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IT Management – If This Isn’t on Your Evaluation List, It Needs to Be

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Think back to the last time you had a technical issue.

Maybe you forgot your password. Couldn’t print. Struggled with spotty internet. Video not working. Bad audio. Had trouble accessing shared files. What was your initial thought? How did you address the issue? Were you able to resolve it? How long did that process take? How much productivity was lost, not just due to wasted time, but frustration as well?

For those who are not technically inclined, having to deal with a technical issue is most likely unpleasant and irritating. In the busyness of a normal workday, most would agree that they can’t afford long periods of unproductivity while they attempt to troubleshoot a technical problem.

What if I told you this process could be better, more efficient, cost effective and most importantly, less frustrating? I’m happy to report it can be, with just one simple solution- adding IT management to your business’ evaluation list.

The effects of a pandemic on IT

We’ve seen our clients’ IT budgets increase each year as business needs evolve, requiring more technology and larger infrastructure. But given the additional stress of a pandemic and the unprecedented shift to remote work that we are all experiencing, the benefit of IT support is essential.

While living and working during a global pandemic, we have consistently observed that all manner of “things” continue to change. With that as a reality, many can easily talk themselves out of implementing more change- especially when that change has a financial component.

Seeking a reliable and dependable partner to provide IT support may be one of those changes left on the wish list. However, whether we are in the office or at home, the technical issues we experience on a day-to-day basis remain constant. And with the creation of larger remote work forces, newer issues that we had not seen before in-office have begun to pose a threat to productivity. Therefore, it’s especially during a global pandemic that IT support remains an essential need and should not be deprioritized.

How to find the right IT service provider

Okay. You understand the need. You see the value. So now, where do you start and what do you look for in an IT partner? Below are seven qualities to look for in your future IT provider:

  1. Partnership. Your IT provider is an extension of your business, so a good relationship is key. You want to work with a team of folks who are interested in supporting your business and optimizing your IT environment with the goal of helping you achieve your business aims and objectives.
  2. Shared values. A good partner will value the same things that you value in your business. Always ask your IT provider what their core values are and how they define success to make sure you’re aligned.
  3. Service Level Agreement (SLA). Clearly identifying and setting expectations up front is necessary in order to determine if the partnership is setup for success. Your definition of a quick response may be different than that of an IT provider. Make sure you discuss what standards are in place for service delivery.
  4. IT budgeting. No one likes surprise costs. Be sure to look for an IT partner who is strategic and can provide clarity around what costs are included versus out of scope. They should want to be part of your IT budget planning and be able to track how you spend.
  5. Strategic planning / forward-thinking. The benefit of a partner who will assist in today’s technical issues, while also focusing on proactive solutions aimed at achieving long-term goals is invaluable. The ability to maintain a dual mindset of balancing your needs in the present, while positioning your team for future success is crucial.
  6. Vendor management. Most businesses today utilize various technologies: internet provider, phone provider, software providers, and the list goes on. Finding an IT partner who is more than willing to work with your other technology partners is a huge benefit and time saver for your team.
  7. Procurement service. Whether your workstations are nearing end of life or you’re in the market for a new server, finding a partner who will do the leg work in obtaining quotes and placing orders is an added bonus that will enable you to maximize your time and remove that hurdle from your to do list.

The commitment to a shared vision while providing daily, proactive supportare key elements to look for in a dependable IT partner. The peace of mind that will come from knowing that you have a team of IT professionals in your corner who are aligned with your teams’ goals and will respond quickly in a moment of need, is invaluable. This trusted relationship has an opportunity to make a huge positive impact on both your business and productivity.

Amidst the most uncertain global environment in recent history, one thing is certain: your business’ IT needs aren’t going away and are likely to become more complicated with each passing day.. While it may be tempting to view IT management as a luxury, when it comes to decreasing daily stress related to technology and driving your business forward, it’s truly a necessity. If IT management isn’t on your evaluation list, it needs to be.

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