If you’ve decided to outsource your IT to a managed services provider, you may have no idea what to look for. If your expertise lies elsewhere, it can be challenging to know if you’re picking the right provider.

Here are six qualities to look for when choosing the right IT provider.

  • They ask the right questions.  The right IT provider will ask questions about how technology is used in your business.  They will need to know how your business works so they can best fulfill your IT needs. If they’re talking more than they’re listening, that’s a bad sign.
  • They have documented systems and procedures.  Your service provider should be willing to share examples of policy and process documentation and explain how they are utilized.  Similarly, a services provider should have a knowledge management system that enables staff from any location to access historical problem and resolution information.  Ask to see the schedule of preventative maintenance activities and examples of reports they intend to provide keeping you informed of results such as data backups
  • They should be able to provide references.  Claiming they have experience without providing reference is a red flag! If the company you’re talking to has experience, they should be able to provide references for you to contact.
  • They have a team.  A well-qualified IT provider will have a team of people with both breadth and depth of experience and resources they can pull from to carry out large projects such as network upgrades and relocations.
  • They have relationships with leading technology suppliers.  A well-established managed services provider should have partnerships and certifications from major technology hardware, software and services providers. Ask to see evidence of these.
  • Their agreement with you includes regular and on-demand business reviews and strategic planning sessions. You need your service provider to make sure your IT strategic plan supports your business plan so that you stay productive, secure and competitive.