December 3, 2015

If your business relies on an external IT support company, switching suppliers can seem like a daunting task. You might feel like you’re trapped in a contract or that your data is at risk. Maybe you think it’s just too much hassle and will take too long, hampering productivity. Nobody likes downtime. However, what you don’t realise is that switching IT support companies needn’t be a challenge.

Why are you switching?

There are a number of reasons why you may want to switch:

  • Is your current supplier failing to uphold their end of the bargain?
  • Is the support you are receiving no longer adequate enough?
  • Have you found a better deal elsewhere?
  • Have your business IT services changed?

If your IT support company is not complying to your contract, you need to speak to them immediately. By calmly addressing the issue, you may be able to resolve the issue amicably.

By talking to your IT support company, you might find that you are no longer receiving adequate support because your needs have changed. Did you notify your company that you were expanding? Did you alert them to a batch of new hires or even to letting current staff go? If your IT service needs have changed then you have to accept responsibility. Keep in mind however, you may have to amend the original contract to accommodate these changes.

If you cannot solve your issues through these discussions, check the small print on the contract you signed to see if switching companies is an option. You may learn that you’re locked in a contract for a while longer or you need to pay a cancellation fee to leave early.

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How do you keep control?

If switching is your best option, then you first need to look closely at the elements your exactly IT support company has been helping you with. Do they fix small issues when they arise, such as a faulty laptop? Or, do they play a bigger role, maintaining your website and cloud infrastructure – making your relationship with them critical in keeping everything live. You need to figure out which company resources are stored on computer equipment the support company owns.

At the very least, they will more than likely have high-level access to your company’s IT infrastructure. This would allow them to change vital settings and even give them the ability to lock you out of your own systems – effectively holding your data to ransom. This is important to remember when switching IT support companies – change all of the passwords that your existing supplier has access to.

How do you learn from your experiences?

This may well be the most important section in this article – learn from previous relationships, so you don’t make the same mistakes again. When you’re drawing up a contract, be honest and tell your new supplier what went wrong. Tell them what issues you had. Was the SLA inadequate? Did the old company struggle to cope with your changing needs and fluctuating workloads?

To find the answers to these questions, talk to your staff. By gathering feedback from all across your business, you can create new and improved requirements to help you find a new IT support company. Perhaps you should amend your tender agreement and ask different questions during the interview process, based on the findings.

Do you have your IT documentation?

A great way to help the transition between IT support suppliers (there will be disruptions, it’s inevitable) is to give your new suppliers access to your IT support logs. If you don’t have any onsite, request them from your outgoing suppliers. This will help your new support team identify your most pressing issues and common problems you face – they may even be able to offer a permanent solution.

Another way to make a smoother transition is to have your full IT documentation to hand. If you don’t have any, create some. You should have network diagrams, usernames and passwords, software and hardware inventories, and the original disks for software you still use.

It may seem like a lot of hassle at first, but the more work you put in before you switch suppliers, the smoother the transition will be.

For more information about switching, take a look at one of our recent blog posts, How to Find the Right IT Support Company for Your Business.

If you’re having any IT support issues and need a helping hand, get in touch with the Synextra Support Team today.