Given how much businesses rely on their technology, outsourcing IT operations can reduce costs and drive growth without adding risk. But many executives find themselves facing so many options that it sometimes seems impossible to choose the right one. Those who lack the technical knowledge themselves are often driven by price, but that’s far from the most important thing either.
Here are eight things you should always look for when evaluating potential tech partners:
#1. Industry-specialized guidance
When it comes to any business-to-business partnership, it’s critical that you steer away from the companies that claim to have a one-size-fits-all solution. There’s no such thing as a solution that can accommodate every need, just as there aren’t any technology strategists who can truly claim to understand every industry vertical and business need. You need a partner with a proven track record in your field, whether that’s healthcare, legal, or anything else.
#2. Alignment with company culture
It’s not just your industry that’s important to consider when establishing the right partnerships. You also need to think about your company culture to determine whether a potential partner is a good match. For example, innovative startups are often much readier than established businesses to adopt new technologies. Your tech partner must be prepared to accommodate your business culture and drive positive change without trying to get you to start from scratch.
#3. Ability to accommodate future growth
One of the most common reasons for outsourcing IT in the first place is to better scale with demand. But that’s not to say every tech partner will be able to accommodate future growth. That’s why some specialize in working with small businesses, often within certain industries. You need to choose a tech partner who will be able to address your long-term needs. If the time does come where you outgrow their services, a reliable tech provider should have an exit strategy ready.
#4. Long-term strategic planning
A tech partner who tries to rush you into the deployment of a dozen new services is a big red flag. A good partner isn’t just a vendor trying to sell you a service while also upselling and cross-selling at every opportunity they get. Instead, they’re long-term strategic partners who are heavily invested in the planning stage to help you achieve alignment between business and technology and avoid adding undue risk to your organization.
#5. Understanding of the business side
To achieve technology alignment, a tech partner needs to understand the business challenges as well. They should be aware of current trends and limitations and how their solutions can fit in with your business goals. After all, their profitability as a business depends on customers just like you. That means they have a vested interest in choosing the tech solutions that meet your business requirements.
#6. High service availability
The costs of downtime continue to skyrocket as businesses grow more dependent on their IT. For example, when major cloud provider Amazon experienced a major outage lasting only a few hours a couple of years back, it cost the economy an estimated $150 million. While a small amount of scheduled downtime is usually to be expected, a high service availability, as stated in the service level agreement (SLA) is one of the most important parameters to look for.
#7. Excellent communication skills
The stereotypical “IT guy” paints an image of someone who spews out technical jargon with reckless abandon, utterly confusing everyone around him. Sometimes, that’s not far from the truth. Any potential tech partner should be able to translate the jargon into plain English and specifications into benefits. They should be willing to cordially and transparently communicate the limitations too to help you make informed business decisions.
#8. Impeccable security track record
When you’re placing your mission-critical data in the hands of a third party, it’s understandable if you’re a little anxious. But it’s also important to remember that a great tech provider can offer a level of security that’s near impossible for smaller organizations to achieve on their own. You should always conduct an in-depth risk assessment to evaluate the track record of a potential tech provider before you even think about signing a contract.
Wood Dragon IT provides customized technology services and expert guidance based on the unique needs of your business. Call us today to learn more about the solutions and services you can expect from a partnership with us.