Camaraderie around the office is a good thing. It’s great to get along well with your co-workers, your bosses, and those to whom you are a manager. A pleasant office environment makes the day pass more quickly and it’s genuinely nice to have friends in the workplace.
But what about those sub-contractors that you just see or speak to every once in a while – like the IT guys your company hires to take care of important technology stuff? Do you need to form a relationship with them? Do you even need to like them?
We at Stillwater IT answer that question with a resounding “yes”! You should like your IT advisors. As a matter of fact, we think it’s very important that you are pleased with your IT consultants and here’s why.
- Good communication – When you’ve developed a cordial relationship with someone, communication tends to be better. And with good communication comes a better understanding of what your company needs and wants regarding your IT services. If you like the advisor you’re working with, you won’t be hesitant to pick up the phone or send an email if there’s a problem or challenge to be solved.
- Trust – Did you ever notice that when you like someone that you tend to trust them more? If after interviewing several IT advisors you choose one that you like, there’s a good chance that you’re already one step ahead in the trust department. And trust is super important when you’re dealing with someone who is working with the systems that house and protect secure data that’s important to you and your clients or customers.
- Sticking to your budget – Once you’ve developed a cordial relationship with your IT advisor, it’s easier to talk about money. Similarly, if your advisor trusts and respects you, having “the conversation” about budget will go more smoothly. This said, you should have a budget in place before you even begin to look for an IT company to hire, and once hired, your IT person should be willing to work with your budget and even find ways to help you save money. A good relationship means you can comfortably talk about where you must spend money and where you could be spending less.
- Collaboration – Working with an IT advisor you like and trust makes it easier to collaborate. Collaboration means that each of you is bringing something to the table. Whereas your IT professional will have technological know-how to share with you, you might bring your marketing expertise, product knowledge, and more to the conversation. Then you can come together to decide what’s best for your business.
Choosing an IT Consultant
While we heartily agree that it’s important to like your IT advisor, there are certainly other things to look when hiring a consultant in addition to a pleasant personality and a confident manner.
Start by examining why you need an IT consultant and jot down your thoughts about that for your first meeting with a prospective advisor. Don’t hesitate to also talk to your employees to gather information about where they believe you might need assistance from an experienced IT professional.
Next, set a reasonable budget for both paying the consultant and implementing the solutions you might require to reach your IT goals. Be realistic, especially if there’s a lot to be accomplished. Furthermore, do some homework and educate yourself on the average cost of IT services before you set a budget or meet with prospective advisors.
When it comes time to schedule meetings with IT professionals, don’t simply depend on word-of-mouth recommendations. While that works sometimes, it might be more prudent to ask colleagues in similar businesses about who they use for their IT needs. Speak to several candidates from which you can choose the best for your needs rather than limiting yourself to just one or two.
During the interview, have questions ready and ask the same ones of each candidate. Some sample questions might include:
- Are you an independent consultant or do you market a particular system or product?
- Have you worked for a company similar to mine?
- How long will you need before you can start proposing solutions?
- When can you start?
- Can you provide references?
Remember, ultimately you want to choose an IT advisor who fits with the culture of your business and meshes with your employees and – especially – you. Think about the qualities you appreciate like a sense of humor, integrity, promptness, direct communication, and more, and look for those in the people you interview.
At Stillwater IT, we employ a “people first” culture that has helped us in developing long-lasting relationships with our many valued clients over more than a decade-and-a-half. We offer personalized, professional IT support through honesty, trust, transparency, and industry collaboration.
To schedule an appointment with one of our IT professionals or to learn more about our services, call us at 604-899-1105.