It’s good to bear a number of factors in mind when you come to bid or renew for an IT contract. The first thing that everyone will say is “cost”, however this should only be a factor in conjunction with other aspects or else your contract will be doomed to failure. I’ve seen terribly cheap solutions create volumes of extra work for other departments simply because they couldn’t hold their own end up, and cost far more in real terms than was ever saved in the first place.
Firstly, have a check to see what the local provision of expertise is in your area. For firms in larger cities, you will probably be spoiled for choice. In London for example, there are scores of IT Support London based vendors and your main task will be to narrow down this field to an interview shortlist. Now is a good time to reach out to any industry contacts and see if any can provide recommendations, or ask the vendor themselves for a client list you can approach. Treat any who refuse at this stage with great caution, a good IT support company’s work should speak for itself.
Then look at the scope of IT services the vendor provides. Your key areas should be covered of course, but it’s also a good chance to see what else could be included in a standard contract. It may be the case that they have competency in an area that you would be looking to expand in, and this may be included in your service contract or available for an acceptable charge. It’s also worth finding out at this stage if they have in-house capabilities or need to bring in additional headcount to service your contract. Ideally you want to be hitting the ground running, not waiting for additional recruitment to provide good coverage for your needs.
Lastly, bear in mind what the vendor provides in terms ofdata backup. Disaster plans may seem like an extreme measure, but if something happens you’ll wish you had one in place as you only get one shot at recovering important data after a major crash. The sad truth of IT is that despite the best precautions, systems break and fail for a variety of causes, often beyond your control. Having good online backup facilities and workflows such as cloud computing will make the difference in minimising the impact of a major systems hit.