Comparing Chicago IT companies: 5 red flags that could cost your business

Comparing Chicago IT companies: 5 red flags that could cost your business

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By: Joanna Sobran - Author, Speaker & CEO/Founder of MXOtech

Too often, new technology providers promise the world and set high expectations during the sales process. Soon after, user grumbles and complaints erupt and ultimately, the decision to go with that IT support company is labeled a failure. You could chalk this up to a resistance to change, and that’s part of it. But in most cases, companies use the wrong selection criteria when evaluating Chicago IT companies, which leads to missed goals and a mediocre, under-delivered service.

Let’s explore some common mistakes companies make when selecting a technology partner and how you can avoid them.

1. Prioritizing price over value

When evaluating potential solution providers, most decision-makers focus on price, rather than the value the company will bring over time. While price is important, a provider must understand your firm’s goals to deliver value. Understanding your vision and associating its value to a specific benefit will determine a matching pricing model.

Decision-makers tend to view technical deliverables as just another cost to the business. But instead of evaluating technology at the surface level, you should be asking: “What business problem am I trying to solve?”

Technology should fulfill your needs and protect your business. This issue typically occurs when there’s no C-level involvement in the decision-making process.

2. Disregarding future needs

If you’re a growing firm, you need to consider the Chicago IT company's ability to scale with your growing needs. When the provider makes decisions without the strategic vision in mind, future needs get missed.

This often happens when decision-making is delegated to only the user and administrative members of an organization. While you should explore how a new solution will affect operations and the user experience, focusing your efforts solely in this area means you don’t address anything beyond the present. You’re likely to choose a solution that won’t be a long-term fit for the firm’s needs and goals.

3. Using top-down decision-making

When one person or team chooses a provider, you fail to earn buy-in from team members and might struggle with user adoption later.

Involve stakeholders throughout the firm to incorporate their vision. They will primarily use the service and should have a say.

However, it’s not uncommon for one team, or even one person, to make the call. But when employing top-down decision-making, you miss critical viewpoints.

To avoid this scenario, involve a core group of people in the discussion, including:

4. Dismissing the importance of onboarding

The onboarding process will make or break the success of the relationship. However, many decision-makers fail to look beyond budget at the potential pitfalls of a poor onboarding process. When vetting Chicago IT companies and partners, also evaluate their onboarding process.

More importantly, you and your organization need to feel 100% comfortable with the entire onboarding experience. The IT partner should align the onboarding experience with your expectations during the sales process and explain it to you and your team in detail.

Simply looking at the overall service isn’t enough to determine whether a solution is a good long-term fit for your firm. If the IT provider isn’t living up to expectations during onboarding (the “honeymoon phase”), they’re more likely to under-deliver, and possibly fail, moving forward.

5. Not considering your core line of business applications

Many IT providers try to sell a one-size-fits-all service that only fits their business model. However, making sure your network is stable and your users are humming along is only the beginning of a true technology partnership.

A good IT company in Chicago will recommend performing a Business Process Improvement (“BPI”) Assessment to help you expose where and how technology can impact your overall business growth. A BPI plan uses your company's existing or future applications and processes to reduce human resources, eliminate manual processes and increase revenue.

A relationship-driven IT company will evaluate the overall technology operating your business, come onsite to interview key staff and review your applications. But a true strategic IT partner will also develop solutions that provide a higher return on investment of time, workflow and resources, separating you from the competition.

Choosing a great technology partner is not an easy process. But you can prevent failure by avoiding the five mistakes listed above.

How do you select Chicago IT companies at your firm? If you’re unhappy with your current IT provider, contact MXOtech today at 312-554-5699 or sales@mxotech.com to explore new ideas and strategies.