As I speak to new prospective clients, one reoccurring theme is the reluctance to make a change when it comes to IT providers. I get it, no one really likes change and even worse changing something that most folks are uncomfortable with anyway compounds the problem. We depend so heavily on technology today that even the thought of an outage or major problem sends chills down our spines. So, we think the less deal technology issues the less likely we are to cause a problem. Just don’t “look” at that server and hopefully everything will be OK.
As a business owner or manager, you may also be lead to believe that since a particular contractor has a history with your company (and the on gong problems), that he or she is the only one who can keep you up and running. Maybe you think that your systems are so far gone that having someone else come in is not a good idea - you’re better off keeping the contractor you have now.
I’d like to offer a reality check. If your systems are in this state and a contractor has you held hostage to their services, you’ve got to fight to break free. There is nothing good about this type of situation. It is taking way too much of your staff’s time to keep in check and therefore costing the company money. Technology is a tool. If the current tool isn’t working as it should, you’ve got to get yourself a new tool.
Let’s address some of the valid concerns that folks have when deciding on whether to switch IT providers. These are the first steps in breaking free.
- Know your network passwords. You as be business owner or manager have a right to know therm. No matter the excuses given to you, demand to have them. You specifically need to have the network administrator’s password as well as the admin login of any network equipment. This is the most critical piece of information to have. With this, a new provider can come onboard without a major shakeup.
- Control your Domain Name and DNS. The account, whether GoDaddy or any other domain hosting provider, needs to be in your company’s name. Of course you can have your web design folks or marketing company manage the account but you need ultimate control. Having to reclaim your domain from a disgruntled IT contractor is a long and painful process.
- Keep an inventory of the software you have purchased. The major network software like server operating systems, Office Volume Licenses, etc should be registered in your name. Your provider can manage your licenses in their reseller portal but the licenses need to be in your name. You should also ask for a listing of MS agreements from time to time. Should you change providers, the new provider can arrange to move your license agreements into their management portals.
- Avoid repeated Band-Aid fixes to major system problems. If you have reoccurring software or hardware issues, go ahead and get them resolved the right way. By repeating temporary fixes, you may find yourself falling into the trap of believe your current provider is the only one who can keep you running.
These are just a few ways to keep you from becoming hostage to your current IT provider. The most successful companies are agile and can react quickly to make improvements. I have heard many stories of companies feeling stuck with their current provider. Make an effort to addresses these topics and if you’re not getting the service you need, the switch can be much smoother than you imagine.