Changing IT providers can be an unwelcome prospect, especially if you are in the middle of a project with them, or have a long-term relationship that may feel daunting to consider breaking. But changing vendors can be fantastic success story for maximum efficiency, cost-savings and growth of your business in the long run. If you’re stuck waiting for the right time, the fact you’re reading this article may be an indication that the right time is now. Changing IT partners is a short-term conversation, with some fresh faces, that can be low-impact (aka, “hassle-free”) with the right strategic planning and effective implementation. You’re looking for a partner like ActiveCo Technology Management; we have an historically-praised onboarding plan to make changing easier for you and your team.
Why Should You Consider Changing Technology Vendors?
Reason 1 – Your vendors stopped over-delivering
You and your IT provider have a longstanding relationship, maybe an agreement you’re currently “locked into”, and they have more or less kept up with their commitments. But therein lies the problem. Take a closer look at that ‘more or less’ (fairly lukewarm) response when it comes judging the quality of service. When your relationship with a vendor is based on quality assurances guaranteed by SLAs, no amount of familiarity should be enough to cover the distance between ‘acceptable’ and ‘over the moon’ service.
You know the difference between the two.
Ask yourself if the quality of service provided over time has consistently, improved, remained the same as the day you met, or actually regressed. If it’s either of the last two, it’s time for you to seek other options.
Reason 2 – Your vendor is late with deliveries
We understand how difficult it can be to maintain a consistent level of service in these busy times, we’re in the most exciting time in history to be implementing technology for SMB’s…and everyone is a little behind, aren’t they? But if your vendor has made a habit out of missing deadlines, or delays in resolving issues – it may severely affect your own quality of service. Consequent slips of delivery commitments need to be addressed, the underlying reasons understood and resolutions implemented right away. If the issues continue, or you notice no improvement in response times over long periods when you have made it clear you expect better efficiency – it may be time to look elsewhere.
If the issues persist, assume that they are telling you quietly that they have no strategic process for delivering your expectations to you. And move on.
Reason 3 – Your vendor may be fraught with internal problems
Other signs of inconsistency are subtler and can only be noticed with careful attention. Frequent changes in your account manager (advisor, vCIO), senior management or even suppliers denote an inconsistent business practice that does not bode well for consistent service over time. While periods of change and unrest are quite common in business, it should not become a distinguishing feature of your vendor.
The IT industry is known for turnover, but the right managed services company that has processes and procedures in place (hey, that’s us!) can easily counteract this by attracting and retaining the right talent, while mitigating the effects of changeover by simply following their process.
Reason 4 – Expectation and cost mismatch with agreed upon commitments
This is one of the top reasons why companies switch vendors far more frequently that they wish to. In a hurry to close the deal, many vendors promise the moon that they are then unable to deliver on. Your agreement with your vendor is based on the vendor providing services at a pre-determined cost. Changes in cost of service over time are expected, but there shouldn’t be an enormous mismatch between agreed upon and revised costs. Also, you should be wary of repeated minor changes in cost that come without explanation or justification.
More importantly, however, you should vet your vendor to check if they are indeed capable of delivering the promised services. Ideally, you and your vendor’s understanding of the scope of work should be completely in-line. Miscommunication or lack of communication should not be a reason behind delay in delivery.
Reason 5 – Lag in key communication
Your vendor has an incurable problem in communicating in time or with sufficient clarity. Communication problems can arise out of a number of reasons, including but not limited to technical problems, language barriers, cultural barriers etc. But they can also be an indicator of inefficient processes and deliveries that simply don’t meet your expectations. Sometimes, vendors will have a single dedicated person to handle sales, marketing or finance who is highly proficient, but the rest of the technical team cannot communicate on time or with clarity. If the issues persist and result in habitual inefficiencies, they can be cumulatively detrimental to your business in the long-term.
ActiveCo exists in response to a technical education system that trains technicians to “fix the problem”, but leaves out critical business acumen and communication skills. Our ongoing “continuous improvement” assures services and communication are constantly improving.
Reason 6 – Your vendor does not contribute to your long-term growth
This is an often-overlooked factor that again harks back to the question of familiarity, and what makes ActiveCo the preferred technology partner for SMB’s looking to scale their business, attract and retain the right talent and grow their brand. If you are reasonably satisfied with the services of your vendor, you might be reluctant to change. But your business deserves not just premium quality of service, but also forward-looking vendors who are genuinely excited about your relationship, and are always looking for opportunities for mutual growth. Without that competitive edge and hustler’s mindset, your business can grow stagnant and plateau at a respectable level – not grow beyond.
Plan to minimize costs and redundancies when switching Vendors
Planning for supplier change is crucial. Any change involves cost and resource reallocation, and your COO or leadership team may not have the time to put into this. The “hassle” of change can be minimized with proper planning and implementation. The long-term benefits of the changes will outweigh the costs manifold in the future. Supplier change should always be a strategic move that can be implemented in the short-term with the least risk of fallout and redundancies.
Ensure that there are one or more specific business objectives behind the change. Chalking out your desired outcomes prior to the change can help you design impactful SLAs that drive a real difference in the quality of service to your business. You should take the time out to clearly spell out your requirements (functional, technical and commercial) with as much detail as possible. This will help you pinpoint the most relevant vendors who can match and deliver on your requirements and also help in the subsequent implementation of the vendor with your existing systems.
You should also clearly demarcate the resources required for or made redundant by the change (including manpower, technologies etc.), budget and base your vendor selection criteria on the above. Higher cost savings in-house can enable you to opt for the services of renowned suppliers with assured quality of services for only a slight cost difference. You can and should ask potential vendors as many questions as required to ensure a complete match with your specific requirements.
Once you are clear on your requirements and budget, it’s time to choose your vendor. ActiveCo Technology Management’s IT Support Vancouver has been a reputed supplier of IT Support in Vancouver for decades, and we have the clientele to prove it.
Are You Ready to Switch IT Support Providers?
We know you’ll review more than just ActiveCo, in fact, we insist. Go talk to our competition and get an understanding of what they offer and what they charge. You’ll quickly see that we “all sound the same” in the first conversation. The differences will come with nuance, and who you trust will actually be able to deliver the service they’re describing. Cost will be a major factor you will always have in the top of your mind, but try to put that on the back-burner until you have a “gut feeling” about the partners you’ve been introduced to.
Ask as many questions as possible. This is our first advice to companies looking to engage a new vendor to provide IT services. IT tasks are business critical and the ideal vendor should be looking to grow your business in the long-term, not simply tick a checklist of services. This is why it’s incredibly important to establish a smooth rapport with your managed service provider before you bring the team on-board. It’s very important for you to know exactly who they are, the people (experts) the team consists of and their respective industry experience, how long they have been in the business, the industries in their client roster and the results they have driven for them.
You should also have bird’s eye clarity of their onboarding (the exact processes involved in implementing the change), be comfortable with the vendor’s way and frequency of communications and be confident in the vendor’s technical and business ability to grow with yours. Don’t be shy of the sales representatives either, they can be indicative of how the company does their business. Pushy sales rep? They likely need to churn through business like crazy to make up for their constant losses. This is a business that believes in constant “new business” but not have processes and service mandates in place to retain your business. Do not be afraid to go at a granular level and check for accountability and processes in case of emergencies, so you know exactly who to approach and what processes get activated if a crisis hits.
As a managed IT services Vancouver company – ActiveCo has been a trusted name in the managed IT services space for decades. Feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation and see how we can help you take your business to the next level.