Working with a support provider should offer a significant benefit to your business. These benefits are magnified when you integrate the providers range of skills and experience with internal teams.
Here are some questions for your support provider to try to understand what they give you over and above their technical skills.
How do you integrate with internal teams? – the support function should fit seamlessly into the business so that it is not obvious to internal staff that it is outsourced. This will need to be addressed internally by your business but it will also need an appreciation of how your business functions, interacts and communicates by the provider.
How do you address issues before they are a problem? – an ability to solve issues is obviously pretty important but ideally the provider will proactively monitor, manage and mitigate potential problems before they impact the business.
How secure is our infrastructure? – the provider should be able to give useful insight into weaknesses and methods of hardening the environment.
Can you help us respond to security threats? – it is impossible to eliminate all security threats so a process for identifying threats and your response to them is something that your provider should be able to help you put in place.
Can you help to improve our IT? – someone probably said that IT is not a destination it is a journey. There are constant changes in the technology landscape and working with a provider that will keep you up to date and explain the benefits of new and improved technologies will help you maintain business efficiencies.
Can you help us demonstrate compliance? – compliance with legislation, insurance requirements, business processes etc is fundamental to operating a successful business. While this is not wholly an IT function, technology has a large part to play, and your provider should be able to assist with gaining and maintaining certification and compliant processes within the business.
Can you educate our userbase on safe use of technology? – the ability for employees to use technology safely and efficiently is critical to the productivity of the business. Your provider should be in a position to help you train and monitor the use of technologies within the business to minimise risk and maximise productivity.
You should be able to look beyond the basic ability of support providers to fix problems and widen their scope so that they become a significant operational asset to your business.