Technology can be a mine-field for small businesses lacking ICT expertise. Allen Johnstone, Brand and Culture Manager at Tech Project, highlights some of the key considerations when looking for a new ICT provider or in assessing the performance of your current provider.
Mr Johnstone says that ICT providers shouldn’t just be good, they should be indispensable to the way businesses operate. “Take the time to see what technology leadership your provider offers. You should consider the interest they take in understanding and monitoring the status of your current ICT program. What recommendation and advice is offered and what wellness check plans are in place. This can really help small business owners plan for the future and understand any hidden costs that could arise due to short term planning.
“Businesses also need to make sure that their ICT provider has a strong team of technicians to support their business by offering unlimited helpdesk support and onsite support. There is nothing worse than being promised a high level of service which is then not delivered.”
Two of the main things small businesses should be looking for according to Mr. Johnstone is freedom and security. “We often suggest to businesses that they do their due diligence when it comes to finding their ICT provider. They need to ensure they’re not locked into a long term contract, which will hinder their freedom and flexibility and could end up being an expensive experience.
“Security also has to be at the forefront. With the increase in virus attacks on computers, a provider should have business data security as a top priority. An extensive, managed backup service, which includes daily backup monitoring and onsite and offsite backup solutions that provide security and disaster ready points for restoring data, should be non-negotiable.”
Businesses also need to be equipped for the future. Mr. Johnstone emphasised the need to take advantage of technological advances that proved to be more productive and cost effective. “Cloud computing means no longer having to pay upfront for any server storage or network infrastructure. Instead, all the computing power you need is provided for a monthly fee, allowing you to scale your service requirements up or down when required.”