Reasons to switch your IT Support Provider
If you’re reading this article, something isn’t right with your current IT support provider. Sorry to hear that. Most businesses are very loyal to their IT provider so something has gone very wrong or it hasn’t been right for a while now. Once you’ve read through this article, hopefully, you’ll be ready to make the call if you should switch your IT Support provider.
Should you change your IT Support provider?
Before you jump ship, I want to make it very clear that changing your IT service provider is a big move. Most companies are loyal and long term customers of their IT provider and there’s a good reason for that. But you’ve landed on this article for a reason and here are the 2 main reasons we see a switch in MSPs.
A business-critical IT failure has occurred
There has been a disastrous IT incident that could have been prevented. This issue has caused major downtime for your business and you’ve lost money and/or productivity. Here are some of the reasons we’ve had companies contact us in the past.
- Hard drives have failed on a server (which happens) and there are no recent backups. The business lost 9 months of data and had to rekey all the lost information.
- A business was hit by a ransomware attack that encrypted all company information on their server. Again, there were no recent backups as the last successful backup was taken 3 months prior. The business was forced to recreate 3 months worth of work
- A hacker gained access to the business’ accounts department email and reissued invoices to the value of $150,000. Invoices were paid to the hacker and then legal disputes dragged on for months over whose responsibility it was. Only the lawyers won.
The slow burn of legacy
Sometimes it’s not a single critical IT failure that has businesses questioning if they should switch providers. It can be a slow burn, sometimes over the course of years where you and your staff get frustrated. Examples we’ve seen of this are:
- The growth of your business has outstripped that of your IT company. They are now too small to manage your requirements.
- The expertise of your IT provider has not kept up with your technology. As you grow and want to move your infrastructure to the cloud, they don’t have expertise in this area so they keep you back.
- Your IT providers responsiveness has dropped off as they have grown their client base but not increased the size of their team and they are not solving your issues as quickly as you need
Do the above examples sound familiar? Then maybe you are ready to switch. If your business has suffered a major failure then yes, it’s time to start looking elsewhere.
If your IT support suffers from the latter group, then in our opinion, you should have a frank discussion with them first. Find out if they can grow with you or make changes that will turn things around.
Either way, here are some things you want your next IT support to look like, or have your current provider upskill to.
So use the below when researching or interviewing in order to switch your IT support provider.
What to look for in an IT Support Provider
Your IT support provider should provide an SLA
What’s an SLA? An SLA is a Service Level Agreement. In it, you set timeframes with your support provider for when they will be there to help in the event of a failure or if something needs fixing urgently.
Your IT support should have an SLA that is tailored to your business which outlines what response times are acceptable and how urgent issues are handled.
SLAs can vary but the industry standard is 4 hours to respond to an issue. As a business, does a 4 hour SLA work for you? If not, you may be able to negotiate a quicker SLA but expect to pay more for that.
For example, Intuitive IT provides a 1 hour SLA on our top tier plan while our other plans are 4 hours.
So the question you should be asking is “Do you provide SLAs on your IT Support?”
Move to Managed Services and away from Block Hours/Break-Fix
What are Managed Services? Your IT support provider provides you with a managed services contract in which they take care of all your technology needs. You give them control over the hardware and software that is used for your business and they are able to provide more efficient service. They can monitor the health of your servers and services, and solve problems proactively before they become an issue. Importantly they can test your backups, but more of that is below.
If you want to get the most out of your technology, you need to move away from reactive support. This is where you buy a block of hours from your provider or maybe just use them in an ad-hoc manner when something goes wrong. This Break-Fix method works in the short term if you’re looking to save money in the immediate future, but in the long-term, there is no strategy in your technology and without this and proactive maintenance, you will find yourself a victim of a critical IT failure.
A managed services agreement also give your IT provider certainty when it comes to income. This means they can plan their growth too. The success of your IT provider will directly affect how well they can support you. Your partnership with your IT service provider works both ways. Penny pinching doesn’t help you here.
This is where your IT Support provider turns into your IT Managed Services Provider (MSP).
So the question you should be asking is “Do you provide Managed Services plans?”
Your IT Support should provide Unlimited Support for a fixed price
One benefit you get from being on a Managed Services agreement is you and your business should receive Unlimited Support calls. That’s right – Unlimited. Your staff should not have to think twice about making a support request. They may be suffering through an issue that has an easy fix and their productivity will suffer. With unlimited support for a fixed cost, this is not an issue.
