As a business owner, choosing an IT services provider is one of the major decisions you will make as your IT partner will be working closely with you and will be your advisor for your company’s technological needs.
So how do you know whether a provider is the right partner for you? How do you choose one from hundreds of IT companies in Singapore? Each company will surely claim to offer the most comprehensive services and the most responsive team there is. Some may try to impress you with technical language and jargon, while others will try to sway you with low price tags. While all their offers may look appealing, there are some things you can do to help you further determine whether an IT company is a good choice or not.
1. Develop Your Own Criteria
You’ll be able to narrow down your options if you have certain qualifications to follow. Some service providers won’t make it to your list for reasons that has nothing to do with integrity or honesty. Do they have enough people to do the job? Have they had this kind of project before? Do they possess the skills needed? Are they a stable company? The answers to these questions are strong determining factors, besides the trust-worthiness of a company.
2. Go for the Right Size
Bigger is not always better. Owners of small and medium enterprises are often drawn into the idea that big names are more reputable and more experienced, which is usually the case though. Bigger IT companies prioritize the big fish, even if it is the small- and medium-sized fish that get trapped in their nets. Usually, the size of the business tends to compare to the services provided. You should choose a service provider with IT experts in Singapore where your business is deemed significant to warrant special treatment.
3. Meet the IT Management Team
Once you have chosen a potential service provider, meet their IT management team. You will be working closely with these people, so it’s a smart move to get to know them first before closing the deal. Are they welcoming, smart, professional and organized people? Are they responsive to meetings and phone calls? Are they customer oriented? Ask for a meeting with the IT team just to get to know them more.
4. Look for Honesty and Transparency
Every IT company has their own weaknesses. It would be ideal to ask your potential IT services provider what their weaknesses are, so that you’d be aware and able to decide whether the issue is a deal breaker or you can work around it. A service provider with no gaps is like a job applicant who believes he has no weaknesses. An honest service provider will openly discuss their weakness and offer to improve them through trainings, realigning resources or hiring specialists for the field.
5. Tour Their Site
It’s a very basic thing to do, but it’s amazing how many company owners do not visit the operational offices of their service providers, whose services they will be spending considerable amounts of money on and who will be their partner for a long time to come. As a smart business owner, visit the office, help desk and data centre of your potential service provider to personally check their facilities and workmanship.
6. Talk to Peers and Colleagues
Your friends and colleagues in the industry you’re in are your great resources for hiring the right service provider in Singapore. Other than reaching out to people you know, you can check out user groups and trade associations to increase your knowledge about outsourced IT services. After soliciting ideas, you will start to notice patterns, and certain IT service companies will emerge. Service providers whose names are not known in the community require closer examination.
7. Contact Some of the Company’s Previous Clients
You should be concerned if your potential service provider can’t provide you with names for references on the spot. Any reputable service provider keeps a list of reference since a solid customer reference is much more effective than any marketing strategy or presentation. Preferably, the reference list should consist of names from senior level managers as they are usually the most knowledgeable people who can tell you the business impact of a service provider. If it takes a while for a service company to provide references, there might be a problem. If in doubt, you always have the option to look for another IT company.
8. Excellent Customer Service
Choose to partner with a company that provides excellent customer service—a company who can answer your queries with a smile and reply to your emails immediately. Some service providers in Singapore have excellent IT support, but their customer service isn’t up to standards. Excellent customer skills are beneficial especially in inconvenient times of technical troubles. Moreover, look for a company that provides more than just troubleshooting IT problems, but also offer advices about new technologies and consultancy services on various tech concerns.
The bottom line is, your IT services provider should not only focus on selling their newest services or flashiest technical package. As with any successful partnership, the focus should be on looking for ways how the two businesses concerned can work together in a mutually beneficial partnership with a shared goal. Searching for the right service provider can be a complex and tricky process; but as long as it is done right, IT outsourcing can prevent business hiccups that can hamper organizational efficiency, growth and productivity.