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Choosing the best IT support partner in Lodi
These days, more and more SMBs are choosing to use IT managed services to take care of their core IT infrastructure. This is both convenient and cost-effective, but you do have to remember that IT managed services companies only take care of everyday tasks. If you need help with ad hoc projects and/or old-school “break/fix” support then you need an IT support partner. With that in mind, here are some tips on choosing an IT support partner in Lodi.
Do as much work as you can before you draw up your shortlist
First of all, you need to define your needs, wants and budget as clearly as you can. Then you need to create an initial long-list of potential candidates. Then you need to bring this list down to a manageable number of serious contenders. Then and only then can you start the process of requesting proposals and getting into their details.
Usually the most pragmatic way to approach the filtering process is to do it in manageable stages. Often the best place to start is to have a quick double-check of the IT support companies on your long-list to confirm that they do actually meet your basic criteria.
For example, if you specified you wanted an IT support partner in Lodi then any IT support company on your list should ideally be legally and physically based in Lodi (physically meaning both their staff and their infrastructure) or at least near Lodi (for example, in Sacramento). This means that everyone’s on the same page regarding applicable laws and legal jurisdiction. It also means that everyone is within reasonable traveling distance of each other, which facilitates personal meetings and on-site support.
You might want to be cautious of any IT support company which has a physical base in Lodi (or near Lodi), but is incorporated elsewhere. The chances are that they will have a clause in their contract which says that the applicable laws are the ones in force in their legal base and that the courts in that state have jurisdiction.
Put together a meaningful request for proposal
If you have defined your needs, wants and budget clearly, then it should be fairly easy to create a request for proposal. In fact, if you find it difficult, it’s probably a strong hint that you need to go back to step one and review your needs, wants and budget.
The key point to note is that most IT support companies are going to have a good idea of what the average customer is likely to want to know and will probably include certain items of information even if you don’t think to ask for them. They will not, however, be able to read your mind and think to include anything specific to you unless you tell them to. In other words, make sure request for proposal covers everything you want to know fully and clearly (and preferably succinctly).
Ideally, you should draw up a template for a response, or at least ask very specific questions as this can make it a whole lot easier to compare answers fairly and consistently.
Create a scoring system for the proposals you receive
Even though you will (presumably) have sent out the same request for proposal to everyone on your short-list, you are still probably going to see some degree of variation in the responses you receive because IT support companies, like people, are individuals. You therefore need a robust system for analyzing and scoring the proposals you receive.
Your scoring system needs to reflect your priorities. For example, would you pay extra for a guarantee of faster service in an emergency or would you prefer a lower standard price and just accept the fact that, if there is an emergency, you’ll have to pay extra to get someone on-site quickly?
This may sound like stating the obvious, but when you’re analyzing the proposals, make sure that you actually understand them. It’s basic human nature that you may start a job filled with energy, good intentions and caffeine, but if you push yourself too hard to get the job finished the result is that by the time you get to the end of it, you’re essentially running on empty.
Give yourself time to do the job properly. Remember that the differences will probably be in the details and you need to be clear on them to be able to make an effective decision.
Speak to a company representative in person before you sign anything
Once you’ve found some attractive proposals, make sure that you speak to a company representative before you make any final decisions. Communication and culture fit are both essential to any effective working partnership, so you need to be comfortable that you’re dealing with the right people for your organization.
If you’d like to speak to a reputable IT support partner in Lodi, please click here now to contact Aperio.IT.
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