Dealing with IT suppliers and service providers is challenging for many businesses and many have concerns over reliability, security, cost as well as other factors. The key to hiring or dealing with a supplier is to do the research and leg work up front to ensure you know who you are dealing with, and the supplier you engage can service the needs of your business.
To help guide you down the road to a successful and beneficial relationship we’ve put together some handy hints on what areas you should be thinking about and questions to ask suppliers when first engaging:
· Treat the process like hiring a new staff member so invite the companies you are considering to an interview so you can get a feel for what working with them will be like.
· Have a look at their website and what presence they have online i.e. do they write for publications? Are they represented on industry bodies? See what other customers they have and in what industries, to ensure that they are supporting businesses similar to your own.
· Always check at least 3 references from past and present clients. Don’t take the suppliers word for it and ask for references for similar sized businesses in similar industries to your own.
· Evaluate the company not the sales rep. Don’t base your decision on how friendly or professional the sales rep is, instead compare the relevant factors, terms, cost, response times and customer references.
1. Do you have experience with businesses like mine?
2. Do you understand my business and can you work with me to meet my unique needs?
3. Are you flexible and scalable enough to cater for short-term peaks and long-term business needs?
4. Do you offer proactive and responsive customer service in language I will understand?
5. How do you deal with an escalating problem?
6. What level of reporting and communication do you provide?
7. What level of service guarantees can I expect and what happens when those are not met?
8. If you were awarded the work, what would be the first task you would perform?
While some of these tips and questions may seem obvious, more times than not most of these issues are never considered up front. These tips and questions will ultimately help a business pre-qualify potential suppliers so they can analyse up front if there is potential for a long term partnership, which is what every business is looking for.
Geoff is a highly experienced and skilled Technical Solutions Strategist and director at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created stable systems both for small, medium and large businesses in the UK and Australia. He has helped businesses understand and guided them through technology challenges leading to the reliable and effective IT solutions that the businesses had envisioned.
Dedicated to creating unique IT solutions for Queensland businesses, the Surety IT team pride themselves on instilling trust and confidence in every solution they design for their clients. Experts in IT managed services and support, every solution they design is made to suit specific needs, enabling clients to work smarter, not harder. They understand technology and have guided businesses through technology challenges to assist them in building a suitable solution together.