Whether you’re a small business or a large one, how you spend your budget with the help of your IT service provider is important.
Not only do you want value for money, you also need to cover the bases when it comes to security as well general and specialist IT support, including cloud services.
Ideally, you want an IT service provider that is looking ahead with you and has a plan for your business as you move towards 2020.
Here are 10 important questions to ask your current provider:
1. Can your IT service provider meet your 2020 business needs?
IT budgeting of any kind doesn’t work unless you have a road map ahead; a plan of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there.
While your business might have a clear idea of what it wants to do in 2020, it also needs to do this against a backdrop of IT that can deliver against business objectives, and strong cyber security. You’re IT service provider should have an implicit understanding of your business goals and have in place a strategy that tailors with your needs.
2. Is some of your technology holding your business back?
Most businesses that have adequate technology in place will tend to hang onto it until the last possible moment. That’s largely because they have invested significant time in training their staff and spent money to implement the system in the first place.
There comes a moment, however, when that legacy system is going to start holding your business back and may even contribute to a failure to reach future goals. Your IT service provider should have a clear understanding of what function your systems perform and be able to offer solutions should you need to change or upgrade.
3. What tech will your business need to replace or upgrade as you head into 2020?
This is a key IT budgeting theme for businesses that are looking to grow. They must look at the cost of moving to a new system as well as the impact of any delay in delivering their services while it beds in and the time and effort involved in training staff.
It means being sure you are making changes that are needed and will be profitable rather than jumping onto the latest tech trend or investing in systems purely to solve an operational pain without fully understanding the wider business impact.
4. What new technology is on the horizon and will it benefit your business?
There’s no doubt that the rate of development in IT services has grown considerably over the last few years. Picking the right one for your business is a major challenge.
These systems will need to be integrated to work across all areas of your business and that will take time and planning. Your IT service provider should have a handle on all the options available, what it takes to implement each and the impact on your business.
5. What is the cost of migrating to the cloud for your business?
One of the biggest changes in recent years is the availability and power of cloud services. These have offered digital transformation on a grand scale for many businesses – employees can work on the move, collaborate remotely and have instant access to updates. In addition, sales teams can get hold of vital data on their laptops or smartphones, working from home with access to the right tools is not only viable but desirable as overall productivity will improve.
But swapping to the cloud and migrating all your services takes time and money to achieve. Your IT service provider should be able to recommend a range of options to ensure the best fit for your needs at a cost you can afford.
6. Are your disaster recovery solutions fit for purpose?
No business likes to think that their systems will crash, or data might be lost. In our highly technological world, however, it remains a real risk. The disaster recovery solutions that your IT service provider has in place may not be required right now but they are an imperative part of your business you cannot afford to ignore.
You need to be confident, however, that your IT company has all the right processes in place and can get your business back up and running quickly if something happens. Your business continuity plan should be tested regularly and your IT service provider should evidence this.
7. What cyber security risks will businesses face in 2020?
That brings us to one of the incontrovertible challenges of our digital age. Any business that operates online faces numerous cyber security risks. It’s important your IT service provider has a solid finger on the pulse of cyber security and understands the threats businesses face as we go into the next decade.
One common risk is ransomware, malware that can take over your IT system and then be used to extort money from your business. Your IT service provider should be able to work with you to make sure that you have the best cyber security policies, procedures and software in place.
8. Do you have access to a cyber security expert who can tailor solutions for your business?
Cyber security for businesses is not a one size fits all solution and many different sectors have their own particular challenges. Your IT service provider needs to have the expertise on board that can deliver real solutions that protect your business. If they do not, your systems and data may be at risk.
9. Where does your IT service provider source its top talent?
There is currently a tech talent shortage and finding the top performers that will support your business is challenging. It’s important to look at how your IT service provider sources its employees, what training they provide and what sort of staff turnover they have.
One way to do this is to explore their culture and how they treat their staff. It’s a general rule that when employees feel valued and are paid appropriately, have a decent work-life balance and opportunity to progress, they are more likely to stick around than go work for someone else. Ultimately you need confidence in the team supporting your IT, and if members of that team change frequently, this will have a detrimental impact on support.
10. What other technology will help drive your business forward in 2020?
Technology takes many forms and your business will need to integrate many types into your growth model as time progresses. It could be something as simple as:
- Moving to new, high tech premises if you are a software company.
- Implementing a brand new sales app that employees can use on the move if you have a large sales force that is out on the road.
- Bringing third-party suppliers in from outside and working with their technology and processes.
Your IT service provider should fully understand your current provision and objectives before they can suggest ways to help improve business processes or develop and integrate robust solutions when you need to adapt.
All these factors should help you determine how you will spend your IT budget in 2020 and what your priorities are going to be. Your IT service provider should be able to work with you to produce a road map and help you implement the changes that may be needed to achieve your goals. It’s important to ask the right questions though.
If you’re not 100% confident you’re partnered with the right IT service provider to take you in to 2020, it’s not too late to change. Contact the team at Cyan Solutions today for an informal chat about your needs.