IT services are believed to be the most commonly outsourced business function, with an estimated 64% of global companies outsourcing some or all of their IT needs. For many companies, outsourcing represents the best way to harness the top technical talent and gives staff more time and freedom to focus on value-adding business activities.
Previously, we’ve discussed some of the things you should expect of your IT support provider, including strategic guidance, a focus on preventative maintenance and a commitment to helping your business remain secure and compliant. Sadly, not all providers are up to this task, with many leaving their customers to grapple with slow, poorly maintained tech and security controls that don’t meet the required standard.
If your current provider is charging a premium for a minimal service, or is simply failing to advance your IT in line with your business’s development, then it may be time to consider a new provider. We know however, that this can often feel like a daunting prospect, with businesses often fearing disruption to service continuity or the possibility of hostility with their current MSP.
In reality however, the process of switching is normally smooth and straightforward, with most providers having reliable processes in place to onboard new clients without mishap. While your chosen provider will guide the handover process from beginning to end, there are a few simple preparatory steps you can take to ensure a seamless and stress-free transition. Here are 5 steps for a stress-free switch:
Invest Time in the Selection Process
An IT support provider is responsible for maintaining the vital technical infrastructure upon which your business depends. They could also be tasked with informing the future direction of your IT, a challenge that could have implications for the future success of your business. It’s therefore vital to invest time in the selection process to ensure you choose the right provider for your business first time round.
So what should you consider?
Consider whether candidate providers have the capacity to properly support your business. The only way to judge is to enquire about the size of businesses they currently support, making sure to ask about the number of ‘seats’ or ‘desks’ supported in each case.
Then, think about where they’re based. Most aspects of IT support can now be carried out remotely, but if you’re likely to benefit from on-site support or a hardware installation in the near future, then it’s best to choose a provider that prioritises your city or region.
Lastly, if your business operates in a sector subject to a high degree of data protection regulation, such as finance, education, healthcare or government services, then you’ll likely benefit from a provider with prior experience in your field. That way they’ll at least broadly understand the compliance landscape you operate within, and be better able to develop solutions that support your compliance obligations and help you tackle industry-specific pressures.
Upon completion of the selection process, reach out to the provider who’s best suited to your business to arrange a meeting to get the ball rolling. Inform them of your contract renewal date, as this acts as a deadline or the handover process and lets them plan the switch accordingly.
Make Sure Your New Provider Understands Your Reasons for Switching
Let your new provider know your reasons for switching so they can provide assurances that they’ll offer a better standard of service. If slow response times were an issue for example, express this to your new provider so that they can include response time targets in your service level agreement.
If your previous provider had knowledge ‘blind spots’ that left them unable to fix persistent issues, then enquire about expertise and accreditations held by your new provider in order to allay any concerns. In addition to technical accreditations, partnerships with leading vendors are often an encouraging indicator of technical expertise and a commitment to high-quality customer service.
Being open and honest about the challenges you’ve faced in the past will help your new provider deliver in line with your expectations, and ensure the relationship gets of to a sound start.
Provide The Information Your New Provider Will Need
In order for them to effectively govern your IT, your new provider will need privileged access to a number of key systems and infrastructures. This means you’ll have to provide admin-level login details for the following:
- Firewalls/ Routers
- Web hosting service(s)
- Web Domain Registrar
- Software systems (both on-premise and cloud-hosted)
Next, consider which devices you want to fall withing the scope of your new support contract. This is good chance to review the devices your team are using for work purposes, and ensure that all devices are properly governed and supported going forward, including mobile devices and tablet used remotely.
Then, try to gather any documentation that might help your new provider understand the layout and inner workings of your network, such as a network diagram. Additional information that can often prove useful includes a list of users/devices with elevated user privileges, software license keys, warranty documents and operating manuals.
Have Your New Provider Undertake a Full Audit of Your Network
As part of your new providers onboarding process, they may offer a full, complementary network audit. This exercise is designed to expose vulnerabilities, inefficiencies, misconfigurations and performance issues across all network components, including both hardware and software elements.
If this isn’t offered as standard, you should request one. The audit’s findings will prove invaluable and should include a list of immediately actionable steps to improve the security, reliability and performance of your network. Using the results your new provider will also be able to propose recommended changes for the future, allowing you to plan and budget in advance of anticipated projects. Attention will also be drawn to ageing hardware, allowing you to source replacements before component failure impacts your business.
Serve Your Notice and Inform Your Employees
Inform your current provider of your intention to switch in line with the minimum notice period specified in your contract. By honouring your obligations you’ll be able to part ways with your provider on amicable terms and avoid the possibility of legal action against you. This may seem like an awkward part of the switching process, but in most cases the provider will accept your reasons for switching and do what they can to ensure the handover process runs smoothly.
If your provider provides equipment to you on a rental basis, ensure this is returned in a timely manner, and make sure you retrieve the admin login credentials we discussed earlier so that your new provider can change them for security purposes.
Prior to handover, inform your team of the changes taking place regarding your IT support. Ensure employees understand the new support ticketing system and are given your new provider’s details and contact information. If the chance presents, introduce your new provider to your team and encourage employees to explain the current challenges they face with your IT system. All of the above will ensure your staff feel involved and engaged in the process, and it gives your new provider the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of your business and how you operate.
Truly Secure – A Trusted Partner that Enables Your Business to Scale
Truly Secure provides IT management, support and strategy to technical, professional and regulated businesses in Dubai and across the UAE. We help businesses big and small overcome commercial challenges, surmount regulatory hurdles and scale new heights of efficiency using expertly managed, tailored technology.
Get in touch today to find out how Truly Secure could help your business reach its potential through technology.