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What Should I Look for When Hiring an IT Firm?

If a lack of IT expertise is putting a strain on your business, it is time to start considering hiring an IT firm to help. IT firms help companies install and maintain computer systems including hardware and software. Not every team has a dedicated IT manager, so if your company is struggling with an update or is having issues with data management, it could be time to hire an IT firm to help make the process seamless. Specialized IT experts are often brought in for critical or deadline focused tasks, so you want to be sure they are able to complete the project in your company’s set timeframe.

In this article, we’ll go over some points to consider before hiring an IT firm. You want to make sure the people you hire will create maximum benefits for your business and make sure they have the experience and capability to back it up. Before you make your final decision, consider these 7 points.

  • What are your needs?
  • Qualifications
  • Communication
  • Services Provided
  • Proposal
  • Cost
  • Continued Maintenance
Hiring an IT Firm

What are your needs?

Surveying exactly what your business needs will make the hiring process much easier. Hiring an external IT firm can take some of the stress off of your own employees.

What your Business Needs

The first step to take in searching for an IT consulting firm is to identify the specific needs your company is looking to address. Will you need to hire one consultant to lead a project or several? What type of background experience is most important in a potential candidate. It is also important to know that the project you are hiring for is something well suited for an IT firm, as opposed to a full time hire.

Qualifications

Ensure your candidates have the right experience to suit your company

Candidates must meet your specific needs.

Once you have established what you are looking for in an IT consultant, it is time to find the people with the right experience to help your business thrive. To begin your research into potential candidates, start by looking through their completed projects and case studies. Usually, IT firms are willing to brag about their achievements, so most case studies are readily available on the firm’s site. If their previous clients and success stories appeal to your business’s needs, the IT firm is probably a good fit. It is also a good idea to have the prospective consultant cite some client testimonials on the efficacy of their services. Remember, some of the most important information you can learn from an IT firm comes from their previous experience.

This is also an important time to assess whether an IT consultant is a good fit for your company personality wise. Some people have all of the qualifications and none of the practical, everyday skills to complete the project. This is an important part of the vetting process because it is sometimes overlooked and can lead to major delays in project completion.

Here are some sample questions you want to ask when interviewing an IT consultant:

  • How can you ensure our data stays secure?
  • Are you familiar with data backup and recovery?
  • Have you performed data transfers before?
  • How often will you be available for additional questions about the project?
  • Has your firm led IT projects like this before?

You can never ask too many questions! This is one of the most important steps in choosing an IT firm to assist your business. You want to be sure that you can trust the firm you are working with to get the job done.

Communication

Ineffective communication can delay deadlines and increase costs

Communication skills are more important that you would think in the IT field.

Though your prospective IT consulting firm may have all of the right qualifications on paper, you want to assess your candidate’s communication skills before making any decisions. Working with an outside IT firm is all about collaboration. When collaborating with an IT professional, it is important for them to recognize your needs, voice concerns, and provide trusted updates on the progress of the project.

One of the features of IT firms is that they are impartial and unbiased toward your business. By evaluating their communication skills and trustworthiness before any agreement is reached, you are covering all of your bases and potentially eliminating some candidates that you feel may not work well with your own internal employees.

Proposal

A proposal can often be the most telling element of the selection process

Make sure the proposal works with your budget and within your timeline.

Since IT firms are usually hired for singular projects, it is important that the firm presents a strong proposal with a hard end date that works with your business’s current plan. The proposal should detail exactly how the firm will specifically meet your needs. By closely examining the proposal, you should be able to tell whether or not the consulting firm understands your project and its timeline. By presenting the proposal with a definite end date, you can also lock in a final cost without fear of extending the project further.

Cost

Don’t overpay for IT services

The total cost of hiring an IT firm to tackle one of your projects is a make or break point in the hiring process. The right IT firm for you is one that makes sense with your budget, but also has the right experience. When you are considering hiring an IT consultant, it is important to be completely transparent about your intended budget for the project during the hiring process.

If the price presented by the IT firm is too high, it is probably time to start looking for another option.

Continued Maintenance

Know your IT firm won’t leave you with ongoing issues to fix

So you’ve almost made your decision on hiring the right IT consulting firm for your business, but there is still one more point to consider. Maintenance is the last step for you to consider, both in the hiring process and the completion of your IT project. A good IT firm will have a plan established before they are even hired. If an error would occur after your project is complete, you want to be sure that your chosen consultant has your back. Ask a candidate what level of IT support the firm offers after the project is completed and how long their experts will be available to help. Though everything should work post completion, there are sometimes still problems that arise. By researching and asking questions about the IT firm’s post-project plan, you are protecting your business even after your project is finished.

Now that we have explored the most important points to consider when hiring an external IT firm to assist your company, you are ready to make your decision. If your potential hire is missing any of the above information, it never hurts to ask. Remember, you are trusting the IT firm with your data and the inner workings of your business, so it is important that you trust them completely. Be sure to remember our tips for hiring the right IT firm, and your company will be up to date and functioning with little to no inconvenience.