Choosing an IT partner is a decision with long term financial and performance consequences. Making a decision is a tough ask and one that takes time, effort and no small amount of work on your part. Get it wrong at your peril!

Future-proofing your business is a tough ask, especially when it comes to IT. However, choose your partner carefully and you can both evolve with technology as it changes. That’s about as close to future-proofing as you’re ever likely to get!

So how do you choose an outsourced IT provider?

Do your research

As with any business deal, researching the subject, the requirements, the emerging trends and standards as well as vendors will all pay dividends. What technologies are hot now? What comes after cloud? Do you need divergent technologies? Does the vendor build solutions around you or make you fit them?

All questions that should be asked long before you begin making calls.

Check them out

Once you have a shortlist of IT partners, research them thoroughly. Look for testimonials, customer feedback, look on social media for negative reports and check everywhere you can think of to build a picture of a business.

While social proof is only one dimension in a business offering, it’s a powerful one. If they aren’t hitting the mark with existing customers, they are unlikely to do it with a new one.

Mix business with technology

IT managers and solutions providers often speak different languages, so it’s important to use a translator or be bilingual. An IT manager makes business decisions. An outsourced IT provider makes technological decisions. Mixing the two effectively means your future IT partner understands your business and what their technology will do to empower it.

Look at the culture

The culture of a partner can tell you as much about how they operate as their balance sheet. Ensuring they are flexible, will take the time to understand your business and what you need before trying to sell you something, offering comprehensive support as part of the package and always being at the forefront of what’s on offer are all good signs.

Strategy over tactics

While a tactical approach to IT can address your immediate needs, a strategic view taken over the next 5 years or so will deliver much more. Your business is going to change, your requirements will evolve as will your needs. Partnering with a provider who understands that from the very beginning will save time and money.

There’s no doubt that outsourcing is the way to go for the modern business. It’s cheaper, easier to manage and provides the best of both worlds to your business. You get to keep up with demands while avoiding the expense of running your own IT department. If only choosing the partner to supply such things was as straightforward!

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