Fewer and fewer SMBs have their own in-house IT teams at all. Those which do are increasingly keeping them for “value-add” tasks, such as development and leaving everyday “housekeeping” to IT managed services providers. IT support partners are increasingly being used to fill in the gap between them. They deal with the implementation of ad hoc projects and with fixing the problems which inevitably occur from time to time.
Although you probably won’t have as much to do with your IT support partner as you do with your managed services partner, they’re still likely to play an important role in your business. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to pick the right IT support partner in Elk Grove.
Be clear about what you want your IT support partner to do
In the old days, IT support meant “break/fix support”, these days, it’s at least as likely to mean “project support”. Break/fix support is reactive and hence can only be billed in arrears and on an ad hoc basis. When you get to the later stages of your selection process, you might want to check and see what payment terms are offered for break/fix work. Usually, it’s 15 days or 30 days, sometimes it’s 30 days with a discount for early payment.
Project work, however, can and usually should be planned as it can often be purchased via subscription or as a bundle of credits/hours for a discount to buying the same work ad hoc. It is, however, important to note that, for obvious reasons, these credits/hours tend to have to be used within a certain length of time so you need to be careful not to buy too far in advance. You might also want to see if you can negotiate better terms if you can time your projects outside of busy periods (e.g. avoid the time between Black Friday and the January sales).
Some IT support partners now offer some level of managed services as well. This can be a convenient solution if you prefer to keep all or at least most of your IT-infrastructure needs with one provider. It should also mean that if there is an issue, your regular managed services team should be able to communicate very effectively with your IT support break/fix team.
Be clear about what is and isn’t included in any contract
If you’re using IT support purely for break/fix assistance, then you’re simply going to be paying ad hoc prices for ad hoc service. If, however, you’re looking at project support and/or managed services then your most cost-efficient option is usually to go for a subscription and/or bundles of credits/hours. Just remember that subscriptions and bundles tend to cover the sort of mainstream services IT support companies know that most of their customers are going to want. They may or may not cover everything you specifically want, which is why you need to check.
As an added point, you also want to be clear about which legal system has jurisdiction over the contract. If you use an IT support partner which actually is in Elk Grove, then everything should be under California law and under the jurisdiction of your local courts. If, however, you use an IT support partner which just offers services in Elk Grove, but is based elsewhere, then it’s a safe bet that the contract will include a clause which stipulates that the IT support partner’s local laws apply and that any disputes will be handled by their local courts.
Be clear about the terms for on-site support
This is really a subpoint of the one above, but it’s important enough to highlight on its own. Even if you use an IT support partner in Elk Grove, the chances are that most, possibly all, of your support will be delivered remotely. If, however, your IT support partner is actually in Elk Grove (or at least fairly near to Elk Grove, for example, Sacramento), then it’s generally fairly straightforward to get them out to your site if need be. There may be an extra cost for this but it should be fairly reasonable as your IT support partner will only have minimal traveling to do.
If, by contrast, you use an IT support company which is based further away, then they may not offer on-site support at all and if they do the cost will probably go up as there will be extra traveling involved. The extra traveling will also mean that it will take them longer to get to your site in an emergency. That’s assuming that they can reach you at all.
If you’d like to speak to a reputable IT support partner in Elk Grove, please click here now to contact Aperio.IT.
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