With digital transformation, the only certainty in the years to come is uncertainty. Rachel Thorne, Director of Operational Excellence at Espria, gives five key questions every business should ask to ensure they have the right IT partner for their needs.
Do they over-communicate?
Nothing is more frustrating than partnering with an enthusiastic provider whose communication and service quality fizzles out over time. Regular communication is a prerequisite for ensuring your business needs will be consistently met. Seek out an IT partner who will maintain communication, be available as agreed, and will continue to enhance your customer experience. It is always a positive sign when your IT partner takes the initiative to request feedback on their current service, which constantly informs and improves how they service your business.
Do they ask you what you need instead of selling you what you don’t need?
Although a provider with multiple products and solutions is what you want, they should not sell you products and services that do not add value to your business. It is a positive sign if they take the time to ask about your business, the problems, and challenges you are facing, and what you think you need, and collaborate with you as your business grows and changes. You want a trusted business partner who has you and your organisation at the heart of what they do at every stage of your journey because when that happens, they listen, are attentive to your needs, and can provide valuable solutions that will drive your business forward.
Do they proactively guide you through your IT needs?
Your IT partner should be a trusted advisor, not just a provider. As your business changes, so will your IT needs. Ensure your IT partner continually updates your needs as your business changes and reviews new products and services. Part of their role is finding the most valuable services; for example, finding automations that will make day-to-day functions easier to work with and more efficient. Ensure you find a partner who sees the value of that and can guide you through what your business could benefit from as and when you scale.
Do they understand what your specific challenges are?
Each industry, and indeed every business, has its pain points and specific IT needs, making it critical to find an IT provider who understands what those are for your business. Most providers are willing to walk you through what should be prioritised in your industry - after all, they are the experts, but how are they designing a solution to directly address the challenges your business will face? They need to help you pinpoint these challenges (if you don’t already know them) and find a solution that suits your business and end-user requirements.
Do they help you understand your requirements better?
Whether you are fully aware of what IT solutions your business needs or are completely out of the loop with technology and are concerned by the implications of change, your IT partner should be able to cater to all by offering appropriate advice and solutions. When dealing with more experienced clients, they should bring the bandwidth and experience to implement your needs, set you up for success, and provide the support to drive your business forward. If you are still determining what you need, this is when they should educate you on the types of technology available, how, and why it matters, and what difference that would make to your business. With their information and guidance, you should feel confident in making a change and understanding its impact on your business.