Your company is growing, and you recognize that technology is an important key to your success. Having the right IT solutions in place not only improves flexibility and allows your team to focus on key objectives but if things are not running smoothly, downtime jeopardizes every area of the business.
There is a lot involved in managing an IT network and your internal team does not have the expertise or the time to effectively manage your infrastructure and maintain its security.
Many organizations are recognizing the value of outsourcing their IT needs. Downtime is incredibly costly, and companies often must learn that the hard way.
Working with a trusted partner for your IT solutions – sometimes referred to as a Managed Service Provider (MSP) offers many benefits. (Read about the benefits of the Managed Services Model).
If you’re at a place where you know an IT strategic partner could help you but don’t know how to get started in choosing the right partner, here are some pointers that can assist you in your search.
5 Qualities to Look for in a Strategic IT Partner
- A Proactive Approach. While you certainly need a partner that is capable of fixing issues as they occur, what’s more important is finding a one that takes a proactive approach to IT. A strategic IT partner that works proactively not only knows enough to anticipate problems but takes the necessary steps to avoid them in the first place. A proactive approach ultimately lowers total cost of ownership as well. When systems are not properly maintained, costly problems & resulting downtime will occur. A proactive partner will also help you plan and make the right IT decisions for your future business growth, rather than just keep maintaining day-to-day and then play “catch up” later.
- Process Oriented. An IT strategic partner with your best interests in mind will have repeatable and scalable methodologies in place to identify and solve problems. (This is also a good sign that they are thinking proactively.) IT problems should be documented as they occur. It should be determined WHY they happened and the appropriate systems should be put in place to ensure the same problems don’t continue to happen.
- The Right Business Background and Expertise. The right knowledge and experience to understand your industry and your specific issues is an important trait to consider when searching for a new IT strategic partner. This can be particularly important in certain industries that have defined security and compliance issues to contend with. A good IT solutions partner should also have the knowledge necessary to make sure your existing infrastructure works seamlessly with any new applications or systems that will need to be integrated in the future. Ask IT solutions companies if they have a proven history and track record with businesses similar to yours or experience managing similar network configurations. If they do, they should be willing to provide appropriate references.
- Experienced Personnel in all Areas of IT & Network Security. When considering long-term partner, you want to work with one with a deep and experienced bench. One or two people won’t have the technical background necessary to address all potential concerns and be able to implement a proactive approach. Security concerns alone continue to get more complex every day. Ask IT solutions companies about the experts on their team that would be relevant to your infrastructure and security needs and inquire about education, certifications, and ongoing training. The partner that is right for you will have the qualifications and expertise necessary to properly protect, manage and streamline your information technology needs.
- A Partnership Mentality. Your IT partner should have your company’s best interests in mind and be committed to doing what is right for your business and its future. A trusted partner will not only make sure that your systems are secure but that they are running at peak efficiency. They will provide advice and make recommendations on suggestions for leveraging technology and projecting future needs, along with the budget requirements necessary to make the most of your infrastructure and meet your business objectives.
Do your research and find the right fit for your organization. Look for an IT strategic partner that will truly understand your business and be a strategic partner to you, rather than one that is just looking for another contract. The right firm should be able to help you decrease downtime and operating costs while at the same time increase efficiency, security, and confidence!