5 Things That Affect IT Onboarding Timelines
You are close to signing up with an IT support provider. You may be feeling a combination of things: excited that you are almost there, worried about turning over your IT to an outsider, stressed that you are spending money to have someone else manage your technology infrastructure, and anxious to get going.
We get it. It’s a lot.
As a managed IT support provider, Kelser has talked with many customers in the same position as you. We understand the excitement and stress you are feeling.
In this article, I’ll give you an idea of what the onboarding timeline looks like and explain the factors that can affect it.
After reading this article, you’ll have answers to some of the questions running through your head and will feel confident that you’ve made the right decision for your organization.
Let’s get to it!
How Long Does It Take Before A New IT Provider Is Fully Supporting Your Organization?
Every IT infrastructure has its own unique challenges and quirks.
While several factors can affect an IT provider’s onboarding timeline, the typical IT onboarding process takes from 30-45 days. In many cases, it takes a lot less time. In rare cases, for instance, if you want to push it out due to business demands, it could take a little bit more time.
Work with your provider to understand their estimated onboarding timeline and explain the timing that works best for your organization.
What Factors Can Affect The IT Onboarding Timeline?
Many different factors can affect the onboarding timeline. Some of these also impact the cost of service. Here are 5 of the ones we most often see:
1. Number Of Users & Devices
One of the biggest factors that affect IT onboarding timelines is the number of users and devices being supported.
It makes sense, right? The global and remote nature of today’s workforce means that many users have multiple devices (laptops, tablets, phones, etc.) that need to be managed and supported. The more people and devices involved in the process, the more complicated onboarding gets and the longer it takes.
2. Number & Geographic Location Of Facilities
Supporting one physical location is much simpler than supporting multiple locations.
If your organization has a small staff and is physically located in the same facility, onboarding will likely be relatively straightforward.
If you have a large workforce dispersed among multiple sites (domestic or international) that need to interact and share documents, onboarding may be more complicated. Who needs access to the shared files? Should access be limited? Do some documents (like your engineering design specs) need special protections?
Think of it this way. You could own one freestanding grocery store - easy onboarding. You could own a network of grocery stores that each has its own dedicated equipment but needs to be able to communicate with other sites around the clock, it’s more complicated.
3. Complexity Of IT Environment
The complexity of your IT environment is another factor in your onboarding timeline. The current condition, age, and customization of your IT infrastructure also can affect the onboarding timeline.
If your current provider has put in place some customized applications to help you address regulatory or compliance requirements, that could make onboarding a little bit more complicated. You may use specialized or legacy software that is no longer supported, but that integrates with specific business processes.
If you use standard applications and current devices that have been managed, patched, and updated regularly, that should shorten the onboarding timeline.
If you are operating with older servers, firewalls, and devices (desktops, laptops, etc.) that haven't been patched and managed, your onboarding timeline may be a little bit longer. For example, if you are still running Windows XP operating systems on your devices, we will likely recommend upgrading all of the operating systems to minimize security risks.
If your server capacity is maxed out and can’t support the current and projected number of users, that issue may need to be addressed prior to onboarding.
4. Contract Scope
When you hire a contractor for a home repair, the more complex the job or the more things you need, the longer your project timeline will be. The same is true for IT onboarding.
The scope of IT services being provided will impact the amount of time it takes to onboard your organization.
Some providers offer options while others provide one, comprehensive package of services. Or maybe you need project work in addition to receiving managed IT support. The scope of your contract directly correlates to the amount of time needed for onboarding.
Believe it or not, one of the most common holdups to IT onboarding is scheduling.
Often, this is driven by a customer’s request to hold off on onboarding until the business enters a slow period. Rather than disrupt the organization during a busy time (like tax season, for example,) arrangements can be made to begin the onboarding process at a more convenient future date.
Other times, just coordinating schedules to conduct an on-site visit can get complicated. We understand that business is your first priority and work with you to schedule visits and upgrades at your convenience.
Your sense of urgency is a key component that takes priority when planning the onboarding timeline.
How Can You Prepare For IT Onboarding?
The best way to prepare for IT onboarding and to ensure that the transition goes smoothly is to understand what is operating in your environment and make sure everything is patched and updated before moving forward.
By reading this article, you have a realistic understanding of how long the onboarding process may take. You also understand the things that can affect the timeline: number of users & devices, number & geographic location of facilities, complexity of IT environment, contract scope, and scheduling.
With this understanding, you will go into the onboarding process with your eyes wide open and the confidence of understanding the factors that may influence your organization’s onboarding timeline.
When you’re preparing to work with an outside IT support provider, most will want to visit your site for a deep discovery visit. This is when the provider sends an engineer to your site for a first-hand look at your infrastructure. Find out what that will be like and how to best prepare by reading this article: Your IT Provider Site Visit: What Is It? How Can You Prepare?
Wondering what managed IT support includes and how much it costs? Read this article for answers to those questions and more: What Is Managed IT? What’s Included? What Does It Cost?
Not sure if managed IT is right for businesses like yours? Read this article: Is Managed IT Support A Good Solution For Small & Medium Businesses?
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