In the UK, IT support is the most widely outsources business function. Providing on-demand access to enlightened technical expertise, and round-the-clock support and management that prevents IT problems affecting productivity, IT outsourcing carries many business benefits.
Issues arise however, when IT providers fail in the duty to provide diligent, proactive IT support and management. This can manifest in the form of frequent IT outages that hamper business efficiency, and inadequate cyber security measures that put data at risk. If your business is suffering at the hands of a sub-par IT support provider, you should definitely consider switching, but we know this isn’t always an easy decision to make.
Solution Consultants – Service-focused IT Support for Berkshire Businesses
From our home in Reading, Solution Consultants provides IT and Cloud services to over 350 businesses across Berkshire and around the UK. We take great pride in our commitment to service excellence and an unwavering focus on delivering the best, growth-enabling IT solutions to our clients.
Our experience tells us that businesses switch IT provider for a variety of reasons, and that one factor in particular can act as a deterrent to finding a new provider: the switching process itself. It’s natural to have fears or misgivings about this process, but switching needn’t be a hassle and it’s highly unlikely to impact your business in any significant way.
Should you decide to switch to SolCo you can expect a smooth, seamless transition thanks to our tried-and-tested onboarding process. We’ll choreograph the bulk of the transition so that you can focus on running your business and serving your valued clients. Having said that, there are a few simple exercises and tasks you can perform to guarantee an effortless transition of IT support provider – hopefully to SolCo. Here are the top 5 things you should consider.
Take Your Time to Find the Right Provider
Finding the right IT support provider for your business is critical for expectation management and in gaining maximum value from the partnership long-term. This company will be tasked with maintaining the integrity and security of the technology your business depends on, and they’ll likely have a sizable influence on the form and direction your IT systems take in the future. You should therefore consider all your options and arm yourself with the facts before committing. Ask yourself the following questions about each candidate:
Do they have the scale to support my business?
Make enquiries about the size of organisation each provider typically supports, paying close attention to the number of ‘seats’ in each case, as this indicates the scale of the IT infrastructure rather than the total number of employees. Consider whether they have the capacity to support your business both now, and into the future.
Do I need on-site support?
Most IT support and management functions can now be carried out remotely, so an IT provider’s physical location shouldn’t necessarily be a deciding factor in your choice. However, if you’re planning an infrastructure upgrade or having particularly demanding IT support needs, then it’s best to choose a provider that can provide regular on-site support as and when you need it.
Do they understand my industry?
Virtually no business today escapes the challenges of data protection regulation, from the ubiquitous GDPR and PCI DSS to industry-specific standards and regulations such as those that apply to healthcare and finance. If you’re business operates in a more regulated environment then it would be wise to choose a provider with prior experience in your industry, as they’ll be better placed to tailor solutions in support of your compliance challenges. They’ll also likely be more familiar with the commercial pressures, working practices and the software and hardware systems common to your sector
Once you’ve identified the most suitable provider for your business, make contact with them and ensure you inform them of your contract renewal date. This will give them a deadline to work within, ensuring all necessary preparations are made for a seamless handover.
Communicate Your Reasons for Switching to Your New Provider
It’s important that your new provider understands the factors that are prompting your decision to switch. It’s also equally vital that the new provider explains what they’ll do differently, and demonstrates their proficiency so that you can be convinced of the value of the new partnership will bring.
For example, if your current provider is struggling to manage your IT due to limited specialisations, make sure your new one has the skills and accreditations to plug these ‘knowledge gaps.’ Ask about the technical accreditations they hold, as well as any vendor partnerships in order to verify that they know how to support the technology you’re working with.
Similarly, make sure your new provider can meet your expectations in terms of response and resolution times, particularly if this is a motivating factor in your decision to switch. Ask if they’re willing to make response time commitments in their service level agreement, and request details of average issue resolution timeframes.
Being frank and forthcoming about where your current provider is going wrong will help your new one take proactive steps to ensure they meet your expectations.
Gather the Information Your New Provider Will Need to Manage Your IT
Your new IT provider will need certain information and login credentials in order to effectively manage your IT infrastructure. They’ll likely make a request for any specific details they need, which might include:
- Server administrator logins
- Firewall/Router administrator logins
- Web Hosting Service logins
- Web Domain Registrar Login
- Software login credentials for both site-hosted and cloud-hosted assets (Admin-level)
Your existing provider should have made all of this information available to you when they changed these login credentials at the beginning of your relationship with them. If not then you or your current provider will have to make a request for this information before onboarding can begin.
At this point you might also want to consider other information that will be useful to your new provider. A network diagram will allow them to quickly learn the layout and finer details of your infrastructure, so make this available if you have one. It can also be beneficial to create a full list of devices that you want covered by your new support contract, as well as details of users that enjoy special access privileges. If any remote work devices currently fall outside the scope of your support arrangement, then make sure these are added to your support inventory as a priority.
Lastly, make sure software license documents, user manuals, warranty docs and other information pertinent to the management of your IT is readily available should it be required.
Have a Full IT Audit Carried Out
Your new provider will need to gain an understanding of your network layout, the devices that operate within it, and your cyber security needs, before they can start managing your infrastructure. This understanding can be achieved by your new provider performing a comprehensive network audit, which many providers undertake as standard practice during their onboarding process.
If this isn’t offered by default, kindly request one. Your new MSP will work with you to create a report that considers your network in its current state of play, highlighting any vulnerabilities and deficiencies present. This in turn, will allow your new provider to draw up a list of improvement actions that can be swiftly implemented to improve network performance, reliability and security.
Serve Notice to Your Current Provider and Inform Your Staff
Examine your current IT support contract and serve your notice to your existing IT provider in line with your obligations. Thirty or ninety days are common notice periods. Observing your contractual commitments here is the best course of action as it avoids the possibility of legal action being taken against your business, and should keep the termination amicable and cooperative.
Once a handover date has been established, let your employees know about the changes that are underway. Provide details of how the new support structures will work and make contact numbers and escalation procedures for your new provider readily available. If possible, find an opportunity to introduce your new provider to your team face-to face. This will help foster engagement, and will put a human face to the IT support team managing your business’s IT.
While switching IT support provider can be a daunting prospect, your new provider will orchestrate most of the process and ensure your IT infrastructure remains secure and operational throughout the handover. By following the simple steps listed above you can facilitate a smooth and swift transition of IT support provider, and ensure your business gets the standard of IT support it deserves.
SolCo IT Support Reading
Based in Reading, Solution Consultants provides IT Support, Telecoms, and Cloud solutions for SMEs across the Thames Valley. We get to know your business, challenges, and goals and deploy scalable and agile technology solutions that make a real difference.
We specialise in simplifying IT, making valuable technology more accessible than ever before. We believe technology has the power to transform your business and open access to new markets.