The main objective of your IT partner is to ensure the smooth-running of your IT estate.  While helpdesk support is a vital ‘reactive’ component in achieving this objective, proactive maintenance should form the backbone of support, ensuring that the vast majority of issues are corrected before they compromise your ability to operate.  It’s almost inevitable though, that a small percentage of problems will escalate and result in disruption.  Concerns should be raised when the same faults present time and time again, as this is likely due to your provider failing to address an underlying cause.  Alarm bells should ring if your provider operates in this manner, as it indicates an inattentive or lazy approach to system maintenance, which could one day result in serious disruption.

 

Poor Communication

While it’s important to pay close attention to measurable performance metrics such as response times and uptime stats, you also want your IT provider to be a partner you enjoy engaging with.  You want a personable, approachable, understanding and patient team who are keen to get to know your business and develop a constructive long-term partnership.  They should approach topics of conversation with a keen focus on how your business stands to benefit from solutions and services.  The best providers will even take their time to ensure you and your team fully understand the technology you’re working with, they’ll want you to know the reasons behind any changes and will consult and support you at every available opportunity.  If your provider is reluctant to proffer advice, stubborn or intransigent to deal with and often appears cold and standoffish, then they won’t be able to fully support you and your team through challenging technology transitions.

 

We hope the above list has given you a helpful starting point from which to gauge your IT provider’s performance.  For further guidance, take a look at our next article, where we’ll explore the qualities all great IT providers possess.

 

NetPlatforms – Ensuring you can achieve value from your technology

Using the tools at your disposal correctly will ensure value. You have the power to revolutionise the way your organisation produces work. We can ensure that you implement the right tools, use them correctly, and plan for the future with those tools as important assets in the prolonged success of your organisation. Our success can be attributed to one thing: TRUST. Ever since our very first year in business our clients have been happy to recommend us to other businesses, and we have grown steadily as a result of those recommendations. We can truly help you to get the best from your IT in the most secure way possible. Don’t hesitate – contact us now!