There is a fine line yet a noticeable difference between an IT vendor and IT partner. An IT vendor will provide you with the necessary technical services you require to “keep the lights on”, while an IT partner will meet your immediate and long-term IT needs, invest in the health of your IT infrastructure, and provide strategic guidance to help you navigate the ever-changing and sometimes unpredictable waters of technology. Much like a fine diamond, a true IT partner has many facets and qualities that can be assessed that differentiate it from an IT vendor. These can be measured using the 4 Cs:
What technologies are present in your environment? Is it primarily Windows-based or Mac-based? What kinds of networking technologies do you leverage? IT environments are as varied as diamonds themselves, so it’s important that your IT partner has the industry experience, technical expertise, and vast capabilities necessary to support your unique environment and needs.
An IT partner will be tightly integrated with your organization to help you achieve your business goals by accomplishing your IT goals. Therefore, it’s important that your business cultures align properly. If they are dissimilar, it may cause unwelcomed friction and ultimately result in a breakup.
Are you confident you can trust your IT provider? Your technology is a critical piece of the engine that drives your organization, and by engaging an IT provider, you are entrusting them with the “keys to your IT kingdom”. Even if your provider has good experience and references, check the facts. A true IT partner not only has significant experience and great references, but also:
- Undergoes regular audits to achieve third-party certification
- Conducts thorough background checks on its employees
- Has certified staff and partnerships with recognized industry leaders
Often more important than technical resolution is a constant and open line of communication – the lifeblood that makes the relationship between you and your IT partner successful. Open communication means your IT partner keeps you informed with regard to all aspects of the business relationship, including open or pending technical issues, active projects, and planned or unexpected service outages.
Whether you are considering outsourcing your IT needs for the first time or reevaluating the relationship you have with your current IT provider, the 4 Cs will help you determine if you are set up for IT success. These are essential qualities that can cannot be synthesized and can only be found in a true IT partner.
Below is a free, downloadable 4 Cs checklist that provides additional points and information to help you clearly identify an IT partner:
If you are interested in learning more about the services an IT partner offers, contact Dataprise today.