How to Distinguish an IT Support Provider From an IT Support Partner

Just like every other business on the planet, yours relies heavily on IT – even if your computer or smartphone seemingly plays a minor role in your day.

Imagine, just for a moment, if that device stopped working. Now, imagine if that happened right when you were about to press ‘send’ on an important contract, or during an online call with your biggest client.

It’s at times like this you reach for an IT support provider, right?

But what if the issue that caused the original crash could have been identified before it became an issue? Is an IT support provider likely to proactively seek that out for you?

Probably not; they’re reactive. An IT support partner, on the other hand, will have had your best interests at heart right from the start and prevented the problem before it ruined your day.

Here’s how to distinguish IT support providers, from partners.

Why this matters

Provider, partner… ah, whatever. You just need people to fix your IT gear when it breaks, don’t you?

That might be the case, but your IT infrastructure needs monitoring and maintaining – constantly. It isn’t a one-off job.

Computers and other devices are always asking for updates because the landscape changes all the time. This is particularly the case with IT security; stand still, and you’ll almost certainly be the victim of a cyberattack in the future.

It’s why we don’t work with our customers on short-term contracts. They’re no use to anyone – just like ad-hoc IT work. Compex IT only works with clients as part of a long-term partnership.

IT partnerships enable support companies like us to:

  • work more closely with clients;
  • identify their priorities;
  • play an active role in achieving their goals;
  • build an infrastructure that grows with their business; and
  • ensure the business is always protected from cybercrime.

But what sets IT support partners apart from mere providers?

An IT partner will work to understand your business

That’s right – they’ll look beyond your hardware and software requirements and ask questions about your business objectives, goals and priorities. Your IT strategy should sit comfortably alongside your business strategy, and you’ll need a partner to ensure that remains the case.

An IT partner will be brilliant at communication

With an IT support provider, you’ll be the one doing all the chasing. Not so, with an IT support partner. They’ll nearly always get there first when it comes to communication. There’ll be no waiting, chasing, or deathly silences.

An IT partner will take data security seriously

When you find a great IT partner, you’ll discover that they’re always up to date with the latest in cybersecurity. They’ll know what threats are imminent, how you can protect yourself, and the best practices staff should follow. You can’t – and shouldn’t – wait for a data breach to happen before acting, but with an IT partner onboard, you’ll never have to.

An IT partner will go beyond the contract

Contracts are necessary but rather dull, aren’t they? They’re also a bit restrictive – particularly if you’re a conscientious IT partner. That’s why those IT firms will go above and beyond the ink on the contract. If a solution requires a different approach or effort which takes them ‘out of scope’, you won’t be billed for it – they’ll just do it.

An IT partner won’t bamboozle you

There’s nothing worse than being on the receiving end of relentless tech talk and acronyms.

If you work with an IT partner, you’ll learn about the stuff you need to be aware of, but you won’t be forced to digest meaningless jargon and industry lingo. Clearly, they’re not there to teach you how to do your job, but it is their responsibility to ensure you’re getting the most from your IT setup.

Conversely, they won’t always push you to upgrade. They’ll take a far more pragmatic, strategic approach and only recommend you switch devices or software when it lines up with your commercial goals and priorities.

If you’re thinking of switching IT support companies, you can download a copy of the 2021 IT Buyer’s Guide here which covers why you should be looking for a partner that thinks strategically, the reasons why business owners and managers like you switch IT providers and why you should be sceptical of all IT support companies (yes, including us)

Compex IT IT Services Buyers Guide