6 Signs you have a good IT provider

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How do you know if you're receiving quality IT service? It's easy to say, "Oh, we're good with IT! Everything is great," when there's not an IT crisis occurring. But can you be sure you have a quality IT provider in good times and bad?

Unfortunately, a "gut" feeling can't determine whether or not you have quality IT service. Regarding technology and security, the best way to evaluate the IT partnership is to examine practices and metrics. You must find measurable factors to determine good vs. mediocre IT care.

You don't want to change providers during an IT crisis. For example, it would be chaotic to try to switch providers in the middle of a ransomware attack. Instead, it's better to evaluate the IT partnership during calm times and make an educated decision to maintain, adjust, or end the relationship.

For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients build IT strategies and utilize technology to their advantage.

By reading this article, you will learn six questions to help you determine whether or not you are receiving quality service from your IT provider.

1. How many support tickets do you have each month?

Statistically, each device or user should generate .25 problem tickets a month after onboarding. So, if you have 100 users or devices, they should create roughly 25 total helpdesk problem tickets each month. These aren't questions or training but "This isn't working" concerns.

If you generate roughly a monthly .25 or fewer tickets per user or device, you likely aren't seeing repeat issues or issues born out of a lack of maintenance.

If you are generating more tickets, ask why that is. For example, are there significant system changes or new technology? Are there repeat issues? Are you in onboarding, as that typically creates more tickets in the first 90 days of an IT relationship?

2. How many issues is your IT partner finding and reporting proactively?

A reactive IT environment addresses problems only as they arise. On the other hand, quality IT providers will have a proactive approach—they'll find patterns in minor concerns and try to nip potentially more significant issues in the bud.

Typically, this means scheduled IT technician visits to maintain and update systems and equipment. They will also alert you to any helpdesk ticket patterns they uncover.

If your IT technician makes more unscheduled visits than scheduled, this could indicate a larger issue.

3. Are you having quarterly risk assessments?

A popular saying in the IT industry is, "You're only as good as your last risk assessment."

Risk assessments analyze and examine areas of preventable risk in your IT system. Risks may include software needing updates, End of Life hardware, employee security training, or security protocols like multi-factor authentication, among other things.

Risk assessments should be performed every three months to keep an accurate, current look at your system. They're a vital inside look at your IT security and proactively help decrease the risk of cyberattacks.

If your IT provider is not doing quarterly risk assessments, ask them why this is and when you can get started.

4. Can your IT provider give you metrics?

A quality IT provider should be able to provide you with service metrics specific to your business. These include:

  • Number of helpdesk tickets
  • Average resolution time for helpdesk tickets
  • Number of scheduled IT technician visits
  • Number of unscheduled IT technician visits

This isn't to say that your IT provider can rattle these metrics off the top of their head (though some can). Others may be unable to answer immediately if they're put on the spot unawares, but they are recording metrics and can send you the numbers.

What's important is a record of your service history and metrics to show trends. For example, are you producing more tickets than usual? Is the solve time reasonable? Why or why not? What was going on in your IT system at that point in time?

If your provider can't produce the metrics, they may not be monitoring or collecting them, which is not proactive.

5. Are you meeting quarterly with an IT strategy expert?

When you sign up with an IT provider, you are given access to a strategy expert known as a virtual Chief Information Officer, or "vCIO." This person should meet with you quarterly to discuss IT goals and projects, your IT roadmap, ticket trends, and what technology can do to help you reach your business goals.

Quarterly meetings with your vCIO check the IT pulse of your company. Without these meetings, you cannot verify that your IT system and projects are on track and assisting your company in the best way possible.

6. How do your users feel about IT?

One of the easiest ways to see how your IT provider is doing is to check with your users. You can ask them questions like:

  • How do you feel about IT?
  • Do they answer your questions and solve problems?
  • How long does it take for them to get back to you or solve an issue?
  • Do you like contacting the helpdesk?

If your users respond positively, you likely have a proactive IT provider dedicated to meeting service needs.

However, if most of your users express dissatisfaction, there is likely a disconnect between the promised service and reality.

Next steps for evaluating your IT provider

IT providers are vital in keeping your IT environment healthy, productive, and functioning. IT is not a set-it-and-forget-it system. Instead, IT requires regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly.

Many times, IT systems are compared to vehicles. Many drivers take their cars to a mechanic both for maintenance (like changing the oil) and to solve issues. However, you wouldn't take your vehicle to a mechanic that isn't reputable or ignore issues, just hoping they'll go away.

IT is the same way: you want a reputable IT provider caring for your technology, performing proactive maintenance, and solving issues as they arise.

Quality IT providers follow the same practices. They will:

  1. Have a monthly helpdesk ticket average of roughly .25 tickets per user/device.
  2. Proactively track and solve issues and perform system maintenance.
  3. Perform quarterly risk assessments.
  4. Provide service metrics for your IT system and company.
  5. Meet quarterly to discuss IT strategy.
  6. Have a positive relationship with your users.

If you aren't sure where your IT provider falls on the service spectrum, talk to your users and ask your IT provider to show you some service metrics.

If your users are unhappy and the metrics are either not provided or unsatisfactory, discuss the IT partnership with your provider. Is the partnership working? If not, why and how can it be fixed?

If you cannot reach an agreement or improve the relationship, it may be time to look for a new IT provider.

The right technology and IT partnership will help you meet your business IT needs and goals.

For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients build successful IT strategies and processes while utilizing effective technology.

If you are looking for a new IT provider, schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how WEBIT can help.

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