Biotech startups often have to rely on a modest amount of initial funding to set up their entire operation. Getting the most out of these limited funds takes careful planning and budgeting. Balancing value with quality, separating wants from needs, and planning realistically for both the present and the future are not easy for any new company.
You may be scrambling to get started, but don't neglect to take the time necessary to carefully vet your suppliers and service providers. It is far less expensive and time-consuming to make the right choice from the start than having to make a change several months in. Whoever provides you with IT infrastructure consulting, service, and support should receive a similar vetting. Keep the following considerations in mind when selecting an ITO provider.
The Size of your ITO Provider
Your first instinct might be to hire the biggest IT company you can find. And while they may be able to provide you with extensive services, you will be just one of hundreds or thousands of customers and never a priority. Being a new or biotech startup company, you know those last minute needs that come up far too often need flexibility and accommodation by your service providers to make you look good. Conversely, if you go with a small company with a tiny roster of clients, their resources may be too limited to meet your needs. Work with a company that is large enough to handle all your technology requirements but small enough to provide you with personalized attention.
Experience in the Biotech Industry
Experience counts for a lot in the IT industry. Working with a company that has been around for a while and has an established reputation ensures that they will not suddenly close their doors or switch their focus. This scenario is more common than you would think when dealing with small, startup ITO providers or solo consultants. Also, a company that has experience providing managed IT services to biotech companies generally, and startups specifically, means that not only do they have the experience and the expertise to meet your unique needs, they have an understanding of the biotech company life cycle and how best to work with companies like yours.
Availability and Accessibility
Repairing, updating, and managing your IT infrastructure services are a few of the primary responsibilities of your IT service
provider. Every biotech startup company owes it to themselves to work with a company that is available at any time, for any reason. You never know when technology will let you down, but when it does, you will want to be able to get the issue resolved as quickly and completely as possible. Be sure to find out the exact nature of your ITO providers service availability.
First Impressions Count
IT is a competitive industry, and there is no reason to work with a company that can't impress you with their experience, knowledge, and accomplishments. The first time you meet with a representative from an IT company, take note if they mention specific problems and solutions, have a detailed understanding of competing technologies, and speak knowledgeably about biotech startup companies. If they can't impress you at the start, they are unlikely to impress you in the future.
These are not the only considerations you should keep in mind, but they are considerations that people often overlook. Resist the urge to go with the least expensive or most visible IT provider, and take the time to evaluate your options. So much of your success depends on IT that it needs to be one of your company's principal concerns.
To learn more about the role that information technology has to play in today's biotech startups, read our white paper “After the Seed: Planning IT Investment for a Biotech Startup.”