What to look for when choosing an IT vendor

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Finding a reliable IT vendor can help save IT pros a lot of time and money (and headaches!), but there’s naturally some skepticism when it comes to trusting an outsider to assess your needs and offer the right solutions at a fair price.

We informally polled SpiceHeads, IT pros in the Spiceworks community, to tell us what they look for in an IT vendor and they honestly shared what they loved and hated from their own experiences. Based on their feedback, we put together this checklist of six things to look for when choosing an IT vendor. Learn from SpiceHeads how to find the right fit for your organization.

Related: It’s not me, It’s you: Signs You Should Break Up with Your IT Provider

1. Do they have what you need now and later?

Look beyond the products you need right now. What projects are you looking at down the road? Does the IT vendor offer what you will need in 3 months or a year? Do they offer a diversity of brands that meet your needs? Do they specialize in other areas that you might want to use in the future, such as IT services or support?

If you take the time to find an IT vendor who you can use for years to come, you’ll save time and research in the future by relying on that established relationship.

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2. Who are they?

Once you find an IT vendor who has what you need, do a little digging to find out if they are someone you can trust. Check out their about page on their website to see how long they have been in business and what their philosophy or mission is. Look for pages that describe how they work with you to see if they would make a good partner.

You’ll also want to look off their website to get the full story. Are they active on social media? By looking at social sites like Facebook you can get a great understanding of their company culture. Also look for any reviews on popular sites like Google, Yelp or Spiceworks.

3. How are they qualified?

An IT vendor should not just be sales people in the IT industry. Anyone helping you make IT purchases needs to have IT qualifications to be able to answer a broad range of questions and help advise you on how to achieve your technology goals.

Find out how the IT vendor stays up-to-date with the continually evolving technology landscape and what standards they maintain for account representatives that you will be working with. If they have a services department, ask to see what technical certifications their engineers hold.

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4. Do they have proof?

This is one of the best ways to find out if an IT vendor is right for you. Ask to see case studies or current customer references who you can call and ask about their experience. They should be more than willing to provide these resources if they have great relationships with their clients.

In addition to asking IT questions, ask their clients how they’re treated as a customer. Does the IT vendor invest in learning opportunities for them such as webinars, demos or events? Do they visit customers, send treats or sponsor fun outings to show they care? The customer will be able to give you insight into their relationship.

Finally, ask the IT vendor if they have ever been recognized for excellence in the IT industry or by technology partners they work with.

5. What’s their calling frequency?

This is one of the biggest concerns SpiceHeads have about IT vendors – they don’t want to be harassed with sales calls.

An IT vendor should be a reliable resource who anticipates your needs and reaches out when relevant for help, news and updates – not spam. They should work with you where you are instead of trying to push you in another direction.

Current customers will be able to tell you how appropriate communication from the IT vendor is.

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6. Can this be a long-lasting relationship?

If they pass 1-5 this should be the last question you need to ask. Find out how they will work with you over time, including how responsive they are to requests and quotes and what their shipping procedures are. Ask them about their employee turnover rate and how frequently you might receive a new account representative.

After you’ve done your research on an IT vendor, ask yourself these questions to find out if you should use them:

  • Is this IT vendor someone who understands me and my company’s goals?
  • Do they pay attention to details that are important to me?
  • Do I trust their IT recommendations?
  • Are they transparent in their business dealings?
  • Do I like them?

If they pass the test, then you’ve just found yourself a trusty new IT vendor who can help you make informed IT decisions and quickly get you what you need.

But trust can be hard. If you truly have found the right IT vendor, over time they will continue to prove the validity of your relationship by providing value time after time. Here is a great example of how an IT pro leverages his relationship with CCB to help him stay on the cutting-edge of technology in his industry.

Once you can trust an IT vendor, they can become an extremely valuable partner who can help you save time and money. By relying on their product knowledge and expertise, you can focus your efforts on larger IT initiatives to grow your business.

Is your IT vendor working for you?

CCB is a trusted IT vendor to over 40,000 customers nationwide, and has been helping IT pros achieve their goals with technology since 1991.

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Nicole Shortslef
Nicole specializes in all things media – handling CCB's social media, photography and video. She is also CCB’s Green Gal in the IT pro community Spiceworks, building relationships with IT pros across the country.

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