With so many new startups launching around the world, particularly focused on online business, having the right IT support can make or break your company. IT support is an essential component to the smooth running of your business. For small businesses, you may benefit from having a staff member who is also adequately proficient in system administration and networking (read: turning it off and then on again). Other small businesses who struggle to find such a so-called “unicorn” may find they struggle to justify the full-time salary of an in-house system admin. Outsourcing your IT support to an outside company can be the most cost-efficient solution to having dedicated IT support available as and when you need it. But how do you choose one that suits your particular needs?
Should you pay more for a local company?
Remote assistance is a beautiful thing… Being able to call your tech support helpdesk at a whim, and have them remotely access your computer to solve your issues for you as you sit back and watch – it truly is a modern marvel. But an IT support company in London can’t help you if you’re based in Barcelona! There are plenty of cheap IT support companies based all over the world, but sometimes the extra money each month is worth it for a local company that is able to travel to your location within half an hour to provide deskside support.
Choosing a local IT support company also means that you are able to meet with them in person to discuss your ongoing IT strategy, not to mention that they can come collect any faulty devices or hardware for fixing. As a local company, you’ll also be in a better position to judge their reputability amongst their other locally based clients.
Do you like them on a personal level?
You’d think that how likeable they are as people wouldn’t factor into your decision at all, but an IT support service with a smile can be what turns a frustrating IT experience into a reasonably pleasant (or even educational!) one. Your IT support technicians should be approachable; at the end of the day, the relationship you have with them needs to be based on trust. They’re the ones managing your network and passwords after all!
Ideally, you should eventually see your IT support team as members of your own organisation. They need to work well with all your employees to ensure that any queries or issues get solved as soon as possible. Being on good terms with your IT support company will also mean that they are just as eager to have your business enjoying the best possible service as you are.
Do you agree with the pricing model?
Different IT support companies will have different pricing models based on how they like to work. There is no one-size-fits-all and different businesses and different support companies will have different invoicing preferences.
Fixed fee pricing plans can help companies to stick to a budget, so that there are no surprises in their monthly invoice. Paying a flat monthly fee for a fully managed IT support service offers both companies some financial stability in that regard. Relying on a single company to manage your entire IT infrastructure also ensures that that one company knows your entire network inside out, allowing quicker solutions to any problems.
In terms of value for money though, it could go either way. You may have months where it seems you’re having to phone up your support every other day for this, that or the other. Similarly, you may have months where you barely remember that you even have an IT support company and wonder what you’re paying them for each month. For larger companies with networks to match, having a company on retainer is almost always recommended as you never know when you might need them. There are also plenty of preventative tasks that are being undertaken so, although it seems that you’re never having to contact them for anything, they’re the ones in the background ensuring that it stays that way. Nobody has time to be on the phone with tech support everyday!
Companies on a tighter budget or who require less support, however, may prefer a “pay as you go” IT support plan. You only pay out when you actually need them. Though, due to lack of a real commitment or agreement in place, you may end up having to wait longer for someone to become available to help you. This kind of model may be more cost-efficient for less dependent companies, but there’s certainly less stability in the service too. Would your business be able to tolerate a two hour or even two day interruption period?