“Technology is no longer a function within a business which operates largely in isolation. It is at the heart of everything a company does and, when it goes wrong it affects an organisation’s bottom line, its relationship with customers and its wider reputation”. Jon Dowie KPMG
A smoothly running IT system is a key part of your business, but unless your business is IT, it is unlikely that you have the expertise to fix it if it fails.
Perhaps some kind of IT support would be useful? But what would be the right support? What do you need and who should you engage?
There’s so much choice and what’s on offer can differ greatly from one provider to the next.
And expectations of a contract also vary. So how do you choose?
There are IT support contracts and IT maintenance contracts. Both are taken out with an IT company to look after your business’ IT infrastructure. Often described as a type of insurance policy; you pay a fee to the support company, either monthly or annually, they give you the peace of mind that in the event of an IT problem, they’ll be there to fix it.
But it’s a bit more hands on than insurance where you simply pay a premium and make a claim if you need to. An IT support company needs to understand your business requirements, and the IT systems and infrastructure you have in place.
A good relationship between you and the support company should be proactive; guiding you in best IT practice; presenting solutions to help get the most out of your IT infrastructure.
What’s the difference between a support contract and a maintenance contract?
In essence a support contract involves you paying the provider to resolve IT related problems as and when they arise; either remotely at the end of a phone, or through a site visit. It is fairly reactive in nature.
A maintenance contract differs in its proactive approach. The IT provider is expected to do a little more for their money, including tasks to ensure your IT system is maintained in good order.
Both contract types would also refer to any vendors contracts in place, as they offer product specific support and unlimited product knowledge.
To help decide the level of support you need for your IT system, consider the following:
1. The days & hours of the day you will need cover.
2. Whether you need only remote support or onsite as well. Remember not all IT tasks can be carried out at a distance.
3. Which areas of your IT Infrastructure will need covering?
Physical hardware; Servers, PCs, Laptops, Tablets, Printers etc.
IT Infrastructure; cabling, routers & switches
4. Does your business want just support or do you need a level of maintenance?
5. If maintenance is required, what level will suit your business?
6. What is your budget for IT support?
Once you’ve answered your questions you’ll be in a position to discuss your needs with potential suppliers.
With your business effectively taking on board a ready-made IT department it’s important to give it as much consideration as if you were recruiting new employees.
Ask some questions and do some research. Do they have enough years of experience, depth of knowledge and relationships with vendors to fulfil the role? And what about their other clients – are they satisfied with the service they get?
Selecting the right IT support company and package will allow you to focus your business on the core skills that will drive your business forward.
For a fast, cost effective and efficient IT support services package tailored to your business’ specific needs please call the Direct Voice and Data team on free phone 0808 165 86 86 now.