How To Measure The Success Of Your IT Services
Engaging an IT provider can be a hugely satisfying moment for a business. The confidence that comes from knowing your systems are supported by expert knowledge, and shielded from the more dangerous elements of the internet can be a great comfort. However, once you’ve signed on the dotted line, how do you go about holding your provider to account and being sure that you are getting a stellar service?
As a business owner, you are in the driving seat to set your company up for success. Good leaders will afford themselves the time to manage, review, and improve upon their current structures and methods. A key element of this process is defining what success looks like to you. And, keeping track of your progress towards those goals. This is where KPIs come in – and there are three key areas that you should monitor.
1 – Response times and availability
An important part of your agreement with your IT provider is response time and availability. This is known as a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and fundamentally it covers how long it will take for your provider to be able to respond to any problems that might arise, and how long it will take to fix the issue.
You should have an open and transparent conversation with your provider about response times, and how long you think is acceptable for an issue to be fixed. They will be able to give you examples of how long common issues might take to resolve, and what kind of downtime you might expect for a more serious one.
Once you have this in writing, you will then be able to measure your downtime over the year and see whether it has lived up to your expectations.
2 – Updates and new technology
A good IT provider should be responsive and well-informed. As a business owner, it’s unlikely that you’ll have the bandwidth to keep your finger on the pulse of new cyber security threats, protections, and updates – but your provider should.
There should be regular programmes of patches and software updates, and they should keep you in the loop as to any new security dangers that have arisen. They might also discuss when is the optimum time for updates and maintenance to be undertaken so that business disruption is kept to a minimum.
How often does your IT provider update your defences, and how often do they communicate generally? These are good questions to ask when trying to measure their success.
3 – Reporting
Finally, a monthly report can be key in identifying the success of your IT plan. It should give you a strong insight into the level of work that has been done by your provider, what problems they have tackled and how long it took to do so, what projects are ongoing (for example infrastructure projects), and any other issues that may have arisen over the past few weeks.
4 – Backups
Many of the strategies and tools that you put in place with an IT Service Provider may have an immediate cash impact, but almost certainly will save you money down the road.
Backups are a good example of this. This is where your data is backed up to a secure external location. It means that if there is a physical disaster such as a fire or flood, an accidental data wipe, or a cyber attack that locks you out – you will be able to recover your work.
If you have agreed on a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) with your provider, then you will have agreed on how often your data is backed up. For some organisations, such as financial
institutions, it might be important to back up your data in real time. Whereas solicitors might only need to have data backed up once a day.
ECL recognises that every client is different, and every client has a different IT support requirement. Whatever the size of your business, we can offer a support scenario to suit your needs.
Whether your business already uses Cloud services or you’re considering the Cloud as a possible way forward, talk to us first. We can provide anything from fully hosted IT infrastructures on our own ECL Private Cloud, to simple on-line backups. We can also give expert advice on Office 365 and other Cloud platforms.
How would losing access to your IT systems and data for days, or even weeks, affect your business? For many if not most companies this would be a nightmare scenario, with potentially very serious consequences.