You have tirelessly worked for many years to be at the point where you are now. You have a successful business and you care for its growth. But the growth comes with new challenges. We live in an era where the customers want more, better, more efficient, faster, no matter what industry you are working in. On the other hand, you heard some rumors that your competition is already working on a new product or a service, and it seems like they have a better web presence and maybe a modern mobile application too. And you have that old looking program which is down for a third time this week! What can you do?
Investing in a quality IT services is a must nowadays. The term IT service may include a wide range of different services: designing a website, developing a custom program or a mobile application specific for your business, overcoming technical problems, IT training for your employees or technical support for the recently developed program.
- Be sure what you need
First of all, you should have knowledge what your business truly needs. Is it a completely new website or only the content should be updated? Does your business need 24/7 professional technical support or just occasionally, when an incident happens? Do you want to develop a mobile application for your product? Maybe take a step further and represent it through AR/VR application? One possible solution is to make a list of all websites or mobile applications which you like in order to have them as a reference when presenting to the IT team. Or complete a list with all the IT problems you are currently facing. Another important thing you should have in mind is a budget. You know best how much you can invest in IT services or improved infrastructure and should present that budget to the IT company’s manager as well.
2. Make a research and list of all possible partners
After you make a list with all the responsibilities you expect the team to accomplish or maybe the range of technologies which should be used, the next step is to do a research about the companies offering those services. Extract keywords from the list and use them to filter the companies. Maintain an Excel or any other document to fill in information for better insight – details like company name, services they offer, country they are operating in, contact details and any other details you will like or dislike about them. This document will be of great help later, when you should contact and arrange meetings with them.
3. Visit their website and social media
A company’s website is the first place a potential client visits. Here, you can get an insight on the company, read their history, meet the team members, see their latest projects and the services they offer. If an IT company doesn’t have a website, or has one that looks pretty old, that is often a bad sign. At least they should have a “Maintenance mode” web page informing the potential clients. Having active social media profiles is important as well. Through social media, you can learn many things about them too. Are the social media profiles maintained regularly or just from time to time? What is the content like? Do they organize some kind of workshops or have knowledge sharing sessions? Do they attend conferences or events organized by the IT community? These questions can help you find out more information about the company you are likely to begin working with.
4. See portfolio and ask for code/work samples
Have a look at the use cases and the work samples from their portfolio. Do not be afraid if you cannot find too many items in the Projects section -maybe they’re currently working on something or have a confidential agreement with the client. But you can contact them and ask them directly about the projects they have completed and about everything else they can do for you.
5. Ask for recommendations
Many companies often have testimonials on their website from clients or partners who work with. If you cannot find any, you can always ask for one from their previous or current customers. On the other hand, you can use your network and ask them to recommend a team. Another approach is to ask for it on the social media channels or groups.
6. Arrange a meeting and ask questions
He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever – A Chinese proverb.
Ask the short listed companies for a meeting – no matter whether using a third-party software like Skype or the meeting is in person.
Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask questions and have an honest conversation with the representative on the meeting. Prepare a list of questions before the meeting and talk to the manager about them, no matter how unimportant they may seem at the moment. You will be surprised how many things will be clearer and more understandable to you.
The same thing applies for the interviewee as well – if they seem like they know and understand everything from the first glance – something is wrong. Another bad sign is overconfidence and not listening to client’s expectations and demands.
7. Ensure good communication
Communication is one of the most important skills in our everyday life, especially in business. A person can be the best professional, but if he/she lacks communication skills, no one can see the potential. Having good and regular communication with the IT team is essential for successfully completing the project or for regular maintenance. Maybe having weekly meetings or they should write monthly reports? Maybe the communication should be on a daily basis so the team has to include you in their chat system? Whatever communication method you are using – email, chat system, phone or meetings in personal, the most important thing is to say and listen. That’s the only way for ensuring progress and building a good relationship with your future IT partner.
8. Make a contract
The journey for finding the right IT partner finally comes to an end! You have successfully gotten better your business’ needs, spent time researching and contacting a large number of IT companies, went through their profiles and had a number of meetings. Now you have to make a decision. But how to know if it’s going to be the right one? The truth is – you cannot truly know. But from all the teams you have gone through a meeting, one or two teams marked all the checkboxes on your list – they have consistent clients, they are here to explain everything for the technology or the process itself. They also have an open channel for communication and can be here for you anytime you need anything from them, even if it is only a tip or advice. They can negotiate about the budget as well and are ready to listen to your business needs. The next and last step would be to prepare a contact and start working together.
If you are looking for a consistent, efficient and trustworthy IT partner, do not hesitate to contact us and schedule a call.