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We are very fortunate to have options to choose from when it comes to many decisions we make: Things like vehicles, meals, insurance, clothing and vacation spots. Businesses also have options when deciding on who to trust with their technology. It is a much larger decision than handling it internally vs. externally. This decision can result in huge efficiency and production gains and losses.

I am going to share five things to think about when selecting your technology partner. Yes, I said “partner” and not “vendor.” If you look at your technology service provider as a vendor, then that is a mistake. The company you have selected to work with needs to be much more than a vendor. You need to have a company that is looking out for your best interests — a win/win approach!

#1 Trust

Changing technology providers is painful, time consuming and expensive. When trust exists between the business owner and the tech partner, this helps build long-term relationships that add value to both your business and the tech partners’ businesses. Technology is a key component for the success of the business. With so much on the line depending on technology, how can you leave it in the hands of a company you don’t trust?

#2 Culture

Company culture is important to employees because workers are more likely to enjoy work when their needs and values are consistent with their employers’. Why does this matter? When your tech partner has a great culture, the employees are loyal and stay with that company longer. This leads to efficiencies for you as the experience learned stays with your tech partner. If your tech partner hires the right people and empowers them to make decisions, that allows for more efficient resolutions to problems than a culture where one person is making all the decisions and the entire support team is not given the ability to make decisions.

#3 Transparency

What do you pay for tech support? Do you know what makes up the cost? If you asked your tech partner, could they explain it? A good partner should be able to show you the breakdown that makes up those costs. They should inform you in advance of any increases and explain why the increase is happening. Hopefully, you have a service-level agreement with your tech company. Do they provide you metrics against that agreement? If so, are they meeting the SLAs? If not, why do you let them get away with that?

#4 Ongoing learning

Technology continues to change at a rapid pace. How can your tech partner keep up with the changes if their staff isn’t continuing to learn new things? How is their staff keeping up with changes? If the people supporting your environment are trying to better themselves, it will become difficult for them to better your environment. Professional development outside tech skills provides value to individuals, the company and you. Everyone has room to improve. Are they aware of their weaknesses? Are they working on improving? This ties in with culture. A company should invest in its employees and help them grow.

#5 Flexibility

Every business is different, so why let the tech company decide what services you need? A good tech partner will listen to your needs and suggest services that meet those needs. Why be forced into paying for options you don’t need? Find a vendor that is willing to provide options for services and not force you to take all or none. Remember, this is a partnership, and you should be looking for a win/win scenario. How is paying for services you don’t need a win for you?

In closing, think about your current tech support. How do they do in these areas? Are you thinking there could be a better fit out there? Would you like to discuss a partnership with CatchMark? Reach out to us. We would be happy to sit down with you.