Outsourcing IT can come with many benefits, but all too often businesses suffer at the hands of lackluster support providers who fail in their basic responsibilities and struggle to help their clients innovate. Substandard IT support can seriously hamper workplace productivity, with recurring outages and poor IT performance often leading to negative impacts on revenue. If you’ve experienced such a provider, you’ve probably been tempted to switch to someone else, but we know this can often feel like an intimidating prospect.
You worry that the handover process will go awry, with a break in support leading to a disruptive outage. You may even feel concerned that your data with be subject to unnecessary risk during the transition or that the termination of your current contract will lead to ill feeling between you and your existing provider.
The truth is however, that IT companies are well-versed in onboarding new clients, most having completed the process tens or hundreds of times before. Your new provider will likely have a detailed process in place to ensure a painless transition, but there are a few things you can do to help the process along. Here are 5 easy steps to ensuring a seamless migration to a new IT support provider.
1. Find a provider who’s right for your business and reach out to them
The process begins with finding a provider who’s right for your business.
You want a provider with the capacity to adequately serve your business: If you have 50 desktops needing support, seek evidence that a provider has served businesses similar in scale to yours in the past.
Then, consider the industries a provider works with. If you operate in a highly regulated field, seek out a provider who understands the regulatory pressures you’re under, and request examples of clients similar in nature to your business. Client testimonials are also a great way of gauging suitability.
Look for a provider who emphasizes a strong focus on proactivity, and if on-site support is something you’re likely to need then it’s best to choose a provider located in your region, rather than at the other side of the country.
Once you’ve identified a suitable IT partner, reach out to them. Different providers initiate the onboarding process in different ways. It may begin with a simple zoom call followed by a site visit as part of what you might consider the initial ‘discovery’ phase. To ensure your new provider is able to guarantee IT support continuity, inform them of your contract renewal date. This will give them a timeframe to work within, allowing any necessary preparations to be made prior to handover.
2. Start to prepare for the switch
Before the switch, there are a few simple tasks you can perform to guarantee a drama-free transition.
Start by creating a list of all the devices and infrastructure you want to fall under the scope of your new support plan. This can be a good opportunity to incorporate those home-based devices that you were “kinda” using for work purposes into your IT support package. Consider all the office-based and portable devices your team use, even mobile phones and tablets!
Then, assemble a list of the most critical login credentials that your new provider may need for system admin purposes. This might include server admin credentials, router and firewall credentials, office-hosted and cloud-hosted software logins as well as login details for web hosting services and your website domain registrar. If any of this information is in the possession of your current provider, kindly request it, and remember that they have no legal basis to deny such a request: it’s YOUR network!
Lastly, it can be beneficial to possess a network diagram to help communicate the layout and interdependencies present in your infrastructure. If you have one, make it readily available to your new provider, and identify the devices and individuals subject to special permissions and privileges. It can also be helpful to collate software license keys and hardware warranty documents. Although these items may not be required at the outset of the relationship, it’s always good to know where they are and have them to hand if needed.
3. Have your chosen provider audit your systems
Many IT providers offer complimentary technical audits as a means by which to demonstrate how they can enhance and add value to the IT networks of prospective clients. Others include it as a component of their onboarding process. Regardless of how it’s offered, your new provider should be able to perform a technical audit of your systems, covering all on-premises and collocated infrastructure as well as private and public cloud assets. This process could expose vulnerabilities and system defects that your current provider has failed to address and will help your new provider identify network components in need of an imminent upgrade.
4. Begin the offboarding process with your existing provider
Give notice to your existing provider of your intent to switch, ensuring the period of notice given is in accordance with your contractual obligations. This can sometimes seem like a daunting prospect, but most providers will understand that occasionally losing clients is par for the course in business, and will most likely try to facilitate a smooth transition.
You may need to grant your provider access to your premises should they have to retrieve any hardware that belongs to them, and they should be equally willing to grant you access to relocate any of your hardware that they’ve been hosting in their facilities. As mentioned previously, ensure they transfer those all-important login credentials, as these will be needed by your new provider.
5. Inform your team
Make your team aware of the changes that are underway concerning your IT support provision, including the date from which your new provider will take over. Highlight the new contact number for phone support and familiarize your team with the new support ticketing process. At some point, your new provider may want to introduce themself to your team in person. This can be a great way to foster that trust-based human element that all good business relationships thrive on.
Our Zia Networks team connects with and supports our New Mexico businesses.
Let us focus on your technology, so you can focus on your business!
Call us today at (505) 428-6544, or email us at [email protected].