With companies more dependent than ever on complex networks, mobile devices and electronic solutions for everything from bookkeeping to compliance, managed IT services are looking increasingly attractive. But choosing a provider can be an exercise in comparing apples and oranges. Some managed IT services companies set their prices based purely on how many devices you use. Others let you pick and choose from a variety of services on an a la carte basis. And still others have a tiered system where “gold” level clients get quicker service and more total hours of support than their “bronze” counterparts.
The key to choosing wisely is that there’s no one perfect managed IT services package. What you need is the best package for your business. And that means you need to have a clear idea of your specific needs going into the process. How many networks do you use? If your IT is hosted on site, do you want to move it to the cloud, and, if so, how will the transition and continuing network management fit into your overall plans? Do you have employees who work from home, or who use mobile devices on the road?
If you take a look at your use of IT service over the past few months, you can probably get a sense of your needs. How many tickets have come in from employees, and what issues did they reflect? Do you need frequent hands-on help at your office, or can remote assistance typically handle the problem?
It’s also a good idea to go through worst-case scenarios. If your network suddenly went down on a Sunday at 4 p.m., would it be an emergency that had to be handled immediately or a minor inconvenience that could wait until Monday morning? If one of your field reps working on the other side of the country couldn’t get help logging a new phone onto your network, how bad would that be?
There’s a reason people say time is money. If a long wait time for help from your managed IT services provider would keep your workers twiddling their thumbs, that’s just as much of a problem as overpaying for services you don’t need.
Of course, what you really want is to avoid both those problems. So before you go shopping for managed IT services, make sure you know just what your needs really are.