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Lisa Carroll

By: Lisa Carroll on January 06, 2023

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8 Common Questions About The Process Of Outsourcing IT Support

Managed Services | IT Support

You’ve seen the signs and know that you need to take action. Your IT needs support. You either have no IT staff or you have a small internal IT organization that is not robust enough to support your organization. As a business leader, you’re thinking about your options

If you are just starting to explore the possibility of working with an external IT support services provider, you may be wondering how to prepare. It’s an important decision and you want to make sure you get the right fit for your organization. 

In my 30 years in the IT industry, I’ve worked with hundreds of companies in the exact same position. I’ve answered their questions and will do the same for you. 

This article will provide answers to 8 of the most common questions I’ve heard from potential customers. After reading this article, you’ll be able to move forward on your IT support journey with confidence and a concrete set of expectations

What You Need To Know About The Process Of Hiring Managed IT Support

Here are 8 questions I hear often from business leaders who are just beginning to consider external support:

1.  Who In The Organization Should Be Involved In The Selection Process?

No matter the size of your organization, consider all of the people and organizations that have a stake in your technology

Representatives from each functional area inside the company can provide critical information about how they use technology to do their jobs. It’s better to know what they need upfront than to find out after the fact that the provider you’ve selected may not be able to address their needs. 

The selection will be more effective if all the key stakeholders are represented during the selection process. 

Consider bringing the following people on board:

      • The person to whom the IT function in your business reports, if you have one

In some medium-sized organizations, this may be the chief financial officer (CFO), the chief information officer (CIO), the chief technical officer (CTO), or the chief information security officer (CISO).

      • Even if they aren’t responsible for your company’s IT function, include the CFO or other financial representatives who can address budgetary concerns.

      • When the process gets further along, you’ll also want in-house or external legal counsel to help with contract review, ensuring that the terms of the proposed contract are understood and acceptable.

2. What Needs To Be Done Internally Before Interviews Begin?  

Honestly, to do it right, the internal work will take some time

If you are contemplating hiring external IT support do a deep dive and really understand your technology needs and business goals before even beginning the process of researching and interviewing potential providers. 

It may sound overwhelming and time-consuming, but it will ensure an effective match (and save time, money, and frustration) in the long run.

But, the reality is that the worst thing you can do is rush into a relationship with the wrong provider. It can happen quickly and you’ll be right back at square one. 

3. How Many IT Providers Should You Compare?

One option usually isn’t enough, because you don’t have any point of comparison with the market at large. On the other hand, having too many providers on your list will waste time and effort as you struggle to compare them all.

I recommend having no more and no less than a small handful of potential providers on your list—at least two, and three or four if you can find that many that match your criteria.

It’s important to do your homework and be sure the providers you are evaluating are compatible with your industry and business size.

4. Should You Consider Local Or Non-Local Providers?

There are advantages and disadvantages of both local and non-local IT providers. 

A local provider can offer faster and easier access to resources—especially during downtime and other IT emergencies—and the opportunity to interact on a personal level. 

Related article: Should I Work With A Local IT Provider? Advantages & Disadvantages

A non-local provider may be able to provide a larger staff and a wider variety of resources. 

Related article: Should I Work With A Non-Local IT Provider? Advantages & Disadvantages

The ultimate decision should be based on your understanding of your organization’s unique needs and goals and the ability of a prospective provider to support them.


5. How Can You Identify Top Local Providers?

An internet search can help you find IT support providers in your area, but will not always be a reliable source of information about which providers are best for you.

Instead, rely on your local network of acquaintances and business connections. Even if your contacts work in a different industry, ask for their experiences and recommendations. 

Your vendors, partners, and suppliers might also have good advice to share, including which IT service providers some of your competitors are using.

6. How Long Will The Interview Process Take? 

Once you start the interview process, the length will be determined by how many providers you are interviewing and how quickly you find one that suits your organization

In general, the initial interview should provide an opportunity for you to explain your business, your goals, and your technology pain points. Ideally, this can be completed in a one-hour conversation or less

Read this article to find out the 10 best questions to ask any IT provider

7. What Happens After The Initial Interview? 

Before developing a proposal, the provider will likely want to come on-site to do a full inventory of your technology environment. Depending on the size of your organization and the complexity of your infrastructure this visit usually takes between 2-4 hours once it is scheduled.

8. How Much Time Will The New Provider Require? 

Every provider has different expectations about how involved you and your team will need to be in the process. 

Some methods of onboarding new customers are more time- and labor-intensive than others. Some will require more of your team and others will require less.

Some providers may work with you to develop an onboarding schedule that takes your business requirements into account. 

Where Do You Go From Here?

You now have a full understanding of the work that needs to happen before jumping into the process of interviewing IT providers. Doing this work will ensure that you end up with the right IT provider for your organization.

You also have answers to the most commonly asked questions about the process of hiring IT support. 

We’ve talked about who should be involved, the work that needs to be done internally and how many providers to compare.

We've explored whether to consider local or non-local options, how to identify the best local providers, how long the interview process will take, what happens after the initial interview, and how much time you should expect to spend with the new provider.

Now it’s time to do the internal preparation. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Stay focused on the long-term goal: finding the IT provider that is the best partner for your organization. 

Once you’ve done that and are ready to conduct interviews, read this article to make sure you ask all of the right questions during the interview process


About Lisa Carroll

Lisa is Kelser's VP of Revenue who works at the intersection of business and technology to help Kelser’s clients jump on growth opportunities.

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