Top 5 things to consider when choosing a technology provider
When used right, technology can transform a business through enhanced processes, streamlined operations, and faster, better informed decision making. Choosing the right tech for your business involves finding a solution that provides all of the right functionalities and power that you need to drive your business forward.
However, the technology itself is just one piece of the puzzle. Aside from the features of the technology you’re implementing, there are other considerations that ensure real cost effectiveness and improved business performance in both the short and longer term.
For professional services businesses, the technology you’re using is increasingly vital to your ability to effectively communicate with, and deliver for, your clients. It’s inextricably linked with the way your business functions day-to-day, and if it’s not a good fit for your internal processes, you’re likely to be limiting your performance and growth.
This makes the expertise and advice your technology provider is able to offer absolutely critical. A provider who fits your business will be able to understand your business objectives and help you select, implement and get the most out of the technology that best supports these.
Choosing the right technology provider means taking into consideration a number of factors to ensure the technology that forms the operational core of your business is the best that it can be. We’ve drawn up our top 5 considerations that we believe are vital for choosing your tech provider.
1. In-depth training
If your team don’t know how to use the technology you’ve implemented, you’re not going to be experiencing the benefits of the solution. Training for the people using the tech every day is vital. However, this is more than simply showing employees the basics. Your team needs to be able to use the technology to its full potential, meaning in-depth training on the functionality and features of the system needs to be given.
It’s also important that this training is tailored to your team, to not only ensure that your employees’ time is not being wasted learning things that are irrelevant to their roles, but also to allow them to leverage the most out of the tech.
Choosing a technology provider that gives thorough, in-depth training can not only smooth the process of implementing new systems, but can help you to drive longer-term benefits from your investment in the form of increased productivity.
2. Tailored support
Of course, a tech solution that never malfunctions, or is so easy to use that your team never have questions about it is the dream. However, it’s a dream that is not yet reality, and the truth is that tech support is a vital part of everyday business operations.
But this can and should be more than a general, all-purpose phone number. When a member of your team needs help, the person they’re talking to on the other end of the phone, or the chat feature, should be aware of the company’s technology set-up and any customisations to the products they use, and be able to deal with any issues or answer any questions with full consideration for your business’ aims and operations.
A technology provider that tailors their support to you is crucial. With so many businesses now working remotely or using a hybrid model, your provider should be able to support team members effectively wherever they’re based, not just in the office. It’s also important that they’re able to not only provide advice but take ownership of issues where appropriate, actively managing issues to take the pressure off your team and help you get back to work as quickly as possible.
3. Not just a provider, but a technology partner, too
A technology provider implements the solution, hands it over, and then leaves you to get on with it. A technology partner works with you to ensure the solution works for your business, its goals, and forward trajectory. They are there to ensure that the technology within your business continues to meet your needs, and can advise on alternatives as well as facilitate scaling up or down, adding additional services, and changing to a different package.
Working with a single technology partner as opposed to one or more technology providers is a more dynamic relationship, and you’ll reap many more benefits from a partnership designed around your longer-term business goals and objectives than a series of shorter-term projects. By setting out a 3-5 year strategy with a technology partner, you can not only ensure that they’re there to support you for the long term and to ensure your investment is achieving the goals you set out – you can also stabilise your costs, ensuring they’re predictable and taking advantage of any efficiencies available as part of a longer-term relationship.
Technology is developing all the time, with new innovations hitting the market and transforming businesses faster than most can keep up with. It’s important, therefore, to ensure that the technology you’ve invested in for your business isn’t made obsolete within a few years of your implementing it.
Implementing new technologies, particularly core operational solutions, can represent a huge disruption to your business, not to mention the financial investment that is needed.
Therefore, long term solutions are better for business, and that means that a technology provider that continually updates and develops their offering as markets and technologies change is important.
4. A proven track record
Choosing to partner with a technology provider is a big decision, and one that should be taken with access to as much information as possible. A technology provider with a catalogue of happy clients, a strong reputation, and a proven track record of reliability is more likely to be a good fit.
That’s not to say that start-ups are not going to be the perfect technology partner for you, but looking into the history of a company and the track records of, if not the company itself, then its directors and investors, is an important consideration.
Often providers are able to put you in touch with existing clients, or point you in the direction of case studies and other materials to help you decide.
Research is key
The main takeaway here is that it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting when choosing a technology provider. Be aware of what is available to you, and make your choice with consideration for not just the technology you’ll implement into your business, but the provider you’ll be partnering with, too.
At TSG, we know how important finding the right tech provider is. That’s why we strive to provide tailored, managed, and trusted services to businesses from a wide range of sectors. Speak to our experts today to find out how we can work with you.