Today, a majority of organizations have chosen to partner with a managed information technology service provider. There are many different IT specialists to choose from, each offering differing depth and breadth of knowledge and experience. Some have an extensive history of “fixing legacy application and infrastructure issues,” as featured with Logically, but fall short when it comes to “experience, credentials, certifications, and IT management tools” necessary to meet the challenges of ever-changing new technologies and the opportunities they offer.
Successful organizations choose managed IT service providers who possess a dedicated, forward-looking approach, keeping themselves aware of emerging new technologies, while understanding how they can help customers achieve their business goals, increase uptime and efficiency, manage security risks, and reduce costs. There are seven attributes IT service providers possess that make their expertise and experience in both managing legacy and current issues, as well as embracing the future, evident.
Seven Essential Managed IT Service Provider Attributes
1. Deep Talent Bench
Logically, an IT service provider should possess all the skills necessary to meet the IT needs of its clients. Perhaps shockingly, this is not always the case. Before committing to an IT provider, tactical corporate and organizational managers know to check to ensure that the provider is in a position to address all needs, in house, without delays that third party arrangements are notorious for. Why choose a managed IT service provider if they can’t act as a single point of contact?
2. Diagnostic Abilities
A deep talent bench, including individuals armed with extensive technical knowledge who can “quickly examine multiple scenarios to determine the specifics of a problem,” as explained with Business.org, remains a vital attribute that managers can key in on to identify service providers with the capability to meet organizations’ needs. Expertise with various operating systems, how they interact, and their latest updates, are among the many essential diagnostic skills evident with progressive IT service providers.
3. Strategic Organizational Thinking
Different managed IT service providers find their origins in different industries, specializing in different types of technology. Some develop only to provide maintenance and respond to issues as they arise. A strategic IT service provider will take a more in-depth look at challenges faced by organizations, matching new technologies with opportunities for clients to maximize efficiency and profit, while minimizing cost.
For example, a good IT service provider with the ability to produce smartphone apps with a taxi-cab company customer would seemingly be negligent if they failed to inform the business of the many companies that have used such technology to greatly reduce dispatching and office management costs.
4. Attention To Detail
It might seem obvious, but minor details, missed, can lead to catastrophic results. Desirable managed IT service providers won’t miss these seemingly small things. Likewise, when dealing with organization staff who might not share their technical expertise, they must possess the social skills to successfully elicit information to be able to diagnose and address issues. Choose IT providers with a proven track record of attention to detail.
5. Evolving With Technology
Today, obviously, almost no organization would choose to work with an IT service provider that specialized in dial-up modems. At one time, Blackberry ruled the mobile-phone landscape. An IT service provider who specializes in Blackberry technology would be of little value to a firm with a sales force deployed with Apple iPhones. Partnering with firms that change with technology is key to maintaining a base of business, as it is to expand it.
6. Analytical Thinking
Along with strong mathematical skills, analytical thinking should permeate everything that a managed IT service provider takes on. Practical solutions are born from information technology specialists’ ability to analyze a given situation and present the best path forward. IT firms with analytical thinking often simultaneously demonstrate both big- and little-picture analysis. The ability to be aware of both the finest details and the all-encompassing big picture is one that successful organizations value in IT service providers.
7. Effective Communication
The most intelligent IT solutions provider technician is of little use if they don’t have the ability to effectively communicate their ideas or extract necessary information from sometimes unaware clients.
A majority of technology users have limited computer skills. IT service providers must possess the skills to pass along necessary information in a manner that puts others at ease and be able to provide the required assistance. Meeting with IT service providers’ staff and frankly discussing the goals of managers’ organizations and the challenges they face gives an understanding of the type of social interactions and skills to be expected.
Time For An IT Service Provider Change?
Managers of organizations charged with selecting IT service providers ask a number of questions to determine the best fit.
- How does this firm stay aware of the newest technologies? How can these help this organization?
- Are there examples of clients this firm has helped leverage new technology to achieve profit growth?
- How are the technical support teams of this firm organized and how will my team contact and interact with them?
- How many staff members does this firm have in each area of expertise, such as development, cloud, and cybersecurity?
Most organization managers look for an IT firm that can serve as a “one-stop-shop,” capable of fulfilling all of its information technology needs. Organizations partnered with firms that don’t meet these criteria might be better served with one who does. Further, IT service providers should be continuously making recommendations about opportunities to deploy new technology that fits with organizational goals. Does the provider have other clients with advantageous new technology already deployed? How could this technology benefit the goals of other organizations?