Selecting an IT provider is a major decision for any organization, but particularly for those that are searching for a company to facilitate IT Professional Services. Designed to fulfill a specialized need or goal, IT professional services offer extensive expertise and skill, as well as a highly effective and tailored approach.
Whether your organization is searching for technology professional services to assist you in a large-scale project involving migration, development, software implementation, or any other focus, partnering with a qualified and committed provider will make a world of difference. Not only can high-quality IT professional services companies streamline project processes and reduce stress, but they can also help your organization make informed decisions, stay on track, and remain within budget.
How Do You Choose an IT Services Provider that Suits Your Needs?
So, how do you choose a professional IT services provider that can support your organization in achieving successful outcomes? Being prepared with the right questions to ask during the selection process is key.
Although there are many reputable providers of IT solutions for professional services, your organization must find the one that is a perfect fit for your specific goals, priorities, and needs. What works well for one organization may fall far short of the mark for another, so investing effort into identifying an optimal match is well worth your time.
In order to help you navigate your decision with confidence, here are five of the most important questions to ask the IT professional services companies you are considering.
- Ask, “What are your company’s competencies?”
One of the most obvious topics to address (preferably early on in your conversations with a prospective provider) is whether their technical strengths are aligned with your needs. You need to be able to understand exactly what type and level of services a company is equipped to provide, especially if you have a complex project ahead.
It is extremely helpful to know about the company’s areas of expertise, as well as any other options they offer in addition to professional services. Also, ask about the specific certifications or qualifications held by their team, and what training they provide to keep their staff abreast of the latest technologies and processes. This information can give you a clearer idea of the provider’s experience level and knowledge, as well as the resources and technical tools they have at their disposal.
For example, if your organization is planning a cloud migration and security is a top priority (as it should be), it would be highly beneficial to work with a provider that has a strong background in cybersecurity. Or, if your organization is undergoing a significant expansion and needs staff augmentation services to assist in complicated onboarding and departmental setup tasks, you would ideally select a provider that facilitates security awareness training, infrastructure services, and the like.
If your organization is in serious need of highly advanced and/or specific technical competencies, do not hesitate to inquire about a provider’s experience in key areas. A provider that is truly dedicated to transparency will be more than happy to share examples of their work, success stories, client testimonials, and other evidence of their capabilities.
- Ask, “What needs are beyond the scope of the services you can provide?”
In addition to knowing what an IT professional services company can offer, you also want to be aware of what they cannot (or will not) provide. Asking this question becomes even more important if you have been offered an inclusive price or fixed rate. You should have absolute clarity regarding what services are included in the price you are paying, and which ones are not. That way, you can avoid any unpleasant mid-project surprises.
For example: Will the professional services team retool your existing tech solutions if needed, to ensure that they can effectively complement new systems or technologies? Do they provide documentation services for the sake of preserving legacy knowledge? Will your organization have access to an incident response team should a major issue arise?
This question gives you an opportunity to spot potential deal-breakers early in the decision-making process, saving you time and energy in the long run.
- Ask, “How will you scale to meet our needs if they evolve?”
Over the course of a project, it is almost always inevitable that certain needs will shift or change. As any experienced project manager will tell you, it is the unexpected obstacles that will truly put your team to the test. So, how can you be sure that your IT professional services provider is ready to handle all the above?
You need a provider with the ability (and willingness) to scale if necessary. Whether it is an unforeseen issue that needs to be mitigated or a new opportunity that arises, the ideal IT services provider will be able to keep up with your organization’s evolving needs. Rather than inadvertently placing limitations on your organization’s full potential, the provider should be an enthusiastic and highly capable supporter of your success.
- Ask, “How much flexibility are you able/willing to offer?”
One of the biggest challenges that organizations face in the search for a professional IT services provider is the realization that although pre-built packages and solutions are incredibly common, they will rarely be the perfect fit. Every organization (and project) is unique, and so their professional services solutions should be also.
Unfortunately, despite this, many professional services companies limit their offerings to strictly defined plans or packages. As a result, far too many organizations end up compromising on their needs or overpaying for services they won’t utilize.
You can evade this common pitfall by selecting a company that values personalized service above all. The best IT professional services providers are those that take the time to understand what their clients need, and then carefully consider how they can shape their services accordingly. It should be a back-and-forth conversation that prioritizes your needs and the precisely tailored solutions that actually fit your short- and long-term goals.
- Ask, “How do you view the role of the client in a project?”
There is not necessarily a “right” answer to this question, as it largely depends on the role your organization wants to have in any given project. For example, your organization may want to take a largely hands-off position, allowing the provider to be fully in charge of the project. On the other hand, you may want to be highly involved at every stage. The main purpose of this question is to make sure that both parties are on the same page, so that an effective relationship can be developed.
Regardless of the specific role you hope to take, the most successful partnerships are generally those in which the provider and the client exist as collaborators. A provider that takes this approach is often one that will also facilitate open communication, be receptive to feedback, and so on. Overall, a collaborative relationship can open the door to your organization achieving outstanding success – and feeling fully supported and empowered along the way.
An Essential Tip for Selecting a Professional IT Services Company
Beyond the important questions to ask IT companies you are considering for professional services, a critical indicator of the quality and values of the company is the questions they are asking you.
In the selection process, an excellent provider will be focused on learning as much as possible about your organization, projects(s), goals, and needs. Their questions can be significant in revealing how knowledgeable they are about your industry, the parameters of your project, and the outcomes you are hoping to achieve.
Do they truly understand the “what” and “why” of your organization’s goals and needs? More importantly, did they even ask about those topics at all? Does the conversation suggest that the provider is looking to create a solution aligned to your goals, or that they are solely focused on forcing an easy “fit” with the products they offer? Are their ideas and suggestions meaningful and relevant?
The best-case scenario is a productive conversation in which you and the potential service provider are working towards a shared goal: determining whether they are a well-suited partner who can meet your needs.
Make the Most of IT Professional Services by Partnering with a Trusted Provider
Perhaps most importantly, the relationship you establish with your IT company will be the foundation on which you build your future success. As critical as expertise and skill may be, equally essential is the provider’s commitment to support your organization at every stage of a project or task. Ultimately, your organization does not simply need an IT services provider, it needs a partner in technology and innovation.
As always, feel free to contact us anytime – we’re always happy to help.