In case you haven’t heard, the US economy isn’t exactly booming. Today’s economic climate has driven companies of all sizes to outsource their IT infrastructure in order to focus on their core business. It makes good economic sense and frees businesses up to focus their energy and resources on growth.
IT managers at companies, both large and small, are increasingly overwhelmed trying to implement and maintain a complex environment of voice and data networks that must support multiple applications often spread over multiple locations in the U.S. and abroad. Maintaining the level of expertise and tools in-house to meet the challenge of managing the IT infrastructure adds costs and defocuses valuable resources.
However, not all IT outsourcing companies and IT managed service providers are created equal. Much of the difference comes down to customer service and the contract. Save yourself money and big headaches by asking the right questions before you sign the contract.
- What is the response time in case of an emergency?
- What happens in case of an outage or other disruption?
- How long am I tied in for?
- Who is responsible for managing my account?
- What are the escalation procedures?
- Who within my company can contact the IT provider?
- What are the hours of coverage of the service?
- Are there any arrangements for after hours contact in the case of emergency?
- Is there a service desk provided and what are the hours?
- Does the staff providing the outsourcing service understand my business?
- Is the agreement, and covered services, clearly defined?
- Are services NOT covered, also clearly defined?
- Will the outsourcing services be delivered on-site or remotely?
- How often will the IT staff visit my business on location?
- Can I exit the agreement early if the service levels are not met?
- Does the IT services provider have the right to terminate the contract early and under what circumstances?
- Do I still need to deal with hardware/software suppliers, or will the outsourcing provider take on this responsibility?
- How do I get updates on the services being provided?
- Do you have a list of clients I can contact for a reference?