If your business is undertaking a digital transformation, expanding into a new market, or upgrading outdated technology, you will need the support of robust IT infrastructure.
The thing is, selecting the right vendors and implementing the right technology isn’t always easy, especially as the IT marketplace becomes increasingly varied and complex.
“We live in the digital era—using mobile devices to create, cloud computing to collaborate, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence to improve operations, and data analysis to extract key insights. And that’s just scratching the surface.” – Forbes
Working with a trusted IT partner can take the guesswork out of your business’s technology strategy. For many organizations, forming an IT partnership is a catalyst for large-scale growth.
The far-reaching impact of an IT partner
Connecting with the right IT partner for your business can be game-changing – and here’s how.
There’s no doubt about it – IT is a strategic enabler. Formulating a future-proof IT strategy that’s agile and scalable is critical if your small- to medium-sized business is to compete with larger organizations.
The wrong technology can fast become a time killer. Tedious management can suck up a significant portion of your in-house team’s time. An IT partner can take over or automate things like maintenance and network monitoring, giving your employees more resources to spend on their core responsibilities.
Cybersecurity should be a top priority for business owners. SMBs are hot targets, and cybercriminals are developing increasingly sophisticated attacks. You need robust defenses in place or you are putting your business-critical data – as well as your employees’ and clients’ information – at risk.
Your IT partner can keep you up to date with the latest tech innovations as they hit the market. Cloud solutions and big data analytics are two recent examples that are redefining the way both smaller and larger organizations operate. Incredibly, of the companies that use big data to make decisions at least 50 percent of the time, three in five exceed their goals.
How to choose an IT partner
Here are three steps to follow when choosing an IT partner for your business.
Step 1: Determine the end goal of the partnership
Forming a successful partnership begins with the end goal – what do you want to achieve? Here are a few things to keep in mind when setting a goal:
- What is the goal? Collaborate with key stakeholders to form a clear, detailed description of the project or undertaking.
- What are the fundamental features? Consider any related priorities.
- How will success be measured? Include the key metrics, targets, efficiencies, and capabilities.
- What are the top priorities? Factors like budget and time-restraints can pose issues. Identifying top priorities now can make future decision-making easier.
Step 2: Narrow down potential partners
With a clearly defined goal front-of-mind, it’s time to begin the vendor negotiation and selection process:
- Select around three potential vendors. Ask your network for recommendations.
- Schedule a meeting with each vendor. In the meeting, walkthrough high-level requirements.
- Provide a detailed project description to worthy candidates and request proposals. These proposals should include a description of their service offerings, the cost, the timeline, their team’s structure, and any legal terms and conditions.
Step 3: Make your decision
Review the proposals with your team. Consider how they differ from one another. A top vendor will start to stick out from the pack – that’s when to begin final negotiations.