There’s not a business in London which doesn’t rely on Information Technology at some level. While the scope of that technology may vary from a simple small office network linking a handful of laptops to a shared drive and a printer, through to multi-nationals with 100s of end users and elaborate hybrid cloud solutions, they share some common challenges.

One of those challenges for businesses across the entire spectrum is how to find the right kind of local, London-based Managed IT Services that enable them to concentrate on their main business activities, safe in the knowledge that information security, software and hardware are being taken care of.

But when there are literally hundreds of IT support companies out there vying for business, finding one that’s the right fit can be an impossible task.  So how do you find the right IT support for your London-based business? We’ve outlined five areas we think every business owner should consider before engaging an IT Support provider

1:  Understand your internal resource – and where it’s stretched

It’s often tempting for business owners to think they have all their IT bases covered by their internal teams, but, depending on the level of IT staff, there’s often a disconnect to be found between IT on the ground and the wider business goals.

Often, internal resources are exhausted managing the day-to-day requirements of the business. Providing support to end-users with localised issues, or maintaining updates & patches often comes at the expense of being able to take a longer-term view.  The right choice for businesses in this situation is unlikely to simply be a case of adding more frontline staff. Aside from the obvious cost of IT Support staff in London, a better use of resources may well be to seek C-level IT thinking from your IT Services provider to ensure that longer-term performance isn’t lost in the day-to-day.

2: Look for the business angle

IT experts are too often seen as “outsiders” by the rest of the business. Whether that’s through deliberate positioning by the IT team to protect themselves from office politics, or because of a diminished view of the value of IT within the organisation, the truth is that this kind of division rarely helps when problems arise and need the attention of multiple stakeholders.

Being able to look beyond the purely technical, to solutions that address the wider business priority should be a key skill for any IT support resource, whether internal or external: Your IT support people need also to be business people.

3:  Understand the “true” value of your IT

Providing IT Support in London is a competitive business, and it’s not unusual to see quoted costs for support varying dramatically from one provider to the next.  We’re all tempted by a good deal, but to engage an IT support provider based solely on their rates is a dangerous game to play.

The majority of businesses are absolutely dependent on their IT systems being operational 24/7. The cost of ANY downtime, in terms of custom lost, or staff sitting idle can quickly outstrip the savings made from a cheap support contract. Finding the right balance between investment in IT assets, support and maintenance and strategic advice may be difficult to value in terms of ROI in pounds and pence, but weighed up against the reality of system outages and associated opportunity costs, that value soon becomes apparent.

4: Don’t surround yourself with “yes” men

The worst kind of IT Support provider, in our eyes, is the kind that simply does what’s asked of them. IT is a fast-moving environment and what may have been best practice a year ago, may well not be now. Security threats are constantly evolving, connectivity and storage demands can also change rapidly, so simply maintaining a status quo is a sure-fire way of introducing risk.

As a client, you don’t always know what you don’t know. So while you may think you have the right systems in place for your requirements, chances are, things have moved on. A good IT Support provider will be aware of any changes in best practice and will proactively be looking at ways to ensure your systems not only your immediate requirements, but have scope to continue to do so as your company grows, or its requirements change.

5: Talk to people who are happy to talk – and to talk your language

It can be daunting picking up the phone to discuss IT requirements if IT isn’t your area of expertise. IT Support providers worthy of the name should be able to recognise that and talk to you about your challenges and solutions to them in “real world” terms.  They should also be able to guide you through the technical jargon and help you make informed decisions about the kind of support you need, and the technologies you should invest in.

Need a fresh approach to your IT support?  At Conosco, we combine strategic thinking and technical expertise to ensure our clients gain the maximum advantage and value from their IT investment.  We take a business-first approach to all our projects, ensuring that our clients get the best possible guidance and service for their business needs.  And we’re always happy to talk.

If any of the above points felt a little too close to home, or you simply need a sympathetic ear to talk through your IT challenges, please get in touch via the “Contact Us” page.