The latest data shows that more than 60% of the total outsourcing market is composed of IT workers, as reported by CreditDonkey.com. When making the decision to outsource various services, most businesses begin with IT work.
This is especially true for small business owners since it is not financially feasible to have a dedicated, full-time IT professional in-house. Additionally, most business owners and team members do not have the expertise needed to successfully maintain company software, computer systems, and technology. However, while these services can provide needed expertise at an affordable rate, hiring the wrong professional or company can have frustrating results. Before outsourcing your IT services, certain considerations must be taken into account.
Establish your budget and goals
The price of managed IT services depends on your needs. While some companies charge hourly (somewhere between $75-$125 on average), others charge on a per device basis. Depending on your needs and devices, individual charges can range between $15-$40 per switch, and $100-$400 per server. To ensure that your outsourced IT services meet your needs and budget, experts from Taylored Systems recommend establishing both in advance. Prior to calling any company, it is crucial that you define exactly what you want and need, as well as how much you can afford. Not knowing these two things in advance can lead to spending too much, hiring a company that doesn’t meet all of your needs, or contracting for services that are unnecessary.
Reach out to colleagues for trusted opinions and reviews
Although online reviews can be helpful, they can often be misleading or inaccurate. While trusting the wrong advice from online reviews isn’t a big deal in daily life (e.g. picking a restaurant for dinner), it can have negative consequences for your business. Instead of solely relying on the internet for reviews, reach out to business colleagues to explore which IT professionals and companies they would recommend. By doing this, you can ask them specific questions to see if your needs would be met by those they recommend. Alternatively, you can visit area networking group meetings to find trusted, local IT professionals. Often times, following one of these recommendations can help you (and potentially your colleague) get referral/networking group discounts.
Inquire about demos and free trials
To really be confident that an IT company is the right fit for you, take advantage of every free demo or free trial offered. When you can interact with services firsthand, and see an IT team at work, you will have a precise understanding of how they do business. You can also assess their customer service, and their ability to solve problems and answer questions. If an IT business does not openly advertise a free demo, inquire about whether or not they offer a trial period or satisfaction guarantee. When possible, it is best to fully understand exactly what a company offers, and how they fulfill their services prior to signing a contract.
The move to managed IT services is a big relief for many business owners. Despite the urge to quickly outsource challenging tasks that get in the way, be detailed in defining your needs and price point, and about researching companies. When expectations are clear for both you and an IT organization, you are much more likely to experience positive results.