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The Low-Cost Solutions Provider Trap

Your IT solutions provider is an essential part of the overall technology strategy for your organization. Solutions providers can handle a variety of IT needs, all the way from conception through implementation and support. A solutions provider can study your current IT infrastructure, evaluate your organization’s needs, and make recommendations about the perfect mix of hardware and software you need in order to meet your goals. They can then install the hardware and software at your sites, and may also provide the ongoing maintenance, management and support that you need.

Still, IT solutions providers aren’t cheap. In the IT world, like in the rest of the business world, you get what you pay for. There are low-cost solution providers on the market, many of whom promise the same kinds of service and support that other companies offer. Unfortunately, they often fail to deliver on those promises. This can leave your organization in the lurch, and can cost you more in the long run when you have to pay someone else to fix a problem.

Here are some things you can do, going in, to avoid the low-cost solutions provider trap:

Know what you need. Be ready to identify what it is, in very specific terms, you hope the solutions provider can accomplish. If you need someone to design a storage solution for your organization, for example, gather as much data as you can in regard to your storage needs. A quality solutions provider can help you identify the specific ways to address a problem, and can even help to identify problems you may not see, but you need to have a solid place to start from. Think about your needs in business terms and functionality, and let the solutions provider figure out the best technological solution to those business needs.

Choose a provider that does their research. A low-cost service provider is likely to come in to your organization, offer canned solutions and get right to work. A quality IT service provider will really work to get to understand your organizational culture, understand your business needs and help formulate solutions that will grow your business appropriately. Be wary of providers that offer “turnkey” solutions, as your organization may have specific needs that can’t just be handled out of the box.

Examine a provider’s credentials. You need to be confident in the provider’s ability to do what you need them to do. Verify industry certifications, and make sure the advertised certifications are possessed by the actual project managers, technicians and support staff that you’ll be working with. It does little good to hire a solutions provider with a CCIE to support your Cisco network if that CCIE will be completely uninvolved with the actual work at your organization.

Pick a provider with relevant industry experience. IT needs can vary greatly from one industry to the next. Your service provider doesn’t have to be a dedicated industry provider, but they do need to be up to speed on what’s going on in your field.

Consider third-party providers for objective solutions. Providers dedicated to a single vendor are limited in their knowledge base, as well as in the toolbox of solutions they can provide to your company. By picking a third-party provider, you get access to solutions that single vendor providers won’t offer.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.