We know that there can be a lot of fear about switching IT supplier. However, with good management, the process needn’t be at all risky.
In this blog, Paul Sinclair our Service Desk Manager shares his thoughts on the commonalities that arise in people’s thinking when considering switching IT suppliers, the mistakes this can lead to and, most importantly, his insights and experience on how to avoid those mistakes.
Not knowing the current terms of your IT support contract is a lot more commonplace than you might imagine.
However, it’s really important to understand whether there are any tie-in periods or termination clauses or penalties in your existing contract before you think about making a switch – and, especially, before you start talking to your current supplier about switching.
You want to go into the switching process from a position of strength and this requires information. And, ideally, the information should be in writing!
One client we onboarded in recent months was told that they had a three-year contract to run by their incumbent IT supplier. They repeatedly requested to see the contract, but it couldn’t be produced. In fact, the IT supplier was bluffing and there was no contract!
That was great news because it also meant there was no tie-in period. However, we’ve also experienced the reverse situation, where clients wanted to switch but had automatically entered into a new contract because they didn’t stop an auto-renewal.
Typically, we tend to find that the poorer the provider, the longer the tie-in period tends to be…
Solution: Appraise yourself of the contractual facts – are they actually fulfilling their contractual duties? - early on… ideally, before you start talking to your current supplier about switching (more on that next!).
Another common concern we hear from prospective clients when they are considering switching is fear of what might happen if the current IT supplier finds out they want to leave. The idea that the incumbent IT support company might throw a few curveballs or do anything to jeopardise the handover process runs strong.
In our experience, this rarely happens. However, if you are concerned, there are things we can do together to mitigate any problems. The first part of this is avoiding raising any red flags to your current supplier in the first place!
Solution: Tell your supplier you need a copy of the current contract you have with them as part of a risk assessment or auditing process (this is true because we’ll want to run an audit anyway as part of your onboarding process). If you explain that you need a copy of the contract arrangements with current key suppliers for the auditors to see, then you should be able to get the information you need without raising any suspicions.
There’s no need to dance to the beat of someone else’s drum on this. Taking the time to understand your IT estate fully before the handover is really important, so we’ll work together with you to develop a switching plan that works for your organisation.
Solution: We’ll develop a comprehensive plan with you so that you can switch over on your terms – not theirs.
This is a common concern. Many prospective clients think they need to provide us with libraries of device serial numbers and detailed architecture drawings before we can agree to take on their IT.
This isn’t the case! We don’t expect you to have all the information about all your IT systems, devices, networks, and services. That is, after all, what you outsource your IT to an IT support company for!
We’ll gather all the information about your IT estate during the onboarding process, so you needn’t worry or delay.
Our first port of call is usually the incumbent IT supplier. However, it isn’t uncommon to find that incumbent support companies don’t have full visibility of their clients’ IT estates either!
But don’t worry – we are fully prepared, armed, and ready to gather that information for you.
Solution: To help you, we have created a comprehensive Off-boarding form to help your current IT supplier. We even like to speak to your current supplier to get them involved.
We’ll use software to identify all your network devices. We’ll use your HR register and staff interviewing to discover who’s using what. And we’ll look at your licencing arrangements to understand what software and services you have in place.
There will probably be a lot of actions that come out of this discovery phase, but we’ll share all our findings with you, we’ll talk to you about them and we’ll work with you to formulate a plan for them as part of the onboarding too.
We’ve discussed on previous blogs why choosing an IT supplier based on their quote isn’t a great idea. Often, you’ll find yourself exposed to a lot of hidden costs – not least the cost of losing competitive advantage because of poorly performing IT!
We recently onboarded a client who had been told by their existing supplier that they couldn’t afford to support them anymore because the client called the support company too much!
You won’t have these problems with us. We encourage you to call us. And we’ll always be on hand to answer your calls.
But, more than that, you won’t be calling us as much as you call your existing supplier. We take a truly proactive approach to the management of your IT estate. We’ll automate patching. We’ll contact you when our systems alert us to problems. We’ll advise you about how you can do things better and cheaper. We are going to add value to your business. And that’s worth paying for.
Solution: Choose a supplier based on value, not price.
Change is scary. We know this. And a big change to such an important part of your daily operations as IT provision can’t be without its worries.
We are firm believers that effective discovery and planning will identify and address any potential issues and concerns – so there is no need to put anything off if you have planned properly.
However, we know of many companies that find themselves in a sort of paralysis because they are so worried that switching IT suppliers will be painful or disruptive. Organisations will tell us, “but our existing supplier has promised to improve” …and then twelve months later they will come back and tell us, “it’s not changed” or “they’ve got worse”.
Their experience shows that, in reality, it can sometimes be more painful and disruptive to stay. Not only have your teams had to put up with inferior support for an extra 12 months, but your organisation is twelve months behind where it could be in terms of optimising systems and transforming IT services.
Solution: Don’t worry. Switching needn’t be scary. With us, you’re in good hands.