The role of an IT service provider has changed over the years. It used to be that it was enough to just be good with computers and keep them running. IT providers helped determine the IT needs. Helped businesses procure what was needed. Set things up and then, would come fix, upgrade, or put in place something new when a problem arose.
The next iteration was IT service providers doing all of the above but adding proactivity to solve issues before the issues impacted the business. They monitored the IT assets to ensure that everything was working as expected. They helped minimize problems while maximizing your IT investments. The IT service provider helped with the implementation of new technologies like cloud computing and digital transformation projects and managed those environments. Cybersecurity was certainly important and IT service providers implemented the solutions and services to minimize the risks to businesses.
And then, as the world dealt with a global pandemic, technology became critical to the success of almost all businesses. Although work from home or from anywhere had existed for years, it suddenly applied to everyone and almost all businesses and industries. Businesses had to rethink the way they delivered their solutions and services. Cloud computing and digital transformation projects that were scheduled for two, three or four years down the line, now became urgent. Cybercriminals took advantage of this perfect storm and cybercrime exploded.
The IT service provider has evolved as well. They have truly become business partners. Monitoring, managing, and maximizing your IT assets have become table stakes. Today’s IT service provider needs to, first and foremost, understand your business. Your opportunities, your challenges, and your goals. They need to understand how your people work. Where they work from. How they connect and collaborate. Who your clients are and how they consume your services or your products. The data you collect and from whom and for what purpose. Who should have access to that data. They need to understand who you partner with and the impacts they have on your business. In short, they need to have a deep understanding of your business so they can provide the IT services and solutions that will help you achieve your goals and minimize your risks.
So, what should SMBs expect from their IT service provider?
- Regular scheduled meetings to review your business to better understand where you are and where you want to go so they can provide a roadmap of how best to get there from an IT solutions and services perspective. They should also provide you with an opportunity to tell them what is going well and where they need to improve.
- Concise reports on the value they are providing your business. The reports provide the metrics that are important to your business such as uptime, productivity, and security. This gives you the ability to evaluate the work they are doing from a value viewpoint.
- Frequent communications. Regularly scheduled review meetings are critical but the changes to your business and the IT environment are constant. Frequent communications allow for adjustments to address the changes to be made quickly to either maximize opportunities or minimize risks.
- They are constantly investing in their tools, processes, and people to ensure that they can deliver the services and solutions your business needs as it evolves and changes.
These are some of the things SMBs should expect from their IT service provider. At MicroAge we work with our clients to provide the IT services and solutions that meet their needs and evolve as their businesses evolve. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization.