As I speak to prospective clients, one reoccurring theme I hear is their reluctance to change their IT provider. I get it: No one really likes change. Even worse, changing something that most folks are already uncomfortable with compounds the feeling. Businesses depend so heavily on technology these days that even the thought of an outage or major problem sends chills down our spines. So we think that the less we deal with technology issues, the less likely we are to create a problem. “Just don’t look at that server and hopefully everything will be OK!”
As a business owner or manager, you may also believe that since a particular contractor has a history with your company (and the ongoing problems), he or she is the only one who can keep you running. Maybe you think that your systems are so established that having someone else come in is a bad idea – you’re better off keeping the contractor you have now, no matter how you feel about them.
Let’s have a reality check.
If your systems are in this state and a contractor has you held hostage to their services, you’ve got to fight to break free. You have a choice, and it isn’t a scary one.
There is nothing good about a situation where you are less than happy with your contractor. If you are taking too much of your staff’s time to keep the contractor in check, you are costing your company money. Technology is a tool. Like anything else, if the tool isn’t working as it should, get yourself a new one.
But let’s address some of the valid concerns that folks have when deciding to switch IT providers. These are the first steps in breaking free from your contractor relationship:
- Know your network passwords. You as the business owner or manager have the right to know all passwords. Don’t accept any excuses from your contractor; demand to have them. Specifically you should have the network administrator’s password as well as the admin login for any network equipment. These are the most critical pieces of information. With these, a new provider can come onboard without a major shake-up.
- Control your domain name and DNS. The account, whether with GoDaddy or any other domain hosting provider, needs to be in your company’s name. Of course, you can have your web design folks or marketing company manage the account, but you need ultimate control. Having to reclaim your domain from a disgruntled IT contractor is a long and painful process.
- Keep an inventory of the software you have purchased. All major network software, such as server operating systems, Office Volume Licenses and others, should be registered in your name. Your provider can manage your licenses through its reseller portal, but the licenses need to be in your name. You should also ask for a listing of MS agreements from time to time. Should you change providers, your new provider can arrange to move your license agreements into its management portals.
- Avoid repeated Band-Aid fixes to major system problems. If you have reoccurring software or hardware issues, go ahead and get them resolved the right way. By repeating temporary fixes, you'll fall into a trap of believing your current provider is the only one who can keep you running. In fact, if the contractor fixes the problems properly, you should be able to move on quickly and be ready for the next technology task.
These are just a few ways to keep from becoming a hostage to your current IT provider. The most successful companies are agile and can react quickly to improvements.
I have heard many stories of companies feeling stuck with their current provider. Make an effort to addresses these topics. If you’re not getting the service you need, the switch can be much smoother than you imagine.
Take control of your company’s technology needs and get the right IT provider for you.
There’s a reason why so many organizations look to Atlantic Computer Services for the IT support they need to grow their business, and that’s because ACS provides honest, reliable, knowledgeable and friendly service. The company's goal is to serve as a technology partner, offering solutions that are affordable, uncomplicated and in the best interest of each individual client. Learn more about ACS, its services and its people at www.acs-ilm.com, or call (910) 799-6538.