What to consider when choosing technology service providers

Posted in Business and entrepreneurship.

Digital transformation is happening, and for many businesses this means a significant growth in the need for collaborative working and partnerships. For small businesses especially, this will involve the support, assistance and guidance of a dedicated technology service provider. They need to find a provider with the skills, knowledge, and expertise to take their business to the next level. The provider could be offering anything from web hosting to mobile app development… and everything in between, of course.

So how can small businesses ensure they’re partnering with the best providers? How can they make sure they work with those providers that will provide effective solutions which bring true value to their business? While it’s important to understand that each business will have its own unique requirements and preferences, it’s also important to realise the notable differences in big business and small business needs. Small businesses will often require slightly different things than their more sizeable counterparts.

Here are 3 things to consider when choosing technology partners for your small business:

1. Response Times

While quick response times and an attractive service agreements are important considerations for even the largest of businesses, these organisations are more likely to have their own in-house technical team, who can bridge the gap between a problem occurring and a solution being offered by the provider. A smaller business may not necessarily have the on-site skills to support a new technology, which means it’s vital to have peace of mind that issues can be resolved quickly to minimise downtime.

2. Scalability

A large business will often be very clear on where it currently is, where it’s going, and how it’s going to get there. However, the route to success may not be quite as linear for a small business, with the potential for detours along the way as new opportunities for growth and development begin to arise. This uncertainty means that it’s important to choose a provider that values flexibility, and is able to offer scalable solutions (e.g. SaaS tools) that can grow with the business, and be scaled back as needed.

3. Supporting Documentation / Training

Implementing new technologies, and making changes to internal processes and ways of working, isn’t always easy. It is, perhaps, slightly easier for larger businesses, who may have greater financial flexibility, when it comes to ensuring that employees have the right training to hit the ground running with new tech. For smaller businesses, however, especially those with little in-house technical support, a provider’s ability to offer documentation and perhaps even brief training can make a significant difference.

Ultimately, when choosing a new technology services provider, small businesses should first take some time to assess their individual business needs. They should be clear on the problems to which they require solutions. At this stage, businesses can begin to research available solutions (and the associated costs), creating a shortlist of suitable products and/or services. While it may be tempting at first to see what’s out there and try to find a way to fit this technology into the business, it is usually best to work backwards, matching business needs to suitable technologies, rather than the other way around.