How to Know When You’ve Outgrown Your IT Provider

If your business is growing, then your business infrastructure needs to grow with you. Sometimes, your current providers will be able to accommodate that. Sometimes, however, they won’t. When they can’t, you’ll need to move on. Here are some signs that let you know that you’ve outgrown your IT provider.

They barely meet their SLA.

The most efficient and customer-focussed companies see SLAs as limits rather than targets. In the real world, even the very top companies are going to have the occasional SLA breach. There will also be times when they have to sail a bit close to the wind for a while. For example, most companies have a few points in the year when a lot of people are out of the office.

In general, however, you should expect your IT provider to be meeting SLAs comfortably most of the time. You should also expect there to be an escalation process for high-priority issues.

You’re regularly dealing with add-on charges.

Much the same comments apply here. If a company knows what it’s doing, it’ll scope out a project robustly. In most cases, that’s going to mean reviewing the brief thoroughly with you. This isn’t just their chance to make sure that they understand what you want. It’s their chance to make sure that you understand what you want.

Once everything is clear, a company that knows what it’s doing should be able to give you a realistic price for everything within its agreed scope. Unless there’s a genuine change in circumstances nobody should be coming back to you with add-on charges which should have been included in the first place.

You’re always on hold or being transferred.

There are all kinds of reasons why this should set off loud alarm bells. Two stand out. Firstly, in general, you shouldn’t have to make regular ad-hoc calls to an IT provider. They should be managing your systems so that everything runs smoothly. If there’s a problem, ideally, they should be the ones alerting you to it, not the other way around.

Secondly, if you’re always on hold or transfer it means that your IT provider either doesn’t know how to help you or doesn’t care. In fairness, if they’ve been good to work with in the past, it’s probably the former. Nevertheless, it should generally be a clear warning sign.

You don’t get meaningful analytics.

When you’re a very small company, you probably just know what’s going on. Chances are everyone sits in the same room (usually) or is just a quick Zoom or Slack away. The bigger you grow, however, the more you need meaningful analytics. If your current provider can’t deliver them, then it’s probably time to move on to a new IT company in Orange County.

Nobody can give you strategic guidance.

It’s been years, if not decades since IT was seen as a silo all on its own. Now IT is, or should be, a business enabler if not a business driver. This means that IT needs to be incorporated into all business decision-making. That means understanding it from a strategic perspective, not just a technological one. The bigger you grow, the more important this is likely to become.