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Is Your IT Technician a Partner – Or Just a Computer Mechanic?

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Secrets to Finding a Great IT Consultant – Part Eight

Being a computer consultant is about more than just fixing computers. It’s about helping a business run smoothly and efficiently. It’s about improving productivity, boosting profits and elevating your customer service efforts.

How can a consultant do all these things without truly understanding the nature of your business? The answer is simple: they can’t. A person can’t be qualified to recommend solutions without first understanding the problems.

It’s hard to underestimate the importance of this demand. You could have found the most brilliant technician; but if he doesn’t understand the nature of your business or lacks the right business skills, you won’t get the most from your technology investments. That’s why it’s critical to find a technician who either has substantial experience in your industry or is willing to spend the time to learn about the inner workings of your business.

Here are nine questions to ask yourself to determine if your technician is truly a business partner, or just a “computer mechanic”:

• Do they dig to uncover the source of the problem, or do they only look […]

By |March 23rd, 2015|Helpful Advice, Hiring for IT|1 Comment

Two Big Reasons Why Your IT Consultant Should Be Insured

Secrets to Finding a Great IT Consultant – Part Seven

Any IT company or technician you consider hiring should be insured. All qualified technicians should have two kinds of insurance. If a firm isn’t insured, you’re taking a major risk by hiring them. Their prices may be cheaper up front, but you could end up paying thousands more in the long run.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance – Without workers’ compensation insurance,
you’re liable in the event that one of their technicians gets hurt at your office. That
technician can, and probably will, sue you.

Errors and Omissions Insurance – What happens if one of their technicians makes
a major mistake that wipes out your company’s crucial files? Well, if they have
errors and omissions insurance, you’ll get money from their insurance company.
If not, they’ll probably file for bankruptcy and you’ll be stuck with the loss.

If you’re lucky, the loss won’t bankrupt you too.

Any legitimate IT services company should be happy to provide you with proof of their insurance.

Note: This content is based on an excerpt of “The Search for Hassle-Free IT” book. Request your FREE copy.

By |February 20th, 2015|Hiring for IT|0 Comments

5 Items to Demand in Your IT Services Contract

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Secrets to Finding a Great IT Consultant – Part Six

All too often, the details of a project, such as response time to emergencies, project completion timelines and problem resolution methods are agreed upon verbally rather than in writing. Unfortunately, these are the very things that are most likely to come back and bite you later.

There are a few problems with verbal contracts. For one, people forget things. Maybe your technician had every intention of following through on his word, but he just forgot. If it was in a written contract, though, he’d be sure to remember. Also, people often misunderstand one another. You may think the other party is agreeing to one thing and he thinks he’s agreeing to another.

Another problem with these handshake deals is that you’re dealing with an eager salesperson. Before your contract is signed, many salespeople will promise the moon and the stars – whether or not they can deliver is another story.

If these details were outlined in your IT services contract, things would be clear and people would be accountable.

To avoid disappointment and potential disaster, here are 5 things you […]

By |January 23rd, 2015|Helpful Advice, Hiring for IT|0 Comments

How Can You Access the Reliability of Your IT Team Before You Hire?

Secrets to Finding a Great IT Consultant – Part Six

Nothing is more frustrating than having to wait for a technician to show up when you have a problem. Sure, having a team will help, but it doesn’t guarantee around-the-clock service. Before hiring a consultant or firm, ask them the following questions:

1. Do you have a system in place for responding to emergencies? Look for a company that has a better answer than, “Sure – you can always reach me on my cell phone.” Ideally, they should have more than one technician available at all times and a customer service person who “owns” the problem to make sure you get help fast.

2. What is your average response time to an emergency? If it’s much more than one hour by phone and four hours on site, you probably want to keep looking. A company that offers remote management and support will usually have the shortest response time on average because their consultants will be able to access and troubleshoot your network from wherever they are.

