Signs It’s Time to Break up with Your IT Provider
When dealing with managed services, it’s often comfortable to assume that your IT Helpdesk is already the best there is. Unfortunately, such romantic notions are undercut by the massive changes in network management that have taken place in general security management, storage protection and much more. The relationship between a company and its IT provider is a vital part of the company’s roadmap and operational strategy, so it’s not a surprise to hear that you need to choose yours carefully. After all, your network and infrastructure are the heartbeat of your organization, and your IT services provider is the gatekeeper. If you’ve been noticing some strain on your relationship with your IT provider – whether it’s a managed services provider, a break/fix provider, etc. – it may be time to move on. Here are a few signs it’s time to break up with your IT provider:
Your provider’s service levels are not up to snuff.
Maybe you recently experienced a major service outage or find that you not-so-conveniently have to work around confusing and interrupting maintenance schedules during work hours. You’re constantly frustrated and don’t feel like you are receiving the level of support that was agreed to – both verbally and as part of your Service Level Agreement (SLA). Your SLA should clearly indicate the uptime standard (e.g. 99.995% availability) as well as repercussions to any breaches in the contract (for example, service credits) and associated RPOs if disaster recovery is involved.
Your network and computers used to work well, but not anymore.
Your IT provider may have used best practices and standards when they installed your equipment and software, which is why they probably started out working well. But they also require proactive maintenance and continual updates using best practices to keep everything running in an optimal state for as long as possible.
They aren’t looking out for you.
When you have an issue with an application or your equipment, they tell you to call the vendor directly. They let you be the middle man and deal with topics that are difficult to understand unless you’re a professional in the IT industry. They let your licenses and certificates expire, only realizing it when something breaks.
Communication is lacking – and sometimes nonexistent.
The key to any successful relationship is communication. Without it, there’s no chance for success. You may be unhappy with your IT service provider if you find that you don’t hear from your Client Relationship Manager often or only ever reach their voicemail. If you call into the provider’s Help Desk with an urgent issue and notice the call gets routed to a cell phone (or doesn’t get picked up at all), it’s time to take a step back and think about your relationship. A successful IT provider will be attentive to your needs – both urgent and ongoing – and keep in constant communication with you to ensure you feel the level of support you require on a daily basis.
They won’t give you straight answers.
Your network is always slow and they say they’re working on it, but they can’t ever give you a reason why it’s happening. Worse yet, the problem isn’t getting any better. They can’t explain why all the data wasn’t on the backup, but when you ask for proof that the backup is working now they simply say “trust us”. They tell you a problem is another vendor’s fault, but they can’t give you the data that forces the vendor to step up.
They want you to solve THEIR problems with YOUR money.
The server is running slow? Replace it. The network is slow? Upgrade the firewall. Every time you want to talk about an issue, the solution is their latest “upsell”.
Plain and simple – you’ve outgrown them.
Speaking of growing in your business, if you’re smart you’re already thinking ahead to the future. You have a 3 or 5-year plan in motion and expect positive growth in the coming years. But can your IT provider handle that? Can it handle dozens (or even hundreds) of new user accounts and corresponding data increases? Can it handle evolving technology and adding and supporting new application sets? As your business grows, can your provider connect you to counterparties around the world and make your workflow more efficient? If the answer to these questions is “no,” then it’s time to say goodbye and identify a true partner that can complement your business and grow with you.
A true IT business partner is someone who understands your strengths, balances your weaknesses and puts your needs above all others. Can you say that about your current IT provider? If not, it’s probably time to have the talk