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Rob Backus

By: Rob Backus on June 10, 2022

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Is It Time To Look For A New IT Provider? (8 Signs To Look For)

IT Support

We all know the signs that it’s time to get a new vehicle or appliance. The warranty is up and you find yourself paying more for repairs and dealing with the uncertainty that it could stop working at any moment. 

That’s all well and good for vehicles and appliances, but how do you know when it’s time to find a new IT provider? 

It’s kind of like evaluating a lawn service. Everything may look fine on the surface, but there may be underlying issues or things you can’t see (like moles or irrigation issues) that leave you feeling dissatisfied and wondering if you are getting the services you need

As a systems engineer at Kelser, I work closely with our customers. I understand the reasons organizations become dissatisfied with their IT providers and I know what it takes to make the relationship work.

In this article, I’ll outline the signs that it might be time to look for a new IT provider. By the time you are done reading, you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether or not to begin the process. And, I’ll leave you with some next steps whether you are ready to start the process of evaluating new IT providers or just looking to measure the effectiveness of your current provider.  

8 Signs That It’s Time To Find A New IT Provider

When you have an effective IT partner, they act as an extension of your organization. Whether you have a small internal IT staff or no internal IT staff, a true IT partner takes care of your business as if it were their own

As with all important relationships, your IT partnership should be based on mutual respect, honesty, and transparency. Here are some signs that the trust has broken down and it might be time to look for a new partner: 

1. Frequent Price Increases

Depending on whether you work with a break/fix provider or a managed services provider, your contract may look different. 

With a break/fix provider, you may pay a retainer with additional fees for each service. Or you may simply pay for each service provided. With a managed services provider, you have an ongoing, proactive relationship that includes things like monitoring and patching devices and servers,  

No matter which solution you choose, if you notice that prices go up every time you turn around, it could be time to reevaluate your options

2. Constant Upselling

There are some IT providers out there, who make you feel like they are always trying to get you to spend money

If they really have the best interest of your organization in mind, they should be able to explain (in English) the specific advantages your organization will realize by investing in the new product they are recommending.  

Whether it will ensure less downtime, make maintenance easier, improve system performance, or enhance security - they should be able to explain it and provide data to back up their recommendation. 

Let’s face it, the relationship with your IT provider needs to be based on trust and if they are always pitching a new solution, you might begin to think they are looking out for their own best interests rather than yours

3. Unsatisfactory Performance 

There is no excuse for people not taking your IT issues seriously.  

When you call the service desk with an IT issue, the response should be quick and accurate. Many IT service providers escalate calls to a level one or two engineer so they can resolve as many issues as possible the first time a customer calls. 

When it is necessary for a service engineer to come on-site, they should arrive promptly, with a positive attitude, and ready to work.  

Whether their service solutions are inadequate, leading to multiple service calls for the same issue, or you feel that your issues aren’t being handled professionally, it might be time to evaluate other options. 

4. Slow Service And Response Time

Understand what your contract calls for in terms of response time. If calls to the service desk go unanswered or if your issues aren’t being resolved within the timeframe outlined in your contract, speak up. If slow response time becomes the norm, that could indicate that your business is no longer a priority to the IT provider. 

Can your business afford the potential for downtime while you wait for service? Do you want to continue to work with someone who doesn’t make you a priority? 

5. Lack Of Proactive Solutions

When you contract with an IT provider, one of the benefits is that you have someone looking out for your best interests

At Kelser, for example, we provide the services of a Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) and Technical Alignment Manager (TAM) to all of our managed IT customers.

We know that managed IT services aren’t right for every organization, but one of the advantages of working with a managed services provider (MSP) is that you have a proactive partner evaluating the latest technology advances and advising you on which ones will best support the successful achievement of your business goals. 

Whether your concern is cybersecurity or business continuity and disaster recovery services, you want to be sure that your business infrastructure is safe, available, and reliable. A proactive IT provider can make sure that happens. 