3. Do you have a response time guarantee? Most technicians should be able to guarantee a return call within two hours or less. If a firm or technician […]

By |January 9th, 2015|Hiring for IT|0 Comments

Two Big Reasons Your IT Technician Shouldn’t Be Flying Solo

Secrets to Finding a Great IT Consultant – Part Five

In our last article we provided Seven Questions to Ask Your IT Partner’s References, so that you can get a feel for the experiences other clients have had with your potential IT provider. In today’s article we’d like to explain why we recommend that most businesses choose a vendor that employees a team of professionals, rather than choosing to work with just one “IT guy” who is flying solo.

Having a team of technicians is important for two reasons. Yes, it’s only two, but they’re pretty major.

Reason number one: Availability. If they don’t have other technicians to back them up, you could be left hanging in an emergency. While a “one-man band” technician will work cheap, you get what you pay for. In most cases, they are far too busy to do any more than just apply a bandage to the problem, and they may even show up late to do that. If they go on vacation, get sick, or simply get too busy, you could be left hanging when the stakes are high.

Reason number two: No one knows everything. No matter how […]

By |December 11th, 2014|Helpful Advice, Hiring for IT|0 Comments

Seven Questions to Ask Your IT Partner’s References

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Secrets to Finding a Great IT Consultant – Part Four

In our last article we discussed three reasons why you should hire a vendor authorized IT consultant, and we also mentioned that experience trumps vendor certifications. But how do you know for sure if your new IT partner has the experience they should have in order to work on your system? Ask their clients!

It may seem obvious, but a lot of business owners skip over the crucial step of checking their prospective IT partner’s references.

Here are the top seven questions to ask your IT partner’s references:

1. Did they deliver on their promises?

2. Did they stay on schedule and deliver on time or early?

3. Were they responsive and easy to get hold of in times of emergency?

4. Did they bill accurately?

5. Did they nickel and dime you over every little thing?

6. Did they stay within the projected budget?

7. Would you use them again? Why or why not?

You might also ask if there were any problems that arose and how they handled them. Not every project goes as planned, but it’s not the […]

By |November 26th, 2014|Helpful Advice, Hiring for IT|0 Comments

Three Reasons To Hire a Vendor Authorized IT Consultant

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Secrets to Finding a Great IT Consultant – Part Three

In our last article we examined how you can determine if a technician or IT company you are looking to hire is qualified. Part of the process of ensuring that your IT partner does have the qualifications you need includes examining their vendor certifications.
What does it mean to be a vendor authorized IT consultant? Simply that the technician has been trained and tested to meet the vendor’s standards to work with their specific software or hardware. A common example would be a technician’s MCSA or Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate certificate for technologies such as Windows Server 2013 or Windows 7.

Hiring a vendor-authorized firm is a good idea for three reasons:

1. Authorized dealers are required to uphold higher standards in service and support than their non-certified counterparts, and they are closely regulated by the vendors. If you have a problem with the technician, you can file a complaint with the vendor that authorized him.

2. Reason number two: Authorized software dealers are tested on their knowledge by the vendors to ensure a level of competence in installing and supporting their […]

By |November 12th, 2014|Helpful Advice, Hiring for IT|3 Comments

Hiring for IT: How Do You Know if Your IT Technician is Qualified?

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Secrets to Finding a Great IT Consultant – Part Two

In our last blog entry we reviewed the Top Ten Signs You Hired the Wrong IT Consultant.
Now that you know how to tell if you hired the wrong consultant, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about how you can avoid ‘that guy’ and ensure that you get the best support when hiring an IT company or IT resource.
In the next few posts we’ll discuss certain fundamentals that you should absolutely demand, such as insurance, qualifications, and references. We’ll provide you with the questions you can ask to ensure that they can back up their claims.

Demand Proof of Qualifications and Experience
Too many people who claim to be professional computer consultants really shouldn’t be working on business networks. They simply don’t have the experience, tools or training to get the job done right. So, you must ask to see qualifications and work history.

A junior technician with little to no experience will probably charge half as much as an experienced professional, but he may also take an additional three hours to get the job done. This is what some people would call […]

By |October 30th, 2014|Helpful Advice, Hiring for IT|0 Comments