- IT Services
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If you are a business founder or part of a leadership team and you have been kept in the dark over your IT function, and you have a growing suspicion or ‘gut feeling’ that something is not quite right, then it is time to take some action and do something about it.
But without reference points or benchmarks to compare against, you may feel uncertain about how to assess the situation and whether to take action.
The questions below are a great starting point to taking back some control of a mission critical part of your business.
They have been divided into two categories: questions to outright ask your current IT provider and questions to ask yourself to give you the opportunity to be honest about the business relationship you have established.
Questions for you to ask your IT provider.
There are two different types of IT providers: the reactive break-fix provider and the strategic partner, and there are three different billing models.
[Please click here to find out more about the different types of IT providers and their billing models]
2. What is our IT strategy for my business?
Your business will require an IT strategy to support your wider corporate goals if you want sustained long-term stability and growth.
Without a clear IT plan in place to support your objectives and entire business operations, you could be facing a world of pain: reduced competitiveness, wasted resources, inefficient operations, security breaches, and missed opportunities.
Don’t let all your hard work be put at risk.
It’s imperative that you discuss your IT strategy with them.
3. Is my business secure enough?
What would they say if you had an external IT audit to test the resilience of the IT infrastructure they have implemented?
If your provider argues against this, then ask yourself why? Surely, they should welcome it as a chance to showcase how much value they are providing you?
You may be interested to read our blog post: Have You Done Enough To Protect Your Business?
4. How do you ensure that my data will always be available when I need it?
Can my staff still work if there was a fire in the office building?
Have your provider discussed the business continuity and disaster recovery plan with you and how you can continue to operate should something like a fire destroy your office building?
5. How can you ensure that my IT can grow as my business grows?
Does your provider have the wisdom to offer strategic business advice? It is crucial that your IT infrastructure is agile and should be able to grow with you and not hinder growth.
6. Do you monitor my current IT infrastructure so that you can prevent a problem from happening in the first place?
If your IT provider says ‘because you didn’t ask us to’ in response to being asked why a problem occurred when something could have been done to prevent it, then you are most likely with a reactive break-fix provider where all the risk is on YOU and not them. With a strategic partner, they are proactive in monitoring the infrastructure because the risk is on them, and not you. You pay for the value, and they must deliver.
7. Do you have any plans to sell the business to a larger IT provider in the next 3 years?
There has been an explosion of mergers and acquisitions within the IT service space since 2020 with larger IT providers buying up smaller ones and absorbing their clientele. If you are partnered with a smaller boutique, IT provider and they are bought out by a much larger one, then there will be consequences for your business and it’s important to factor this into your future planning. For more information on the consequences of a merger and acquisition in the IT space and the risks to their clients, then read our blog post What To Do If Your IT Provider Has Been Merged Into a Larger One.
Questions to ask yourself about your IT Provider and your business relationship:
There are two different types of IT providers: the reactive break-fix provider, the reasonably proactive but not strategic, and the strategic partner.
[Please click here to find out more about the different types of IT providers and their billing models]
2. Do you know what billing model you are on?
Please click here for more information on how you can find out the billing model.
3. Does your provider send you reports each month?
3a. If yes to above, can you understand the reports?
Are you being left in the dark over your IT?
There is no reason why your provider cannot be transparent with you and to be able to speak/report to you in non-tech terms. The reports should offer value.
You would not expect your lawyer or accountant to send you reports containing legal jargon that you may not be familiar with, so why expect it with your IT?
4. How long are your response times?
How long does it take IT to respond to tickets logged by staff – do they think it takes too long?
You may need to ask your staff/office managers about this.
It can be hard to know what ‘good’ response times look like. Here is a good benchmark…
5. What counts as a response time?
Some providers have a different definition of what a response time is. Some count it as the time it takes to send an email to the recipient to acknowledge the ticket and so may promote that they have a ‘5-minute response time’ but this does not include the time it takes to solve a ticket. Other providers will calculate their response time as the time it takes to resolve the issue.
Ask your provider what their definition of response time is.
6. How do your staff generally feel about IT?
This will give you a good indication as to whether things are healthy or not. IT underpins all business operations; it should help the operations run smoothly and not hinder them. Often lost system time equals lost money.
Take our quick fire, no email address needed, 2-minute quiz to receive some personalised resources on dependent on your situation to help you to relieve some of your IT frustrations.
Click here to take Are You An IT-Lost Business Leader quiz now!
Lumina Technologies have taken the time to understand the requirements of our business and work as our strategic IT partner, enabling us to concentrate on delivering a high quality service to our clients and focus on our growth strategy. They have delivered a 100% cloud solution to our business with no underlying infrastructure costs or maintenance, which gives us scalability for our planned growth. It also means our business critical applications and data are securely accessible from virtually all our user devices. Lumina’s professional approach and strategic expertise is highly valued and their management of our IT – based on their in-depth knowledge, leaves us confident that our systems are available 24×7.
Keidan Harrison LLP
Lumina have supported us so well through the difficult circumstances of 2020. They worked extremely hard to ensure we were able to work remotely and continue to operate our business successfully. The support team are very friendly and knowledgeable, and have excellent response times.
