7 mistakes people make when choosing their IT vendors and other types of technology providers
Organizations of all sizes outsource some aspect of their business-technology needs, particularly their IT support, website development, and digital marketing services.
When we assess vendors to determine if they are a good fit for our small business clients, we confirm each technology pro has the “3 C’s”;
- Competence (technical skills)
- Customer service (communication and relationship building skills)
- Commitment (ready to take on additional clients)
This framework helps us understand the experience they have in serving small-to-medium businesses across a variety of industries.
Being aware of the following seven common blunders when choosing a technology service provider can help you find peace of mind, save time, avoid costly mistakes, and outsource like a pro.
1. Choosing the cheapest solution (which means you prioritize low price over quality).
Simply put, value costs more. If you decide on an IT firm that offers the lowest rate, it doesn’t mean you will pay the lowest overall cost. The lowest price per hour may be tempting, but it may not include project work, emergency help, hardware costs or other support. It’s also highly possible the cheapest service providers are not as experienced, not as skilled, and do not manage projects properly. Look for a reasonable price combined with knowledge and high quality.
2. Hiring the first technology provider you meet.
It’s tempting to hire the technology provider closest to home or the first IT pro you find on Google. This decision requires more time. Take the time to interview and compare at least a few IT firms or web developer agencies before picking the best match for you.
*PRO TIP: When in doubt, use a marketplace and expert outsourcing service that has already done the research and analysis, so you don’t have to.
Take a look at a TechStak vetted provider profile to see how you can quickly view relevant information on trusted vendors in our provider network.
3. Choosing a tech pro with the wrong specialty or area of expertise.
Some IT vendors specialize in managing your entire network and security while others specialize in cloud services and telecom. Some might be best for specific industries that need to meet industry compliance and manage risk, such as healthcare and financial services. Be sure to understand a technology service provider’s strengths and weaknesses before signing on the dotted line.
Try out our IT Vendor Scorecard to normalize and compare what’s most important in your decision making. It’s part of our Vendor Outsourcing Toolkit.
4. Not asking about credentials.
To give up-to-date tech advice, managed service providers will have passed industry tests and have certifications. Ask your IT vendor about their credentials. Some may have certifications in network engineering, cybersecurity, and ethical hacking or be Microsoft certified to name a few.
As for digital marketers, they will have certifications in Google Analytics and Google Ads as well as content marketing. Web developers may have the following types of certifications based on their chosen area of expertise: Microsoft developer certifications, Amazon Web Services (AWS certified developer), Adobe Certified Developer, and other web development professional certifications.
5. Not paying attention to skills and technologies needed for your project or solutions.
You’ll want and need to know what approaches will be necessary for your project or the technologies required to support your ongoing needs. Look for a company that will advise you on the best technology stack. Pay attention to their skills and the technologies they use so you are not stuck with a company that uses obsolete solutions.
*PRO TIP: Ask how they stay up to date on the latest tech and trends.
TechStak vetted providers earn their digital badges when they become a vetted provider and for their areas of expertise. Look for these badges and the #TechStakExpert marks.
6. Not understanding fees, contracts, or out-of-scope services.
Some IT vendors are “fee only”, and charge fixed rates. Other IT firms may offer packages while others offer monthly contracted services. It’s important to understand what you need and what it will cost for ongoing support, projects or out-of-scope work, and even emergency work.
*PRO TIP: Have an understanding of the scope of your needs and your available budget.
Learn more about pricing models and how to budget for what you need in the Vendor Outsourcing Playbook, part of our step-by-step Vendor Outsourcing Toolkit:
7. Hiring a tech pro who pushes their own agenda versus understanding yours.
Compatibility is a must have. Make sure you have clearly defined and communicated your needs to remain strategically aligned with your third-party technology vendors. If your tech provider is constantly pushing their products on you, and can’t match them up to how they help or move your business forward, then it’s time to find a new vendor who can.
*PRO TIP: If a vendor is not meeting your needs you have every right to terminate the relationship. See our tips on How To Survive Switching IT Service Providers.
Trying to hire an outsourced IT vendor on your own can be daunting.
Use TechStak as your free tech partnering coach to find the right IT service providers. You’ll save time and resources by leveraging outsourcing experts with a proven methodology that have your best interests in mind.
TechStak makes it easy to find the right IT, cybersecurity, website developers or digital marketers near you. Our exclusive no cost tool matches you with up to three local vetted tech providers that have passed our robust contractor evaluation process that includes a detailed checklist.