As we all know, there are only two directions in business - moving forwards or moving backwards. There's no running in place. If you're not moving forward, you ARE moving backwards. That said, how much is your technology helping you to move forward? If it's not, then it's probably safe to say you're moving backwards. And further, probably safe to say it might be time to consider upgrading.
Too often, lagging with your technology is a direct result of the business partner you're working with. And when it comes to moving your business forward with your technology, this should be a key measurement of what a successful partnership with your IT support company looks like.
Here are 10 sure tell tale signs that it's probably time to upgrade your IT support company...
1. You always seem to be having IT problems
This is an easy one. If your technology isn't working, neither is your business. Downtime reduces your staffs' productivity which costs you real time and money. Sometimes it's hard to measure the true cost of IT. And sometimes you can’t put a dollar amount on the benefits it brings. However, there are ways to estimate the cost of downtime. Regardless, you shouldn't have to put up with preventable downtime.
2. You've outgrown your IT support company
Many times, successful companies grow to the point that their existing IT support company either doesn't have the size, skills, or experience to grow with you. If your MSP has a small staff, they often don't have the bandwidth to assist you as you continue to add new staff members and locations. If they're not at the right size, they may not have the processes and procedures in place to effectively handle a bigger company. While they mean well, all too often IT support companies know their limitations (internally), but don't want to accept them (externally). This means your business ends up feeling the brunt of this through slow service, incorrect solutions, or possibly even exposing your network to cyber threats they're unable to guard against.
3. You're getting poor communication
This one is simple. If they don't communicate well or you have to continually follow up with them to find out where things stand, then it's time to move on. You shouldn’t have to waste your time, energy, and effort on poor communication. The best IT support companies are the ones who proactively communicate the status of things long before you need to ask. This is what "worry removal" should look like.
4. You're getting poor service
Too often, IT support companies are built on the backs of their owners. They grow over time, but don't truly get better. So, as they grow, the quality of their service is really dependent on the owner and maybe one of two good "techs". Too often this reveals itself in the quality of the service you're getting. Often times, this looks like one or two guys who "know your network." So, when they're on vacation, support comes to a complete stand still. With the right systems, process, procedures, and staff - this can all be avoided.
Your IT tech support company should care about the success of your business because it means they'll be successful too. They should be there to support you and your business and help it move forward, not be a hindrance.
5. You never see the same person twice
Related to the last item, if your IT provider seems to have a high turnover rate for employees, that could be a sign of a management issue. Too often, thought, this leads to poor service from new staff members who are unfamiliar with your company and your technology. When your IT support company relies more on the people than the systems and the processes, you will feel the pain. But, you shouldn't have to.
6. Your technology is outdated and your MSP doesn't have a strategy to replace it
Businesses today are super reliant on technology and customers have come to expect a certain base level of technical functionality. Having outdated technology can drive away business, according to Microsoft. An MSP shouldn’t have the approach that maintaining your IT infrastructure is all that needs to be done, but rather it should be actively managing it and working with you as true trusted advisor helping you to leverage it to create growth strategies for your business.
7. You're not sure you're getting what you signed up for
Chances are your IT support company walked you through a proposal with a long list of services you may not have fully understood before you signed a contract. At the time this proposal seemed thorough, but now the details are a little fuzzy. Your IT support shouldn’t be a set it and forget it cost that you only review when things go sideways. Your provider should be transparent about the services they are providing month to month, so you can see how they are adding value to your company.
8. You're not sure what your IT company does for you
A clear sign that you're not getting what you need is when it becomes unclear what your IT company is doing for you. An IT services provider should not only be there when something is wrong, but they should be performing preventative maintenance to reduce the chance of problems arising. They should also be meeting with you regularly to review how your technology is doing, how they're doing, what they're doing, and how they can help improve your technology.
If you aren’t sure whether your IT company is proactively working to protect your company from an IT system failure, you need to get in touch with them to find out what they are doing on your behalf. Although, if you're having to reach out to them, it's a sure sign their communication isn't the greatest (see #3 above).
9. You have no idea if you have a backup and recovery plan
A backup and recovery plan is critical for every business. No matter how big or how small your company is, it's at risk of being affected by system failures and user errors let alone cybersecurity threats such as malware, ransomware, or data theft. Hardware failure can result in the loss of important data that your business needs to operate on a day to day basis.
A backup and recovery plan can significantly reduce the effect of a disaster on your business. A good plan can reduce downtime and minimize the costs of resolving a data loss or cyber attack. Ideally, you should have a business continuity plan that can help your company to maintain a basic level of operation, as well as a disaster recovery plan to get you back up to working at full capacity.
One job of an IT support company is to ensure that all its clients have an effective backup and recovery plan in place. If you have no idea what your plan is, or whether you have one at all, you urgently need to reach out to your IT support company. If your current IT services provider cannot prove to you that there is an effective plan in place, consider switching to a new IT company.
10. You were hit by something they weren't prepared for
No company can guarantee that your data is 100% secure, but there is a big difference between a company that fixes things when they're broken and one that has a complete, proactive approach to managing it. Your IT support company should be running your technology with a formalized, repeatable process that guarantees the quality of the service they're delivering and you need. The better they are at this, the more likely you WON'T be hit be something negatively.
At the same time, your MSP should be prepared to handle any disaster that strikes. If they seem to crack under the pressure, this is a massive red flag.
The needs of your company will change over time, and you need to make sure your IT changes with you. If you're experiencing any of these situations with your current IT tech support company, you may need to consider looking for a new one.
How well is your IT service provider working for you? How can they improve? Let us know your thoughts or share your suggestions in the comments box below.