The team have also enhanced our cyber security which is so important in the legal sector, and they continue to provide high quality advice to help us move forward with our IT goals.
Managing Partner, Adams & Remers LLP
The quality of IT Support provided by Lumina Technology is of the highest standard and is complemented by effective client liaison with impressive response times. Trap Oil Group plc has no hesitation in recommending Lumina as a dedicated and specialist group of IT professionals.
Technical Director, Trap Oil Group plc
Richard and his team are a real inspiration to anyone who meets them and I have watched Lumina’s growth over the last few years with interest and admiration. Richard has been an amazing supporter of the Hospice of St Francis, being a Gold member of the Corporate Partner Network for almost two years. He takes an active interest in the community and is passionate about his company and his town: nothing is too much trouble, he is always willing to help, to give up his time and to provide business advice when asked. Lumina is an inspiration to any company wanting to set up business in Hertfordshire.
Corporate Fundraising Manager, The Hospice of St Francis
Lumina Technologies Prism Hosted Desktop has allowed our business to centralise our global corporate data, allowing much faster access for all our staff – regardless of their location. We have also been able to simplify and reduce our infrastructure and management overhead. With the new Prism Hosted Desktop solution all staff now have simple and secure access to corporate data using any device they choose. Prism Hosted Desktop has increased the productivity of our staff and given us a single, consistent and familiar experience for all users from any device, in any location, 24/7.
Chief Executive Officer, Wentworth Resources PLC
The commercially sensitive and regulated nature of Lambert Energy Advisory’s business requires an IT provider able to maintain the highest levels of integrity and confidentiality, Lumina Technologies has consistently been unimpeachable in this regard over the nine years we have employed them.
Lambert Energy Advisory
It has been a great pleasure working with Lumina Technologies over the past two years. They have fully committed to being involved in the local community with volunteering and with professional advice and commitment, helping many local charities along the way. As a growing company it proves that being involved in the local community is helping them attract and retain a talented workforce and I look forward to working with them well into the future.
Hawkstone Management Services Ltd is a small company for which IT Outsourcing is realistically the only viable option. Lumina Technologies have successfully performed this role for over fifteen years. They also provide innovative solutions to keep pace with technological progress. I would have no hesitation in recommending Lumina to similar sized businesses.
Hawkstone Management Services Ltd
Charles Douglas Solicitors LLP have been using Lumina Technologies for a number of years now and continue to be impressed by the technical know-how and contemporary knowledge of their senior management, who provide a timely, efficient and friendly service. Whether it is a small issue with one computer, or a strategic IT decision, they maintain a current knowledge of available technologies. Lumina are always at the other end of the phone to help resolve issues and minimise business interference. The technical knowledge of Richard and his senior team means that there has not been a problem that they can’t solve to date. I am sure we will continue to use them in the years to come.
Managing Partner, Charles Douglas Solicitors LLP
The team at Lumina Technologies have made the Amoun Travel & Tours office IT transition seamless and problem free. The office set-up has been vastly improved and the IT Support services are flawless. No issue goes unresolved, which is extremely reassuring.
Amoun Travel & Tours Ltd
Lumina Technologies has been Salamander Energy plc’s IT provider since start-up in 2005 and has supported us in London during our expansion across operational offices in SE Asia. Their professional approach, strategic advice and close co-operation have been essential in making this a success.
Group Technical Director, Salamander Energy plc
Richard and his team at Lumina have provided Perrett Laver Limited with high quality strategic and practical IT Services for over ten years. During this period, Perrett Laver has grown from 10+ colleagues based in London to nearly 100 colleagues located in six offices across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. Richard and the Lumina team have not just been responsive to our ‘everyday’ IT needs, but have proactively sought to work with us on developing an infrastructure suitable for the type of operation we are today, and are planning to be months and years down the line. I would not hesitate to recommend Richard, especially for small to medium size business with growth in mind.
COO, Perrett Laver Limited
Society Limited has been supported by Lumina Technologies since our earliest start-up phase. From large logistical challenges like an office move, through to smaller fiddly issues like fixing a faulty e-template, we know we can count on their support and advice. They’ve also been able to engage with us strategically on the challenge of scaling-up our infrastructure as the firm continues to grow and evolve. We always feel confident going to Lumina with a problem, since we know they genuinely care about sorting things out and helping us to get on with our core business.
Managing Director, Society Limited
The Vita Group HQ staff have worked with Richard McBarnet and Lumina Technologies for over 9 years, with Lumina providing all our PC, server, phone, and software support. The services have included C-level executives based in London, Manchester, the US, as well as supporting home office IT as well. The service provided and intellectual capabilities are outstanding and we would highly recommend Richard and his Lumina team.
CEO, The Vita Group
We worked with Lumina on a GDPR Audit. Richard was knowledgeable and professional throughout, and did the best he could to bring a dry topic to life through lots of real life examples and analogies. We were so impressed with the service Lumina provided and the value we got from partnering with them on this project – we couldn’t recommend them enough.
Holly Cottingham, Vintec Laboratories