Steve, R&D Manager

5 Questions to Ask Before Outsourcing Your IT Management

As an original equipment manufacturer, you’re focused on getting quality products to your customers on time – with competitive pricing. As a result, devoting resources to managing IT tasks can prove inefficient. Partnering with the right IT company can relieve the burden of managing the day to day network tasks such as user support, software issues, equipment and software updates, monitoring network and data security, and performing and verifying backups.

Of course, picking the right partner should be done cautiously. Although basic hardware components can be similar, the specific IT needs of a manufacturing company are quite different than a typical corporate office. To narrow down your selection, consider asking these five questions:

  1. Can the vendor provide references? Ideally, the references would be from businesses of similar sizes and/or industries. Once they’re provided, ask each reference the following:
    – What is the typical vendor response time?
    – Is the vendor professional?
    – How long have you used this vendor for your IT Management?
    – What is the extent of services being used?
    – What is the frequency of unplanned downtime? How is that
    handled?
    – Is the vendor transparent with regards to routine maintenance,
    issue remediation, and long-term planning of network needs?
    – Can you provide examples of projects completed with this vendor?
  2. Does the vendor actively support ongoing education of their team? A professional IT company should be staffed with skilled individuals trained in the latest technology. With technology rapidly evolving, ongoing education is essential.
  3. What type of service level agreement is offered? If you are uncomfortable with the thought of releasing control of your network and data, consider starting by relinquishing simpler task such as managing workstation updates, creating and monitoring backups, or monitoring connectivity while you build the relationship.
  4. Is there a well-rounded staff? By outsourcing to a professional full-service IT company, you should realize the benefit of a professional network engineer, software programmer, database manager, hardware expert, project manager, security officer, and general IT trainer to educate your employees.
  5. Is there a direct contact assigned to your account for quotes and issues? When contracting services from a professional IT partner, they should take a vested interest in your company. Dedicated staff is a key component of a successful partnership.

    By outsourcing IT management, you free you and your team to focus on the core business of manufacturing instead of network issues. Reducing this workload can increase productivity, strengthen your margins, and reduce headaches. By asking these questions, you can ensure that you are choosing the best solution for your company.