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So, you run your own business, or you are a director of the department responsible for IT, or you are an IT Manager: either way, you have outsourced your support to an IT Support business. So many of you have outsourced – and focusing your attentions on the running of the business, rather than the tech supporting it… good call!

As part of our offering as a Virtual IT Director, we often get asked how to go about changing support businesses, as our clients often feel that they have no choice but to stay with who they have used – but things are just “not working” for them any more.

The problem is, that many of our clients started working with a support provider a number of years ago and some of the following have happened:

  • Their systems are no longer “up to scratch” – downtime, out of date etc…
  • The relationship with the provider is a reactive one – something breaks, you pick up the phone, log the call and wait for it to be fixed…  not really a proactive relationship is it, and not really the reason why you have outsourced this either!
  • The relationship has broken down – maybe the downtime, reactive-ness (a word?) has led to them feeling unsupported.  Perhaps the supplier has not been able to fix issues, or at least explain them in English (not techie).
  • Things have just changed so much, and the supplier supporting you is not really in your space any more (we often see this with tiny IT Support companies supporting clients who have grown massively…

The thought of changing IT Support companies may be your worst nightmare.

You may not have time to get your head around things, you may not know what you need, you may also feel “tied in” to them.  None of this is a good reason to stay with them though – you know this!

So, some things that we always make sure that our clients have BEFORE they make a move – and trust me, you CAN change suppliers, and it doesn’t have to be stressful:

  1. An asset register – if you have one of these, which clearly documents what you have, it will be easier to move companies as they will have visibility over what they will be covering
  2. Documentation of how your network looks and works – ie. a network diagram, a document outlining your setup etc…
  3. DR plan – critical – so many of our new clients don’t have these.
  4. Understand why you are planning on moving – are you simply moving the issue to another business?
  5. Confidence to just get on and do it!  Trust me, if you plan it right, it can be a move for the better

If you have at least covered points 1-5 above, you will feel in a very strong position to move providers.  I see so often that the reason our new clients have not moved, and the relationship with their provider is so bad / reactive, is that they have put so much power in the hands of the supplier.

It may be that points 1-3 above are in the hands of the supplier – but this is your stuff and you need it in your hands… so ask for it.  If you are refused, there’s something up and I would be very worried.

2012 is on the horizon; don’t start it worrying about your tech – it should be seen and not heard! (Isn’t that why you outsource it?)

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