As businesses look to run ever leaner and smoother, outsourcing the IT support function has become increasingly common. In fact, the traditional in-house IT team, so much beloved of TV series on both sides of the Atlantic, is becoming something of an endangered species.
The reasons for outsourcing IT are compelling ones and go beyond simple streamlining. By using a third-party provider like Probrand to deliver IT support, you can take advantage of all their expertise and economies of scale while only paying for what you need.
Whichever way you look at it, it’s hard to see any downsides, so perhaps it is unsurprising that so many businesses are choosing to go down this road. Demand leads to supply, so inevitably, there is also an ever-growing array of providers offering their services. What are the factors you need to keep in mind when selecting an outsourced IT support provider?
Let’s cut to the chase, everything always comes down to budgets. When looking at pricing, it is important to pay attention to what is included and whether the providers are offering a fixed rate, “pay as you go” or some other deal. Take time to really understand the pricing so you can get an accurate like-for-like comparison.
2) Service levels
IT support needs to be there when you need it most, and in today’s business environment, that is liable to be at 110 PMon Christmas Day. Check what service levels you can expect for different incident types – most have a system for grading them as routine, urgent and so on.
One of the core benefits of outsourcing IT support is that it gives you access to a range of experts across every area of technology. Consultancy services can therefore be hugely advantageous. Are these offered, and if so, do they come as part of the deal, or as an optional bolt-on service. Most offer the latter, which is fine, but it is all part of understanding what you are getting.
4) Account management
Outsourcing something does not mean forgetting about it, and to get the best out of an outsourcing arrangement, you will want great communication. Find out what communication channels are used, how often you can expect to be in touch and who will be your primary points of contact.
Data security is of paramount importance to any business, and the impending GDPR has placed it right at the forefront of every business’s agenda. Check how your potential partner manages its own security arrangements – that will give you a good indication of how well it will look after yours. Don’t be afraid to ask searching questions about how they deal with password protection, tracking remote access, data backups and so on. If they are good at what they do, they will be happy to answer all these sorts of questions.
Any business that takes itself seriously will carry professional indemnity insurance with a minimum coverage of £1,000,000. And they will be more than happy to demonstrate that it is in place.