Does Size Matter When Choosing An IT Partner?
You’ve decided that your organization can benefit by partnering with an outside IT partner. You may have skill gaps that need to be addressed. You could need service desk support. Or maybe you are looking for someone to handle your network maintenance. Whatever the reason, you are ready and may have even started to evaluate IT providers.
There are lots of things to consider. You’ve probably thought about whether to partner with a local IT group or if a non-local IT organization offers advantages. You’ve likely investigated the services offered as well as what is and is not included in your contract. Cost is another consideration that you’ve probably figured into the equation.
You may have even looked into the level of transparency, communication, and customer service they offer. And you’ve likely asked for recommendations from current customers. All of these factors come into the decision.
Here’s one more thing to consider: should you partner with a large or small IT partner?
I work at an IT provider and we are often asked whether the size of an IT partner matters.
This article provides a comprehensive analysis of the pros and cons of small and large IT providers so that you can fully understand the similarities and differences. This information will help you make the decision that is right for your organization.
What Size IT Partner Is Best?
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often look to outside IT providers to supplement their small internal staff or to provide for all of the organization’s IT needs. Which size is best for your organization can depend on a number of factors.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of large and small IT partners, so you can have all of the information you need to make this important decision.
Large IT Providers
Large IT providers offer benefits and drawbacks for SMBs.
One of the advantages of a large IT provider is that they often have a large workforce full of people with a variety of skills, which can give them a leg up on solving complex technical issues for their customers.
Large IT providers usually have documented processes and procedures that can provide a strong framework for customers who might be in search of that expertise to develop policies and procedures for their own organization.
Another advantage of large IT providers is that they often have the budgetary resources to employ specialists in key technology areas such as cybersecurity or compliance. This provides customers with access to these experts without bearing the financial burden of adding them to their staff.
Nimbleness and flexibility are key traits in an IT provider. With a larger organization, these traits can be stifled, limiting the creativity needed to solve unique problems or address unusual technology or compliance requirements.
Large organizations often have more overhead costs. These costs get passed on to customers, making the total IT contract more expensive.
Internal structures of larger organizations tend to be more complex, with fewer opportunities for cross-training and cross-functional experience. This organizational structure can make it more difficult to get fast service.
People who work with a large IT provider can feel like their service requests go into a black hole and that they are just a number. This can lead to an ineffective working relationship between the provider and the customer.
Small IT Providers
There are challenges and rewards when working with small IT providers.
In general, smaller organizations have the advantage when it comes to flexibility. This makes it easier for them to respond quickly and efficiently to the needs of their customers.
When you work with a small IT provider, you are a priority. Your business matters to you and it also matters to your IT partner. Customers often end up seeing the same faces when they have an issue, building a trusting partnership.
3. Personal Touch
Another advantage of working with a small IT provider is that customers receive personal attention. If you have an issue that needs immediate attention, smaller IT providers can often come up with a solution that gets your business up and running
Smaller organizations tend to have a positive work environment where the team all pitches in. Their staff brings this positive attitude to bear on your IT infrastructure, which can lead to them going above and beyond to find the solutions your business needs.
1. Fewer Partnerships
Due to their size, smaller IT providers may not work with a broad range of OEM suppliers, which can limit your access to certain types of IT equipment.
2. Limited Staffing
Some small IT providers may not have the financial resources to employ the specialists you need.
For example, many small IT providers do not provide the proactive services of a cybersecurity expert or a virtual chief information officer who can provide the guidance your business needs.
Smaller IT organizations may not be equipped to support your business as it grows. Make sure to ask about their ability to scale to suit your future needs.
What Size IT Partner Is Right For You?
As you finish reading this article, you now have a better understanding of the pros and cons of large and small IT providers.
The pros of working with a large IT provider can include skills, processes, and specialists. The negatives of large IT providers are bureaucracy, cost, complexity, and size.
When looking at smaller IT providers, the benefits include flexibility, response, personal touch, and culture. Some of the downsides are fewer partnerships, limited staffing, and scalability.
Clearly, size is an important factor. While there is no perfect solution for every organization, there will be one that is right for you.
At Kelser, we provide comprehensive IT managed services for customers in the industries of healthcare, construction, finance, education, insurance, legal, and manufacturing among others.
We know that managed IT isn’t right for everyone and that’s why we publish articles like this to provide the information people like you need to make informed decisions.
It’s important to find the IT provider that will be the right fit for you.
One of the questions customers most frequently ask about is cost. Not every provider addresses this question upfront, but since it's important to our customers, it's important to us. Find out everything you need to know in this article: How Much Does Kelser Charge For Manged IT Services? What's Included?