A Guide to Building a Relationship with the Right Provider - Part II

Posted by Lou Person on Jul 08, 2011 in Cloud Journey

The information contained in this two-part guide provides a step-by-step plan to help you build a relationship with the right provider, regardless of whether you are looking to:

  • Outsource your IT functions so you can focus time and resources elsewhere
  • Strengthen or refresh your existing IT infrastructure without tying up capital
  • Access specific capabilities without worrying about technological obsolescence

This documents focuses on everything you need to know to choose the right provider for the job -- as well as detailed information about subsequent steps you can take to keep this valuable relationship on the right track.
Part Two

Step three: do your homework.
Evaluate candidates on the basis of meaningful business indicators. Sure, price matters. But considering that financial insecurity and employee turnover are among the most common reasons IT outsourcing relationships fail, due diligence matters even more. Here are just some of the many types of operational questions you should ask:

  •  How long have you been in business/profitable? 
  • What percentage of revenue comes from your largest client?
  • What is your rate of voluntary turnover and why?
  • Do you have employee satisfaction and retention programs in place? What tools and processes are used?
  • What is your service delivery model?  How are issues reported, tracked, closed and reported?
  • What are the service levels and coverage windows?
  • How often do you conduct customer satisfaction surveys?  What are the historical scores?
  • What is your on-boarding process?  Is a project manager assigned?
  •  What is included?  What is not?  Anti-virus and Anti-spyware?  Email filtering?

Step four: establish service metrics before the start of your contract. Have a quantitative measure of how things are going. 

Follow through by asking your IT Service Provider to report on these kinds of metrics on a regular basis:

  • System up time
  • Tickets and ticket detail.  How many were opened?  Resolved?
  • Support response times
  • End-user satisfaction

In addition, you should expect your Provider to submit documentation that confirms that proactive maintenance tasks are performed on a regular basis to ensure that your network is running well.