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The recent disruptions to business from the COVID-19 pandemic have made professionals very aware of how important reliable IT support is. With many parts of the country now reopening after COVID-19 closures, we’ve been getting phone calls from organizations that want to switch up their IT service company. For many of these organizations, their current IT provider has been struggling to meet their needs – especially in a more tech-based business environment than ever before.
However, most organizations we speak to are concerned about how hard it will be to switch IT companies and start from square one with a new provider. The truth is, switching IT companies can be a massive project. IT companies usually have administrative access to everything on an organization’s network, so it’s never as simple as excusing your current provider overnight in hopes of finding something new.
Can we offer some advice? You must go into the switchover with a gameplan. Whether your current provider has been disappointing or you’re simply looking for an IT provider who is better equipped to handle your evolving IT needs, organizational leaders must proceed with caution to ensure the business isn’t disrupted during the switchover. To help, we’ve created a straightforward, 5-point playbook to help organizations switch IT companies smoothly and strategically.
Whatever you do, don’t send your current IT company packing before you’ve lined up a more suitable provider. While we can understand that you may be frustrated with less-than-optimal service or support, it’s never a good idea to go rogue and leave your organization without any IT support while you try to find something new. Always wait until you have a new IT provider in place before letting your current one go.
If you’re at the point where you’re ready to make a change, start by reviewing strategic IT providers that would be best-suited to serving your organization. Start by making a list of your non-negotiable IT requirements. This may include things you wish your current IT company were providing or industry-specific IT services that your organization requires. Once you have a solid idea of what you’re looking for, reach out to different providers and have them explain – in clear terms – how they will support your unique needs and help your business thrive.
When an organization is working with an outsourced IT provider, the provider usually has complete administrative access to everything on the organizational network. When it comes time to make the switch to a new IT provider, organization leaders should make sure they have all the administrative credentials they need to access their system infrastructure.
Before you terminate your current IT service arrangement, be sure to carefully log all necessary login and password information if you don’t have them noted already. If you don’t have this information already, you’ll have to ask your current provider for all the information. This may trigger some concern on their part, but you’re well within your rights to ask for this information, that you really should have access to anyway.
Once you have a new IT provider lined up and you have all the network access credentials you need, have your new provider conduct a top-to-bottom security audit of your system infrastructure. Doing so will help you and your new provider determine if any backdoor access points exist.
By completing a comprehensive security review of your system, your new provider will be able to patch any holes, identify pressing security issues, and better understand the general layout of your IT infrastructure. This way, you’ll be strategically positioned to begin a new IT service arrangement, and you’ll ensure that the termination of your current arrangement will go off without any access or security concerns.
It’s best practice to give sufficient notice to your current IT company when you’ve decided to switch to a new provider. When you give notice, be as amicable as possible, given the circumstances. Be sure to thank the provider for their service, and explain clearly why you’ve decided to make the switch. While this can be nerve-wracking, most providers will respect your honesty and may even learn a thing or two from your feedback.
However, and as we’ve mentioned, be sure only to give notice when you’re ready. Wait until you’ve found a new provider and have squared away any concerns about secure network access. Once you have all your ducks in a row, proceed professionally and respectfully by issuing a service termination notice to your current provider.
One final recommendation for optimizing the switchover process between IT providers – keep your team up-to-date about all changes. Keep in mind that organizational IT resources are relied upon by every member of your team. As such, it’s always a great idea to keep your team in the loop about any major changes to IT service and support arrangements.
Hold a meeting with your team and explain the reasons why you’ve decided to switch IT, providers. Explain any new protocols that will come with the switchover. Above all, be sure to make it clear that your decision to switch IT providers is an effort to improve IT service and support for the entire team. By making it clear that you’ve considered your team before making any drastic changes, you’ll go a long way in terms of getting everyone on board and on the same page.