6. Poor Communication 

Your IT provider needs to be able to explain what they are doing and why in simple terms. In addition to their technical know-how, they also need to have people skills. In other words, the IT provider’s service engineers should be professional in appearance and attitude, especially when visiting your site. 

They need to understand the importance of communicating with users if there will be a delay in service or if they are running late for an appointment. These seemingly small actions help build (or erode) trust over time. 

7. Narrow Focus

Does your IT provider have the breadth and knowledge to handle all of your business IT needs? Do they take the time to get to know your business and your goals

Do they focus on one particular area like cybersecurity or can they provide a  whole suite of IT expertise? Do they understand your industry? 

It’s important to have an IT partner that takes the time to get to know your unique needs, but that also sees the big picture and can make technology recommendations to will position your business for long-term success. 

8. Surprises

Unless you are having a birthday party, nobody wants a surprise. Surprises from your IT provider are no exception. (And, to be perfectly honest, we’ve all been at a surprise party that didn’t go over well either.) 

If you never know what you will get from your IT provider in terms of service, cost, or schedule, you are at a disadvantage. How can you plan for business needs when you can’t rely on your IT provider to provide what you need, when you need it, at a reasonable cost?

What Happens Next? 

After reading this article you are armed with all of the information you need to decide whether or not to find a new IT provider. What happens next is entirely your call

You may be ready at this point to evaluate providers or you may not be quite at that point. The decision is yours and you need to really take a hard look at what you need and the role IT can play in successfully achieving your short- and long-term business goals. 

If You Are Ready To Work With A New IT Provider…. 

There are many IT companies that provide a suite of managed services for customers.

At Kelser, we offer a full complement of managed IT solutions and we partner with customers. We work hard to truly understand your unique business needs and goals, so we can provide the advice and technology you need to succeed. 

While we are confident in the solutions we provide, we also know that managed IT isn’t right for everyone. That’s why we are committed to publishing articles like this, so business and IT leaders like you have the information you need to make important IT decisions for your organization.

If you are thinking about hiring a new IT provider, check out this article to find out what the onboarding process is: New IT Provider? Here's What To Expect The First 30 Days.

If You Aren’t Ready To Make A Change….

This article, 3 Ways To Measure The Success Of An IT Partnership (Metrics & More), will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your relationship with your current IT provider. 

If you are still not sure whether managed IT is right for your organization, read this article: Are Managed Services A Good IT Solution For Small & Medium Businesses? Or, take the short quiz below. 

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What’s The Bottom Line? 

At this point, you know the signals that it might be time to look for a new IT provider. Price increases or upselling, unsatisfactory performance or slow service and response time, lack of proactive solutions or poor communication skills, narrow focus or surprises – any one or all of these can be signs that your current IT situation is not working. 

We’ve identified steps you can take if you are ready to make a change and those you can take if you are uncertain

No matter what you decide, be aware of this caveat:  organizations often stay with their current provider because they think switching will be difficult. The reality is that it doesn’t have to be difficult to change IT partners. 

Just as with any important purchase, you need to do your due diligence. Know who you are accepting into your company as a partner. Check them out. Know the specifics of the contract you are signing; what’s included and what costs extra?

Again, my recommendation is that every organization explore the options every few years. There may be a better option for your organization or you may be even more convinced that your current provider is still the best option not only because of their technical prowess but also because of the long-standing relationship and trust that’s been built. 

Just like when you are shopping for a car, it’s important to shop around. Brand loyalty is understandable, but if you don’t do your homework, you might never know that Audi offers different options than Mercedes, Toyotas are different than Subarus. If you are loyal to a particular brand and everything else is similar, you’ll likely choose the brand you’ve had good first-hand experience with, but it’s still important to explore the options.

I know that managed IT isn’t right for every organization, but if you are looking for an IT provider that treats your business as if it was their own, I encourage you to include Kelser among the providers you evaluate. Make sure to evaluate a fair number though, so you get the one that's right for your unique business needs.

Cost is often a concern for businesses when evaluating managed IT. so this article explains what you can expect to pay if you work with us: How Much Does Kelser Charge For Managed IT Services? What’s Included?

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