How to Choose the Right Technology Consulting Partner

Written by -Unnamed Author High Touch Technologies

There’s no standardization when it comes to the services that third-party technology services supply. So, how do you know what a particular technology services company does? Word of mouth? Research? A little bit of both?

Even Google gets crowded with the language:

  • IT solutions
  • Managed services
  • IT services
  • Technology services
  • Managed services provider
  • Managed IT
  • Technology solutions provider

These services can mean the same thing. Or, they can mean something entirely different. It all depends on the service provider. When you’re looking for help with technology and services, let your business needs drive the conversation.

Do you know what type of technology help you need? Do you know the types of technology services that exist? By understanding the type of services technology companies provide, you can start determining the type of partnership that works best for your business.

Understanding the Technology Support You Need

Before you begin digging into IT solutions and managed services companies, you need to evaluate the type of technology support your business needs.

Full-scale IT support

Full-scale IT support fits the bill when you need a third-party technology services provider that functions as an internal IT team for your business. The provider will handle most of your business’s technology requirements, including hardware, software, cybersecurity, email, networking, communications, phones, video conferencing, remote system monitoring…pretty much anything IT-related you need to run your business.

However, the actual structure of a full-scale IT support partnership looks different from business to business. In some cases, a business may have an internal IT Director or Manager that works alongside the full-scale technology partner. In others, the partner may handle all technology needs from CIO level to help desk.

If necessary, full-scale IT support companies can also assist in your business’s strategic technology and infrastructure plans. This type of provider is capable of handling your day-to-day technology needs alongside longer-term technology goals like managing your hardware lifecycle, adopting an enterprise-wide software platform, or building a technology budget.

What it comes down to, is understanding what works best to meet your business’s tangible goals.

Supplemental IT support

Maybe your business has an internal IT team that’s overworked and needs help. Maybe you need help with a one-time back-end networking project. Maybe you need help developing middleware between legacy software systems.

Maybe, just maybe, you need help with all these things, but not simultaneously?

IT solutions providers can assist, integrate with, or provide additional guidance to your existing IT support team.

With a vast range of knowledge and variable employee skillsets, IT solutions companies can step in and assist your business in meeting its technology goals. For example, your business may have no problem managing an internal help desk, but they don’t have the capacity to manage back-end networking and data center technology too. A partnership with an IT solutions provider can help make things easier by lending an extra hand to your existing IT team.

Technology consulting services

Your business could be doing a great job handling its own technology services, but it needs some help in key strategic development areas, like boosting productivity or developing long-term hardware upgrade plans and network mapping. Maybe your business recently completed an acquisition and you need guidance integrating the two technology systems. Many IT solutions companies can help guide you on how to manage your internal technology teams and goals.

Additionally, IT solutions companies, depending on their individual expertise, can provide technology consulting services to help you discover the right type of software your business needs to operate more efficiently or determine why your business’s website is slow.

Remember, your goal should be finding a technology partner that can help solve your unique technology challenges. Focus on these goals instead of window shopping for a miracle cure. A true technology partner with the right expertise will help you reach your goals.

Researching the Benefits Technology Partners Can Offer

With your goals in mind, IT solutions providers can offer exciting advantages for your business.

Your technology partner can help you find the proper technology solutions or build a combination of solutions to solve your business’s challenges. What are you looking to gain through your relationship with a technology solutions provider?

  • Productivity. Are you looking for software to boost your business’s efficiencies? Are you looking for a new accounting platform that helps you evaluate your business’s resources? Would new hardware or a faster network give your employees the tools they need to be more productive? Productivity can look very different from business to business.
  • Partnership. You want all the benefits of having an on-site, trusted IT department, but don’t have the resources or headcount to justify hiring one. A third-party technology solutions provider can help fill the need.
  • Profitability. Do you need technology help, but you don’t have the resources to hire an in-house team? Could your in-house team benefit from additional expertise? Do you need help with your long-term technology planning, but don’t have the resources or need to hire a Chief Information Officer (CIO)? Businesses can achieve profitability via technology no matter the size of their internal technology resources.
  • Peace of Mind. Technology partnerships don’t always mean buying new computers or building a new website. Sometimes, technology partnerships offer peace of mind through a cybersecurity audit or website security check.

Asking the Right Questions

Ask yourself, “Are you looking for a vendor or a technology partner?”

With a technology partnership, you’re looking for more than a retailer—you need an IT partner that can help your business reach its goals by using technology.

When researching technology providers, be sure to ask these questions along the way:

  • What services do you include in your technology packages?
  • Can you build a custom technology solution for my business?
  • What technology services do you offer?
  • Where is your support team based?
  • When is your support center open for calls?
  • Can you support the technology problems I encounter on-site?
  • Do you have experience providing technical support to businesses in my industry?
  • Can you provide testimonials from existing customers?
  • Do you have a service level agreement?
  • What expectations will you have of my business and its employees?
  • Do you think you would be a good technology partner for my business?

Bringing the Human Touch to Technology.

When researching technology partners, you must understand the type of technology support you need, the benefits you’re looking for, and the questions you need to ask potential partners.