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As a small business founder your IT function is critical to your success. Whether you rely on technology for day-to-day operations, online sales, customer service, or storing confidential customer data, any issues with your IT can have a significant impact on your bottom line. That’s why it’s crucial to have a good relationship with your IT provider if you have taken the decision to outsource your IT department. Unfortunately, not all IT providers are created equal, and a bad relationship with your provider can have serious consequences.
Here are 6 signs that you may be in a bad relationship with your IT provider.
One of the most frustrating signs of a bad relationship with your IT provider is constant technical issues. Whether it’s slow internet, computer crashes, or server downtime, technical problems can disrupt your entire business. These issues can be especially frustrating if you’re losing sales, missing deadlines, or unable to communicate with your customers.
The emotional toll of constant technical issues can be significant. You and/or your staff may feel stressed, anxious, or helpless when you can’t resolve technical issues on your own. It’s important to address these issues with your IT provider and establish clear expectations for how quickly they will respond to and resolve technical issues.
Effective communication is key to any successful relationship, including the one with your IT provider. If you’re experiencing poor communication, such as long response times, unreturned calls or emails, or unexplained technical jargon, it can be frustrating and confusing.
Poor communication can also lead to misunderstandings or incorrect assumptions about the services your IT provider is providing. This can lead to wasted time and money, as well as decreased productivity and revenue. It’s important to establish clear communication channels and expectations with your IT provider from the beginning to avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunications.
If you feel like your relationship with your current IT provider can be salvaged, then it’s fundamental that you resolve any communication issues you may be experiencing and set out clear expectations of service levels.
If you cannot agree on this or they cannot meet your standards, then it may be time to start considering working with a new provider.
Another sign of a bad IT provider is a lack of proactivity. If your IT provider is only reacting to issues as they arise, rather than taking steps to prevent them, it can be a red flag [see blog post on Reactive vs Strategic IT Providers]. An example of this can be if your provider fails to take accountability – if there is an IT issue and you ask your provider why they haven’t resolved it yet and they respond with ‘because you didn’t tell us to’.
A lack of proactivity can lead to increased downtime, lost productivity, and potential data breaches.
The consequences of a data breach can be devastating for a small business, including loss of customer trust, financial penalties, and legal action. It’s crucial to ensure that your IT provider is taking proactive steps to prevent data breaches, such as regular software updates, strong passwords, and firewalls.
As your business grows, your IT needs may change. If your IT provider is unable or unwilling to adapt to these changes, it can be a sign of a bad relationship. For example, if you need to add new employees, servers, or software, your IT provider should be able to accommodate these changes.
A lack of scalability can lead to increased costs, decreased productivity, and missed opportunities. It’s important to discuss your future with your IT provider and ensure that they can support your business as it grows.
Transparency is essential in any business relationship, including the one with your IT provider. If you’re experiencing a lack of transparency, such as hidden fees or unclear service agreements, it can lead to distrust and confusion which is not what you want in any relationship.
The consequences of a lack of transparency can be significant, such as unexpected costs or services that do not meet your expectations. It’s important to establish clear expectations and agreements with your IT provider from the beginning, including service-level agreements, pricing, and any additional fees.
Do not be afraid to revisit your contract with your IT provider and hold them to account for their service agreements.
If you’re finding that you’re doing all the work yourself, despite having an IT provider, it can be a sign of a bad relationship. For example, if you’re still responsible for updates and maintenance on your machines, you may be questioning the value of your IT provider because why are you having to do most of the ‘heavy lifting’.
The emotional toll of doing all the work yourself can be significant, as you may feel like you’re paying for services that you’re not receiving. It’s important to discuss your expectations with your IT provider and ensure that you’re receiving the level of service that you’re paying for.
Are you in a two-way relationship with your provider or is it only a transactional relationship? Are you only going to your IT provider about the issues your business is experiencing, or is it two-way where they also come to you to make suggestions or raise their own concerns about the strategic direction your business is going in?
Arguably it is more beneficial to most businesses to be in partnership with a strategic IT provider due to the value they can provide and because the risk you as a business take on is minimal compared to other IT providers.
For more information on the different types of IT Providers and the risks and benefits associated with them – please see blog post on Reactive vs Strategic IT Providers.
In conclusion, a bad relationship with your IT provider can have serious consequences for your small business. It’s important to be aware of the signs of a bad relationship, with poor communication and lack of transparency being the two most important. If you are experiencing either of these two red flags, then it is probably time to start seriously considering switching providers because the consequences are too high.
By addressing these issues and finding a reliable and trustworthy IT provider, you can ensure the success and growth of your business.
Do any of these ‘red flags’ feel familiar to you?
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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