Shopping for a technology partner can be painful. Leaving the status quo of your current vendor–no matter how much they’ve disappointed you—is hard to do. I’ve heard amazing stories of technology maintenance errors that have been totally forgiven, simply because of the misperception that changing vendors is hard to do.
Has your business outgrown the abilities of the technology vendor you use?
The role of network security has changed dramatically in the past two years and using an underprepared vendor increases the risk of exposure to ransomware and other security breaches. Opting for the status quo can make sense for a company that isn’t reliant on technology or a business without growth plans. But most businesses consider it a “best practice” to look at alternative vendors every few years. If you have a great support tech who has worked on your network for 20 years (and keeps the system running with chewing gum and duct tape) the time is definitely right to explore other options.
When changing technology vendors, success starts with a good selection process.
Once the need to go shopping has been established, ask yourself: what are the problems a new vendor needs to solve? Has your business evolved to the point where you need a fresh approach and perspective? Are you poised for growth so your highest priority is a partner that understands these challenges? There are three “L” mistakes that businesses make when choosing a technology support vendor. Ignoring these issues may very well result in a lousy outcome.
Looking for the Lowest Price
Expanding companies are often too focused on the bottom line and forget that “you get what you pay for” applies to technology support vendors just as it does to other areas of the business. A singular focus on cost cutting and purchasing expenses can yield some benefits, but the mother lode of benefits are gained around the maintenance of infrastructure, servers and cloud-based resources.
Contracting with a provider who bases their level of service on price means that their clients find themselves either paying the provider for extra options, taking their limited resources away from key responsibilities or hiring yet another person for those unexpected needs. If only they had taken the time to look down the road, align their priorities with their strategies, and consult with technology support vendors who understand their needs, they could have partnered with a company with flexible plans to support their evolving requirements.
At some stage in the relationship, a business may realize that the technology support service they chose is not a good fit for them, and no matter how many conversations they’ve had, things have not improved–nor will they. Yet many firms wait until the contract is about to expire before researching new vendors. The time to begin the search is with six more months remaining on the current contract. Although it will involve starting all over again, the search process will actually be easier by using a list of the frustrations with the current provider.
A mature tech vendor will make recommendations based on an in-depth assessment of your technology, business plans and staffing. Once again, you always “get what you pay for” so beware of “free” or low-cost engagements. A half-baked assessment can leave you with inadequate solutions to both on-going problems and future challenges. And using a vendor that isn’t in tune with your business vision results in limited help with strategic activities such as budgeting. I recently heard about a company that was blindsided with the need for significant new infrastructure but had gotten no advanced warning or help with budget allocation.
When it comes to choosing a technology support vendor, don’t make the mistake of thinking the bottom line is just about reducing expenses. It’s also about collaboration, communication and leveraging the technologies that power future success. No one can promise a painless transition when changing technology vendors but success starts with a good selection process.