In today's business world, choosing the right IT partner can be key to a company's success. It is important for managers that their IT partners are reliable, professional and respond to calls on time. In this article, we will look at the top 5 criteria that you should pay attention to when choosing an IT partner.
1. Quick access to IT support (be on short notice)
Quick access to IT support is more than just a convenience—it's an essential part of running a successful business. In many market sectors, the speed of response of IT support can directly affect the company's reputation, turnover and customer trust.
Why is it so important?
- Minimizing downtime:Whether you work in e-commerce, finance or manufacturing, every hour of system downtime can cost money. In the case of an online store, this means lost sales; in the banking sector, this means a loss of customer trust.
- Customer Retention:Customers expect your service to be available at all times. Long waits or frequent problems can increase customer churn.
- Employee performance:If your systems don't work, your staff can't work either. This leads to lost productivity and increased costs.
How do you know if your potential IT partner provides quick access to support?
- Reaction time: Check with your potential partner to see what their standard response time is for inquiries. Good companies provide guarantees on response speed.
- Availability of communication channels: It is important that the IT partner is accessible through different channels - phone, email, chat, ticket systems.
- Availability of 24/7 support: Ideally, your IT partner should provide XNUMX/XNUMX support, especially if your business operates globally.
- Feedback from other clients: Try to get feedback from your partner's current or past clients about how quickly and effectively the company responds to problems.
Example: Imagine an airline whose ticket reservation system has crashed. Every minute of downtime in this case can lead to the loss of thousands of reservations, which in monetary terms can translate into huge losses. Such companies need quick access to IT support to minimize losses and maintain customer trust.
2. Soft skills (ability to communicate with a client)
The technical expertise of IT professionals is certainly important, but soft skills, or soft skills, are becoming increasingly valuable in the dynamic world of business. In the context of IT partnerships, the ability to communicate effectively with the client can be a key factor in successful cooperation.
Why is it so important?
- Understanding customer needs:IT professionals with strong soft skills better understand their customers' needs and can more quickly find solutions that meet those needs.
- A bridge between the technical and business worlds:IT professionals are often required to explain complex technical concepts to non-technical people. Good communication skills allow you to do this in a clear and accessible way.
- Conflict Management:In any business partnership, misunderstandings or disagreements may arise. Specialists with developed soft skills cope better with conflict situations, finding constructive ways to resolve them.
How do you know if your potential IT partner has the necessary soft skills?
- Feedback from clients: Reviews and recommendations from past and current clients can provide insight into an IT company's communication skills.
- Personal communication: Before starting cooperation, talk to company representatives. This will help you evaluate how attentive they are to your requests and how clearly they can convey information to you.
- Cases and presentations: Watching presentations or analyzing case studies carried out by a company can give an idea of how capable they are of presenting information in a simple and clear manner.
Example: Let's say you are the head of a company and are faced with a data security problem. A technician with good soft skills will not only be able to quickly resolve the issue, but also explain to you why it is happening and suggest ways to prevent similar situations in the future, using clear, non-technical language.
3. Professionalism (they look at real actions and results. Certificates are not important)
Certificates and licenses can provide some insight into the qualifications of a specialist or company. However, in practice, professionalism is often determined not by pieces of paper, but by real actions, results and work experience.
Why is it so important?
- Practical experience:Real work with specific projects and tasks in different conditions provides much more understanding and skills than theoretical courses.
- Adaptability:Professionals who are practice-oriented are often more flexible and adaptive to changing conditions or unexpected problems.
- Customer centeredness:Real results usually mean focusing on the needs and interests of the client, and not just fulfilling formal requirements.
How to determine the professionalism of your potential IT partner?
- Portfolio: Review the company's completed projects. Assess their complexity, scale, and real benefit to customers.
- Reviews and recommendations: Feedback from past and current clients can provide insight into the quality of work and customer treatment.
- Communication skills: Professionalism also manifests itself in the ability of a company or specialist to effectively communicate with a client, understand his needs and offer optimal solutions.
Example: Let's say your company has a need to create a complex CRM system. A development company with brilliant certificates can promise a fast and high-quality solution. However, another company that does not have such shiny papers, but has experience in successfully creating and implementing similar systems for similar businesses, will likely turn out to be a more reliable and understanding partner.
4. Personal recommendation as a guarantee of trust
In the business world, especially in the IT field, reputation plays a key role. Personal recommendations from colleagues, partners or other entrepreneurs can be a decisive factor when choosing an IT partner.
Why is it so important?
- Proven experience:When a certain specialist or company is recommended to you, it means that someone has already successfully worked with them and is satisfied with the results.
- Risk reduction:By working with a recommended partner, you reduce the risk of encountering unprofessionalism or dishonesty.
- Speed of decision making:With a trusted recommendation, the process of selecting an IT partner can take much less time than with a traditional approach to search and evaluation.
How to use personal recommendations when choosing an IT partner?
- Ask business partners: Reach out to your network of contacts. Perhaps your colleagues or partners have already encountered similar problems and can recommend trusted IT specialists.
- Assess the context of the recommendation: Specify under what conditions and for how long the recommender collaborated with the IT partner. This will help you understand how relevant the recommendation is to your situation.
- Use professional networks: Platforms like LinkedIn, hh.ru often contain reviews and recommendations that can be useful when choosing a partner.
Example: Imagine that you are looking for a company to develop a mobile application. You can spend weeks analyzing the market and studying the portfolios of different developers. However, if your close business partner recommends a company with which he has successfully collaborated on a similar project, this will greatly simplify and speed up your choice.
5. Transparent and understandable reporting
One of the key aspects of effective cooperation between company executives and their IT partners is clarity and transparency of reporting. Let's figure out why transparent and understandable reporting is so important and what it should look like.
Why is it so important?
- Project control:Reporting allows managers to monitor the progress of a project, monitor its milestones, and ensure that everything is going according to plan.
- Understanding Costs:Clear reporting provides a clear picture of where investments are going, helping you make informed financial decisions.
- Management of risks:If problems arise, transparent reporting allows you to quickly identify the causes of delays or problems and take corrective action.
What does effective reporting include?
- Regular reports: Constant information on the progress of work, for example, weekly or monthly reports.
- Detail: Each report should contain information about the work done, time spent, resources, and any difficulties encountered or changes to the plan.
- Graphs and charts: Data visualization makes reports more understandable and visual, making it easier to perceive a large amount of information.
- Constructive feedback: Reports should focus not only on successes, but also on problems, suggesting ways to solve them.
Example: Let's say your company ordered the development of a new IT system. Instead of waiting until the end of the project and hoping that everything will go smoothly, you receive regular reports with clearly defined work stages, time spent on each task, and an analysis of possible risks. This not only strengthens trust in the IT partner, but also allows you, as the customer, to be aware of all the details of the project and, if necessary, adjust it.
Choosing the right IT partner requires careful consideration. The given criteria will help managers make a thoughtful and correct choice, ensuring maximum efficiency and reliability of IT support for their company.