There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re deciding on an IT service provider for your small business. Do you want to work with a large or small company; one that is brand new and ambitious, or long running and proven; one dedicated to your industry specifically, or one with wide ranging IT expertise? All of these are important considerations, but one of the most fundamental and most commonly overlooked choices you need to make is whether to work with a local IT company or one that is not in your region and provides its services remotely.
The difference may seem trivial at first. The most exciting thing about many new technologies is the way that they facilitate long distance support, remote collaboration, and comprehensive administration in digital environments. All of these are positive advances, but set aside the hype for a second. Do you really want to work with an IT company that has never been to your facility, never shook your hand, and promises to handle all of your needs from hundreds or even thousands of miles away? Even if they do have a local partner or resource that can get someone to your site if needed?
The Benefits of a Local IT Provider
The simple fact is that IT is complicated and unpredictable; if it wasn’t, you could handle it yourself. Plus, even with the recent emergence of cloud services, most small business are still reliant on machines that are housed in their labs, warehouses, and offices. Virtual service providers may promise to manage all of these concerns remotely, but when there is a disastrous problem, major upgrade to undertake, or simply questions to answer, their unreachability could hurt your business.
If you have ever tried to fix a computer problem while speaking on the phone with a tech help desk representative, you understand the nature of the problem. You don't want to try and diagnose problems yourself, and then try to implement complicated fixes based on telephone instructions. You want someone to come to your location, figure out what is wrong, and fix it for you quickly and completely.
It just makes sense to work with a company that can send a representative to your location at any time, for any reason. When you have problems, a professional can resolve them. When you need to add new computers to your network, an expert can be there to set up the system and install the software. And when you need to plan for the future, someone from your local IT company can assess your resources and sit down with you face-to-face to learn about your wants and needs.
In every case, a local IT company can provide you with all of the same services as a virtual provider, plus give you the personalized attention and on-site support you will want to rely on when it matters most. Technologies fail, including the ones which facilitate remote support. IT is too important to trust to a company that promises to provide your small business with everything it needs using systems that rely on the Internet and your network and all its components working and available. You can prepare for any contingency by working with a company that has the resources to send a human being who has experience with both IT and your company to your location fast.
For more information about the benefits of using a local IT service provider for your small business, read our recent white paper “The Ultimate Small Business Guide to IT Outsourcing.”