Intuitive IT provides unlimited support calls on all our plans for this reason. The plans are based on the number of users we have to support. So as you grow and put on more staff, we can make sure we can do the same to keep supporting you. If your current IT Company can’t do this, then consider switching your IT support provider.
So the question you should be asking is “Do you provide Unlimited Support as part of your Managed Services plans?”
Your MSP needs to have a focus on Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity attacks on Australian businesses have increased by 300% in the last 12 months. Cybercriminals are now using increasingly sophisticated methods and hacking into businesses’ networks for access to data or ransom payments.
You might not think of it but your IT Support provider needs to have a focus on cybersecurity to:
- Increase your defences to stop potential attacks
- Ensure your data exposure is limited in the event of a breach
- Help restore your data in the event it is not available for access
Here are Intuitive we align with the Australian Government’s Signals Directorate’s Essential Eight Maturity Model. Not all MSPs need to align to such a model, but we see value in protecting businesses with such a model.
That’s why our monthly IT Report, available on all our plans includes adherence to this model.
So the question you should be asking is “Do you provide Cybersecurity services as part of your Managed Services plans?”
Proactively Test Backups
Two of the 3 business-critical IT failures listed above could have been remediated if backups were working correctly. OK sure, the initial issue wouldn’t have been prevented by having working backups, but the business would have been able to recover without having to spend months recreating data. That’s why testing backups should be a monthly task undertaken by your IT Support provider.
For example, for our Managed Services clients, we will restore files each month as a test to ensure they actually can be recovered in the event of a disaster. We document this restoration so that you have access to the records in the event you ever need to prove that we’re doing what we say.
So the question you should be asking is “Do you proactively test our backups?”
Your MSP should measure customer satisfaction
Measuring customer service should be a given for any MSP. The industry term for customer satisfaction testing is CSAT. CSAT is an abbreviation of Customer SATisfaction, and it is used to measure the level of customer happiness. At Intuitive, we use 2 forms of CSAT.
- We survey our customers on each support ticket we solve. We will send an email once a ticket is solved and ask for feedback on the service they received. We limit this to 1 survey per week to avoid spamming our clients
- Annually we send a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to all clients. NPS tracks how likely an individual is to recommend a company’s products or services to others. This score ranges from -100 to 100 with higher scores being more positive of recommender intent. In our last survey Intuitive IT received 82 which puts us in the “excellent” range.
Internally at Intuitive, this is the number one metric I look at. There is nothing, nothing more important than ensuring the service we provide is above and beyond. That’s why “Above and Beyond” is one of our core values. My father taught me this lesson and I fully embrace it now.
At our annual awards, we recognise the staff member that has provided the highest level of support. A happy customer base should be what any MSP is aiming for. Otherwise, you consider switching your IT support provider.
So the question you should be asking is “How do you measure customer satisfaction?”
Align IT to the business goals
In order for your MSP to support your business goals, they must first know what those goals are. A yearly meeting in the pre-budget period should involve your business’ management team. This meeting or meetings will involve your MSP surveying each team member to understand:
- What their goals are for the next financial year;
- What their current issues and inefficiencies currently are; and
- What reporting and statistics do they need access to to meet these goals.
Once this information is collated it should be tabled in a report which is presented to the management team for sign off. This document will form the basis of the role of IT for the next year.
With this information and report, both IT and business are aligned and every action undertaken by your MSP will be completed with a view to the entire businesses goals.
So the question you should be asking is “How do make sure our IT is aligned with our business goals?”
You are now ready to switch your IT Provider
Now you are armed with a list of questions you are now in a position to either:
- Get your existing IT Provider to move to a level that will support your business; or
- Start your search for an MSP that will give you the support your business needs.
Whatever you do, don’t delay. If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid a major IT disaster that’s great but if you’ve read to this point of the article then things clearly need to change. Good luck with switching your IT Support provider.
Here are the questions to ask when looking to switch your IT support provider
- Do you provide SLAs on your IT Support?
- Do you provide Managed Services plans?
- Do you provide Unlimited Support as part of your Managed Services plans?
- Do you provide Cybersecurity services as part of your Managed Services plans?
- Do you proactively test our backups?
- How do you measure customer satisfaction?
- How do make sure our IT is aligned with our business goals?
About the author
Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.