So your third party IT company is not doing it for you anymore, huh? They’ve screwed up multiple times and you’ve given them several chances to redeem themselves and now you’re seriously considering switching to another provider. There are lots of reasons why people consider changing IT companies and it’s usually a combination of issues, but here are the top 4 reasons why you may be considering making a change:
1) Bad service – Your IT company doesn’t show up when they say they are going to show up. Or they don’t call you back until 3-4 days later. Lack of integrity and poor communication. The reality is, you can be the smartest IT person in the world, but if you don’t show up when you say you’re going to show up or you’re a poor communicator, you’re going to lose customers. It’s a service industry. That’s why they call it managed IT services.
2) High turnover – Bob is your dedicated IT guy with ABC IT Company. You really like Bob. But then Bob leaves ABC IT Company and you’re assigned a new guy, Dave. Dave is not as nice or as sharp as Bob, but he’ll do. Then Dave leaves. Then you get Jerry. You don’t like Jerry. Frankly, Jerry is a jerk. Now you’re hoping Jerry leaves, which he probably will. But maybe not. Nothing is worse than a rotating door of IT people. It’s chaotic and you waste a lot of time and money.
3) Lots of network problems – You’re not an IT person, but you know something is wrong with the network. It’s slow, you’re constantly getting hit with viruses, you’re having lot’s of outages, problems keep reoccurring, people are complaining, etc., etc. When you ask your IT company about these issues, they just give you a bunch of geek speak, leaving you upset, frustrated, and not knowing what to do.
4) You’ve outgrown your IT company or vice versa – Your company has seen steady growth over the last few years. You’ve expanded, hired more people, etc. But your current IT company is not keeping up with your growth. You ran out of space on your server last week (don’t they monitor that?), a colleague (not your IT company) told you about a new virus going around, or you’re having lots of reoccurring IT issues with no resolution. You’ve grown, but your IT company hasn’t. It’s either that or your IT company has outgrown you and they can’t keep up, and now you’re back at #1, bad service.
There may be more reasons as to why you’re thinking of switching (personality conflict, you feel nickel and dimed, trust factors, etc.). What’s really crazy to me is the amount of pain, bad service, etc., that people are willing to put up with because they are scared of changing IT companies.
I understand though why people think twice about making the switch. Again, 4 reasons:
1) Fear of the unknown or what’s on the other side – You’re asking yourself, “How do I know the new IT company is going to be any better? They all say the right things, but i’ll probably be in the same boat next year so why not just stay where I am?”. Change is always hard, but trust me, not all IT companies are created equal. There are some really good ones out there (like, ahem, yours truly). Do your research, get referrals, or better yet, call us.
2) Fear that the old IT company is going to get mad and do something malicious – They are going to change our passwords, or not give us our passwords, or worse, they are going to delete data. Although this is possible, it’s highly unlikely. In 17 years, I’ve only seen one instance where the old IT company did something malicious. And it wasn’t even that malicious (changed the password of the server without telling the client….we were able to resolve the issue). Most IT companies, although disappointed about being fired, don’t want to burn bridges.
3) Fear that a botched transition is going to look unfavorably upon you – You’ve gone to the boss and explained why you need to switch IT companies. He or she is on board, but now you realize, “what if this transition goes south?”. Now you’re on the hook. This is why doing your due diligence on the new IT company and being prepared is so important.
4) Fear that the transition is going to be arduous and time consuming – You’re thinking, “this is going to take months of time and energy, time and energy I don’t have”. Again, due diligence and planning is the key. The more you do upfront, the easier it will be.
So exactly how difficult is it to change IT companies??? It doesn’t have to be that hard. But there are some things you need to do to minimize your risk:
- During the interview process for the new IT company, the IT firms you interview should have a documented transition/onboarding process and timeline or will provide you with one prior to making a decision. If you ask them and they stumble with the answer…..RED FLAG.
- Once you make a decision, meet with the new IT company to review their detailed transition/onboarding process and timeline and make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Make sure you have all of your passwords documented. If you don’t have them, asking will obviously raise a red flag with the current company. You could always say that your insurance company is wanting you to put together a disaster recovery plan and you need these passwords for your documentation, but it’s probably better to be upfront and just tell the truth (see next bullet). Here’s a short list of passwords you should gather:
- Windows domain admin credentials
- VMware credentials
- Internet Domain/DNS/Registrar credentials
- Firewall credentials
- SQL SA password
- Wireless access point credentials (admin and SSID)
- Managed switch credentials
- Any additional hardware admin credentials.
- Any application admin credentials
- Phone system credentials
- Security system credentials
- Cloud services credentials
- Be upfront with the current IT company. You’ve given them multiple chances and feedback. They know. They don’t like it, but they know. Again, no one wants to burn bridges….unless they are complete psychos. But again, in 17 years I’ve only seen one go south and it wasn’t even that bad.
Do your research, do your due diligence, gather information, and have a detailed plan. It’ll be OK and in the end, you’ll sleep better at night knowing you’re in good hands with a company (like, ahem, yours truly) that knows what they are doing and treats you like you deserve to be treated.