When selecting an IT service provider for your business, it is essential to ensure that they have the necessary expertise and experience to meet your needs. To do this, you should look for a proven track record in the areas that are important to your company. Knowledge and training are certainly important, but real world experience should absolutely be part of the equation. Ask to see relevant case studies or references from existing customers to get an idea of their experience.
It is also important to understand the customer needs and prioritize investment in excellence accordingly. For example, Wal-Mart values low prices and wide selection the most, while customers value the environment and sales support the least. Managers must optimize specific aspects of their service offering to meet customer priorities and avoid investing too much in underappreciated attributes. When it comes to security, it is essential to make sure that your IT service provider has best-in-class security controls in place.
Laws such as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act may require you to provide reasonable security to confidential information. Understanding how personal information enters, passes through, and leaves your company and who has or could have access to it is essential to assess security vulnerabilities. Finally, it is important to recognize that there is a balance between aptitude and attitude when it comes to selecting an IT service provider. Managers must bring together the basic elements of service design or else they risk destroying their company. As you begin your search, you'll no doubt find a wide range of IT consultants to choose from, but knowing how to narrow down your options can give you the confidence to ask the right questions and select the partner that best fits your specific needs.