It's amazing what some people can (or at least attempt to) accomplish these days with smoke and mirrors. Anyone and their dog can fire up a decent looking website and paint the picture of being a corporate behemoth of a company yet in reality, operate out of their mom's basement suite. This is why they say never judge a book by its cover, whether it be a positive or negative impression. You need to look past the first layer of marketing/branding you encounter and dig deeper.
The choice of an IT support partner can have a major impact on your business. A solid IT services partner can help propel your organization to new levels by allowing you to better focus on your core business instead of worrying about business tools like computers and technology. Conversely, partnering with the wrong organization can just as easily set you back. You can miss out on opportunities to maximize your existing investments or effectively map technology to best support your business goals
Don't get hypnotized
A glitzy website with client reviews that read like a love story can be enticing, but how do you separate fact from fiction? How many of those raving client reviews are from active clients? How many of those are family members or close friends? On the surface, you have the ability to tap into an oasis of amazing services but behind the scenes, it's Armageddon with staff and client casualties everywhere.
Ask the right questions, collect evidence
Once you've avoided hypnosis, it's time to dig deep! Get to know the people that you would be working with, find out more about the business and its history, and talk to a sampling of clients/staff to truly understand the real business, versus what's presented on the marketing end of the spectrum. Here's a few things you should focus on:
- Do they showcase their key people on the website?
- Lookup their address on Google or Bing maps and checkout the street view
- Ask how many clients they have lost in the last 12-months and how many have they added. Client attrition is a sure sign that sales and execution are not in synch
- Ask the average tenure of their support staff. Staff turnover is disruptive to both the partner and you as their client
Digging past the veneer will help you gauge stability, attrition, and integrity on the reality of the business versus what is being portrayed through online marketing initiatives. You need evidence of success and stability, especially when it comes to working with a provider that is going to provide your organization with critical services such as IT support and management.
In summary, there are a lot of IT service providers out there that claim to top notch IT services. On the surface they look like reputable, experienced providers but sadly, many are composed of 2-5 people or have employee/client turnover similar to the amount of times it rains in Vancouver. You need to make your way past the fluff and the dog and pony show that some providers walk you through. Unravel that marketing layer and you'll reveal the true integrity of a brand which will allow you to make the right decision when partnering with an IT services partner.