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9 Signs It's Time to Break Up With Your IT Provider

Posted on August 04, 2015

We all remember being in that relationship. You know, the one where things went well for a while but slowly went downhill. If you didn’t experience it, you may have known someone who did.

The last thing you want to do is settle and waste a lot of time and energy on something that no longer works – and the same goes for your business relationships.

The relationship between a company and its IT provider is a vital part of the company’s roadmap and operational strategy, so it’s not a surprise to hear that you need to choose yours carefully. After all, your network and infrastructure are the heartbeat of your organization, and your IT services provider is the gatekeeper.

If you’ve been noticing some strain on your relationship with your IT provider – whether it’s a managed services provider, a break/fix provider, etc. – it may be time to move on. Here are 9 signs it’s time to break up with your IT provider:

  1. Your network and computers used to work well, but not anymore. Your IT provider may have used best practices and standards when they installed your equipment and software, which is why they probably started out working well. But they also require proactive maintenance and continual updates using best practices to keep everything running in an optimal state for as long as possible.

  2. They aren’t protecting you. IT security is a hot news topic, yet they don't have good answers on what your vulnerabilities are and how they are protecting you. You've read that a multi-layered approach is the best approach to security, but all you have is a firewall. Then they tell you that they DO have a multi-layered approach, but you have to upgrade to their "Platinum Service" to get it.

  3. They won’t give you straight answers. Your network is always slow and they say they’re working on it, but they can’t ever give you a reason why it’s happening. Worse yet, the problem isn't getting any better. They can't explain why all the data wasn't on the backup, but when you ask for proof that the backup is working now they simply say "trust us". They tell you a problem is another vendor's fault, but they can't give you the data that forces the vendor to step up. 

  4. They aren’t looking out for you. When you have an issue with an application or your equipment, they tell you to call the vendor directly. They let you be the middle man and deal with topics that are difficult to understand unless you’re a professional in the IT industry. They let your licenses and certificates expire, only realizing it when something breaks.

  5. They aren’t listening to you. You complain or ask to speak with a manager, but they won't oblige. They don’t seem to care about providing good customer service or going out of their way to rectify a mistake.

  6. They aren’t communicating. Maybe you’ve got a project in the works or a Help Desk ticket (those darn Outlook settings keep defaulting) that you’re trying to resolve. You don’t receive updates. Not only that, but you aren’t kept in the loop about anything – IT news, updates about the IT company, or service delivery changes that will impact you in a month.

  7. They no longer fit where your company is going. Your IT provider used to work okay 5 years ago, but since then you’ve grown a lot. You’ve expanded your business and are hoping to open two new locations over the next 3 years. Your employees are already starting to complain about the network and their devices. It could be an incredible next few years, but you feel like your current IT setup will hold you back.

  8. They want you to solve THEIR problems with YOUR money. The server is running slow? Replace it. The network is slow? Upgrade the firewall. Every time you want to talk about an issue, the solution is their latest "upsell".

  9. Your costs keep going up…and up…and up. Most companies need to raise their rates or prices occasionally to keep up with inflation or to improve operational efficiency. But if you find your fees increasing month after month, or if they spring surprise costs on you, that’s no good.

Ending a relationship with your IT provider can be difficult, but if you can relate to any of these examples…well, it’s already broken. Do a little research and ask your colleagues for some recommendations. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. 

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