Whether you’re replacing a current IT managed services provider or exploring outsourcing your technology needs for the first time, you know you need to find a partner who will be proactive, easy to reach and technically able to support the unique needs of your business. The critical conversations that you will be having with prospective service providers are likely to be detailed and intense because you absolutely have to be sure that you are selecting the best of the IT companies in NJ. Reliability, trustworthiness and technology expertise top the list of preferred attributes for technology partners, but is there a way you can predict the long-term fit of your organizations? These 11 questions are a must when you’re searching for a new IT company in New Jersey.

1. What is Your Company’s Background?

Some organizations have a long history as IT managed services providers, with decades of experience upon which to draw. That said, being relatively new shouldn’t necessarily disqualify a potential service provider. It’s more important that you look to the history of the individuals who will be providing the service as opposed to strictly looking at the business itself. The age of the organization and their employees can both speak into their focus on the future and willingness to adopt new technologies as they’re introduced. Speaking of staff . . .

2. Who Will Be My Primary Contact?

Will you be working directly with an account manager, technician or customer service team member? There are no right or wrong answers to this question, you are simply trying to determine whether the organization feels like a fit for your business needs. If your primary users will be technical, it may make sense to bypass frontline staff and have the option to work directly with engineers. A secondary question would be: Who is backup when my primary contact is unavailable?

3. How Do I Submit Help Desk Tickets, and What Is Your Guaranteed Response Time?

Low-priority requests may take several hours or even days to receive a response, but what happens when you have an emergency? If your service provider doesn’t have an easy way to contact them 24/7/365 in the event of an emergency, keep looking! You want to be able to submit help desk tickets in a way that is comfortable for the demographics of your staff, and have a convenient method for checking the status of tickets that were submitted in the past.

4. Is Your Help Desk Staffed Domestically?

Would your team members prefer to work with domestic help desk staff? International experts can be extremely knowledgeable, but it’s important to ask the question so there are no surprises once the contract has been signed. Either way, it’s good to know whether technicians and help desk staff are certified in key vendor software and hardware platforms.

5. Which Services Are Not Covered by Your Contracted Monthly Rate?

Getting a list of services that are not covered is almost more important than seeing what is covered. You might find some things on the “not covered” list that surprise you — like site visits. If site visits, broken or crashed servers or other items are going to be an additional charge, you need to know that information up front.

6. What is Your Retention Rate for Customers In My Line of Business?

Your particular business needs may be unique, but working with IT companies in NJ who are familiar with your line of business can be extremely helpful. Even better is learning whether or not other businesses with similar needs felt that your potential partner was a good fit — and for how long.

7. Which Proactive Maintenance Tasks Are Covered in Your Contract?

Will your prospective partner refresh servers? Replace aging hardware? Run patches on all software platforms? Nailing down precise tasks that should be accomplished adds to your comfort level that your partner will be proactively addressing your needs to maintain a high level of security for your business platforms and your data.

8. What Is Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Strategy?

While exact backup and disaster recovery strategies will vary from business to business, what you’re looking for with this question is an understanding of their “standard” recommendation. Do they offer redundant, regional backups for your data? What is their standard for cloud-based backups of data — syncing every 5 minutes, 15 minutes or only once per hour? What happens if the power is disconnected from your virtual servers? Are there redundancies in place to limit or eliminate service outages to provide business continuity?

9. Does Your Team Have Experience In Our Specific Infrastructure or Applications?

There are some businesses that only use Apple computers, some that stick with Windows — and some that are a mix of both. When you add in the complexities of various endpoints with mobile devices, multiple operating systems, business-issued laptops and tablets, your service provider needs to have a solid understanding of how all your disparate technology can work together harmoniously. If they have deep experience supporting Apple platforms, but you’re a Windows-based shop you may want to find IT companies in NJ that are a better fit for your business. While PCs still hold the corner on the business market with nearly 93% of computers using a Windows operating system, Mac shipments continue to grow and often require a specialized skillset for support.

10. How Will You Help Our Current Employees Adopt New Technology?

A true technology partner provides more than just hardware and upgrades. They take the time to understand your business and make recommendations that will make you more efficient and effective — and that often starts with organizational change. Your trusted IT companies in NJ should be able to dig into your business with you and gain understanding of any roadblocks that might be standing in the way of progress, and make suggestions for how technology and processes can help.

11. What Happens to My Contract As My Business Grows?

You’re not hiring a short-term contractor, you’re forming a relationship that should grow and flourish over time. It’s crucial that you have a solid understanding of what scaling looks like with your partner, so you’re not hit with overage charges or a big shock after growing your business. It might be good to consider putting a sliding scale into your upfront contract that will help cover your expected growth rate over the period of your initial contract.

Finding a trusted service provider may not happen overnight, but the relationship with your partner will grow over time. You need a partner who will take the time to listen when you have a concern and who will be available when you need them. At Techsperts, we take pride in our reliability ratings and our long-term relationships with customers. We care for clients in the New Jersey and New York areas and provide service both over the phone and in your office. To learn more about our service offerings, contact the professionals at Techsperts at 201-262-5066 to claim your free initial consultation.