- Finding a reliable IT support solution can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, but you just need to know what to look for.
- In this article, we’ll share the 5 key pillars you should consider when exploring potential new IT support providers.
- We’ll look at contract flexibility, affordability, speed of response, and the difference between break/fix solutions and Managed Service Providers.
How much time do you really spend on your IT support every month?
Whether it’s fixing a simple error message or just turning it off and on again, managing your own IT can quickly eat up a lot of your spare time.
The solution is simple: partner up with an IT support company, or MSP, and let them do the hard work for you.
But how do you know what to look for in an IT support company? And which ones are worth their salt?
Fear not, because we’ve compiled the definitive list of the 5 pillars of IT support.
Pillar #1: Flexibility
One of the things that can be unnerving about signing up for some IT support agreements is the seemingly iron-clad, multi-year, contracts you’re sometimes forced to sign up to.
Any IT support company worth its salt won’t lock you in to long-term contracts from which you can never escape. Why? Because it shouldn’t be about locking customers into contracts for as long as possible, but rather delivering a quality service the customer wants to pay for.
With flexible, fixed-term arrangements with the ability to make changes if it better suits your business, you’ll feel like the IT support company has your best interests at heart — and not just their bottom line.
It’s also essential to keep an eye out for contracts which auto-renew without your knowledge.
You wouldn’t be the first company to pay for something you weren’t really using, so ensure the IT support provider is clear and transparent about renewals. Ideally, it should be you asking them how to renew – not the other way around.
Pillar #2: Proactivity
When your business is built on your IT infrastructure, every second counts.
That means that, when something goes wrong with your IT systems, you need it fixed at soon as possible.
When this happens, you generally have a choice of how best to address the IT support issues you’re facing:
- A break/fix provider, who will respond to and fix your problem on a one-off basis and charge accordingly.
- A Managed Service Provider (MSP), who is essentially an extension of your own team and can therefore respond proactively and will require a lower immediate cost. Learn more from our Plain English Guide.
Because an MSP is familiar with your business, (more on this shortly), and because the cost is spread across the year, the MSP will usually be able to fix the problem more quickly, more efficiently, and with less of a direct outlay to your business.
The fact that an MSP works closely with your business also means they’ll be able to proactively pre-empt potential IT support problems before they happen – such as a server reaching the end of its useful life, software renewals on the horizon, and so on.
Pillar #3: Affordability
As we’ve just touched on, cost is always an important consideration for any IT support arrangement.
But the pillar of affordability isn’t just about how much you pay for the service each month. It’s important to have a fairly priced IT support agreement which reflects the value you receive, but a good MSP will also help you manage your overall business budgets, too – or at least ensure that IT is properly balanced among everything else.
For example, as part of the IT support agreements we deliver at Get Support, all of our clients benefit from the unique IT Director service.
In short, this is like having a dedicated IT Director on your team, but without the salary price tag. We’ll sit down with you and plan out your IT budget for the year to come, ensuring you’re spending in the right places — and avoiding the wrong ones.
Pillar #4: Expertise
“Measure twice, cut once”.
It’s a phrase which might seem out of place in the context of IT support, but the underlying logic very much applies.
You see, there are plenty of options out there when it comes to IT support — with plenty of convincing reasons to give them a try. But, at least in our humble opinion, experience has to be one of the most compelling.
The analogy about measuring twice really refers to what happens if you choose an inexperienced IT support provider. The job may get done, eventually, yes — but at what cost? It could take twice the amount of time versus an experienced team. Or they may simply be unable to assist, meaning you have to call in someone else and waste even more time.
A quality MSP will never leave you in a mess like this. The combined experience of a team like the IT experts at Get Support means that there are very few IT support situations that we haven’t faced just yet. In most cases, we’ll be able to deploy fixes and get you up and running again before you know it.
That’s the true value of experience and expertise.
Pillar #5: Partnership
Earlier, we talked about the differences between a break/fix provider and a Managed Service Provider.
At first glance, it may seem like the biggest difference is the fact that one of these is an ad hoc solution while the other is an ongoing arrangement.
That’s true, but in reality, the biggest difference between these two actually grows out of this fact. What we mean is that, while a break/fix solution might be good in a pinch, they’re going to suffer all the same drawbacks as bringing in an entirely new provider. If your problem is at all complicated or specific to your setup, they’ll need to take the time to familiarise themselves with your business, your security setup, how many users you have, potential downtime, and so on.
An MSP, on the other hand, has all this stuff covered by design.
That’s because, as time goes on, you and your MSP become partners of a sort. They understand the specifics of your business, they understand the history of any issues you’ve faced before, and they understand your overall goals as a business.
Because of this shared history, an MSP is almost always a better investment for most small businesses. This is the exact approach we take here at Get Support – to work alongside our clients as a partner and to truly understand their business so that we can react faster, solve problems more efficiently, and help businesses do what matters most: grow.
Want an IT support company that ticks all these boxes?
You’ve probably guessed where all this is leading, so let’s cut to the chase. At Get Support, we’re incredibly proud to offer an IT support service which fulfils all five of these pillars, and a lot more besides.
If this is the first time you’ve visited us at Get Support, we’d encourage you to get in touch so we can have a no-obligation chat about your IT solutions. Our friendly team is waiting to hear from you, so give us a bell on the phone via 01865 59 4000 or take 30 seconds to fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you.
You know what they say: this could be the start of a wonderful friendship.