Article Tags : Computer Hardware . Internet . internet technology . IT . IT vendor . small business IT vendor
As you are starting your own business you will find that your need for a good IT vendor is great if you are looking to save money and at the same time keep your operations flowing smoothly. Choosing an IT vendor can seem daunting when starting your own business given the number of vendors out there and the cost of services for each vendor. Especially when you are on a limited budget, you may be hesitant to select a vendor. But there a a few steps to take to find a good IT vendor that is cost effective. Take a look.
Step 1 Evaluate maintenance and support
Maintenance and support will be an ongoing feature of any IT vendor. You need to be sure that you get the best deal and have the standard services. These include help desk support, time scaled responses to queries, general support for your firm in your geographical region, a service level agreement (SLA) that has escalation procedures should there be an outage, and a web based support portal that allows you to download any updates and patches. All of these must be included in your maintenance and support contract to make the value of an IT vendor’s service worthwhile.
Step 2 Get good implementation assistance
To set up your network or to install new software to help your business run more efficiently, a good implementation assistance program is essential. Such a program includes consultancy services, project management, software system installation, system analysis and testing, legacy conversion from the old system to the new one, and a metric reporting system to measure the success of the implementation.
Step 3 Ask about user training
This is by far the most important step. You and your employees need to have a flexible training course(s) in place so that everyone is cross trained on all aspects of the It initiative once a system is implemented. Training courses can be via CBT, DVD, or the Internet. Training manuals are also critical to obtain when possible.
Step 4 Check documentation
A good IT vendor will provide all necessary documentation on their system. Be sure that the documentation is easy to read and simple to follow, is cross referenced and indexed, and contains specific output screens, error messages, reports samples, and the corrective steps required in the event of malfunction.
Step 5 Follow up on accreditation and regulations
For the most part most IT vendors should follow the International Standard Organization (ISO) 900x series including ISO 9001. If the company does not have a particular outline for these standards you may want to look elsewhere for some industries as it is expected by government mandates.
Remember, a good IT vendor should reduce your operational costs and increase the value of your business. Please visit stepsto.com for more great business advice.