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Latest Blog Post

IT Support

Posted 04 Aug 2010 09:51

Many smaller shipbrokers have little or no in-house IT support, as it’s impossible to justify the cost of hiring a full time “Techie”.  But when even the smallest of network problems can have a major impact on productivity isn’t it prudent to investigate the option of outsourced IT support?

 

A quick search online will inundate you with hundreds of possible specialists – who all offer similar services and promise you low cost solutions for network stability and fast response times.  So just how do you choose the best company?

 

Flexibility on cost – reducing the financial and manpower costs associated with IT is a big reason for outsourcing.  So look for a provider with flexible pricing options - rather than a full time IT Support contract you may need an ad-hoc "pay as you go" service, or if you have a ‘Super-User’ in-house who already provides a basic level of maintenance then a more complimentary service may be applicable to your needs both technically and cost-wise.  A good outsourced support specialist will be able to tailor their service to meet your needs precisely.

 

Location, Location, Location - while hardware can be supported remotely you still need to know that if there is a problem the engineer can be on-site fast; after-all downtime costs you money.
So always check they have actual engineers available in your location. 

 

Get a referral – if you are putting your network stability in their hands then you need to see proof that they can carry out tasks effectively.  Don’t be seduced by a long list of named referrals – what you want to see is referrals specifically from long-term clients, as their ability to retain clients speaks volumes.  Also you should ask to speak directly to the referral.

 

‘Sorry we don’t support that...’ You don’t want to hear that over the phone from your outsourced IT support when you have downtime.  Ask them about their flexibility – again ask for examples.  Will they for instance talk to your ISP, or simply shrug their shoulders and say it’s not their job!  Lastly, check the contract SLAs – you don’t want to be hit by nasty hidden surprises that could leave you without vital tools when you need them

 

Good outsourced IT support can provide small businesses with cost savings and increased productivity – by keeping these simple points in mind when you do your research you’ll find the company that suits you.