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How to select a computer support partner

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How to select a computer support partner

When a computer problem occurs why do a lot of companies who provide IT support fail to focus on the impact to their client’s business?

Computers are now an integral element of every business throughout the land and sadly they occasionally go wrong! So it’s obvious that computer problems can result in serious problems and hardship for a business.

As a business owner and/or PC user, you can often be left feeling frustrated and lonely when you encounter a problem. In fact, I know that’s how I felt when my original consultancy business had problems and I was left in a vacuum by those I’d outsourced my IT support too as they continually failed to understand the impact on my business.

This problem is further compounded by the findings in a recent article that stated 22% of SMEs believe that when they take into account lost time and productivity that they’d lost £10,000 worth of business per annum.

So how do you find a company that WILL focus on keeping your business running? The following tips may help you (I’ve deliberately not included much techie stuff). After all with the economic climate being the way it is you need to make sure that your IT is taken care of so that you can concentrate on running your business.

Initial Planning

Have you documented what you want before you start looking?

Is the supplier the right size for you?

Where are they located and can they get to your office quickly if needed?


Have they given you a written proposal?

Is their pricing clear on call-out charges?

Can they help you achieve your business vision?

Do they understand your business issues and priorities?

Have they provided you with sensible improvements they can make to your IT?

Have they understood your issues and providing solutions, rather than trying to sell you something?

Are they ‘in touch’ with what’s happening in the IT industry (security, privacy, cloud computing etc.)

Qualifications & Quality

Do they have any qualifications, e.g. Microsoft Certified Partner?

What about quality standards, e.g. ISO 9000 (Quality Management), ISO 20000 (IT Service Management)?

Support Arrangements

Do they have flexible service arrangements that suit your needs?

Do their hours of support cover your normal working hours?

Will you get straight through to an engineer when you need one?

Can they fix most problems remotely without having to come onsite?

Do they provide unlimited support or is it capped?


How regularly will they proactively monitor your IT (e.g. servers)?

Will they give you target response AND resolution times for your IT incidents

Will they review your service levels regularly and ensure they are being monitored and met?

Do they have transparent call logging, escalation and tracing that you can access?

Will they deal with your third party IT vendors (e.g. software providers, manufacturers, internet services) on your behalf or do they expect you to do it?


How often do they plan to communicate with you?

Is their approach to communication, relationships and service similar (or close enough) to yours?

What do their clients say about how the supplier has responded to problems and the proactive support they’ve received?

Have they given you the contact details for the owner (or equivalent) of the company in the event that you need to escalate?

Do they have a dedicated Help Desk team, or are you going to be talking to an engineer on a mobile all the time (the former means they can actually fix problems straight away)

If their Help Desk is busy can you leave a voice message and have a committed time by when they call you back (e.g. 30 minutes)

This list could go on for pages, but if you ever need to find an IT partner this list gives you have a starting place.

One final tip; don’t always go for the cheapest provider! Price is very important but if they are very cheap in comparison to their competitors make sure you check the detail of what they support.

If you need any advice then please contact me at or call me on 01392 207194.


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