You may have been approached by IT vendors in the past with quesitonable suggestions for a problem you are experiencing - in Part 2 of this blog post, the following examples will explore two additional reasons to raise red flags based on suggested solutions from a vendor to a basic problem.
2. How does this technology apply to my business?
Problem: Your company is a delivery company; the IT professional suggests purchasing new software that helps track drivers and inventory in real time.
Solution: Tracking drivers and inventory in real time could make our business more flexible to quickly meet orders and deliver goods to prospective customers.
Problem: Your company is a delivery company; the IT professional suggests purchasing new servers with the latest operating system and then designing a new workflow that uses a new mail server and SharePoint servers to improve internal and customer communications.
Agenda: Email is a great communication tool and applies to all businesses, but having a mail server onsite may not be money well spent as there are numerous cloud based solutions available. SharePoint is a fantastic for collaboration and workflow, but is the training required, implementation time, and money spent on this solution going to show an immediate benefit to the business? This may be an IT provider trying to sell services instead of understanding the business and providing a solution that fits and meets the business needs – although in some situations, outsourcing SharePoint management may be your best option.
3. Is the technology going to help me generate more business by either directly influencing revenue or increasing productivity?
Problem: Your company is a small publishing house that relies on freelance editors; the IT professional proposes that you build a SharePoint site that allows you to share documents and manuscripts.
Solution: Providing a web-based portal to easily exchange information with the contractors could be a very efficient solution for my company as it will enable documents to be made available quickly and securely tracked.
Problem: Your company is a small publishing house that relies on freelance editors; the IT professional proposes you implement a voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephony solution.
Agenda: Unless you have multiple remote offices with a high volume of interoffice calls, the expense of a VoIP solution may not make sense for your company. Instead, something like a document management system or improved collaboration tools would be a better fit.
Asking basic questions and getting reasonable answers from your chosen IT services provider is the first step in determining the right solution. You do not have to be an IT expert to use a search engine to find information that pertains to your problem or the solutions being offered. Educate yourself and your business before deciding on an IT services provider in the Boston, New York or Philadelphia area.