In business, every company has a different level of maturity, falling on a scale of 1 to 5. Before you meet with an IT provider, it’s important to know where your level of operational maturity falls.
This is an often overlooked component of finding the right provider for your needs, but here’s why it matters: If you’re a 2 and your provider is a 5, you’ll to spend more time disagreeing with your provider’s ideas than appreciating the value they add. Similarly, if you’re a 4 and your provider is a 1, you’re likely dissatisfied and planning to drop them like a hot potato as soon as your contract expires.
Let’s avoid this mismatch by determining your business maturity and teaching you how to find a provider that’s the right fit.
Operational Level 1 or 2
In these phases of organizational maturity, you’re still laying and solidifying the foundations of your business. You are either semi-familiar or completely unaware of the role that technology plays in your business. You may be open to discovering more about technology and experimenting with one or two new things, but technology is low on the list of where you’re willing to spend money.
Companies at this stage are likely still trying to create standards, and the process in your day-to-day might feel scattered and chaotic. You’re potentially still in the start-up phase, where you’re doing everything you can to get up and running and keep the business going. Often, relationships with vendors are transactional in nature. You have to devote all your focus on your operations and you simply don’t have the time to develop relationships beyond those that directly impact your bottom line.
Best match: Break-fix services
You need someone you can call when things aren’t working, but beyond that, your budgets are tight and you don’t have thousands to spend each month to have a team manage your IT. You need to run lean with tech and you need to be able to pay for it when it’s absolutely necessary.
When having conversations with providers, clearly explain why you believe break/fix to be the best option. They may want to have a full conversation to properly set expectations, but there are plenty of providers who offer break/fix as their main service structure.
Operational Level 3
At this point, your organization is more structured. You have standards in place, but adoption may be inconsistent. Your employee level awareness around your business process is likely in the medium to high range.
Technology has been selected and has a defined use in your business. However, it’s still viewed as a cumbersome expense rather than a strategic investment. You’re reluctant to upgrade technology as frequently as recommended.
You may have your own internal IT person, and you’ve realized they could use a little extra help, or you’re searching for an external provider to help you with your business IT. You know that you need to worry about your IT more, but you’re still fixated on cost.
Best matches: Supplemental managed services for your in-house team OR Managed Service Providers that offer lower-cost solutions
Your team may already have someone who does some of your IT work, but they may be getting overwhelmed or be reaching their limitations. It’s okay to seek out a third-party provider to help mitigate some of the more crucial IT tasks.
You may just decide that you’d rather fully outsource your IT. You don’t necessarily want all the bells and whistles and don’t see the merit of having every service that providers may offer, but you’re open to conversations about what components of managed service are critical to continuing to develop your business.
Operational Level 4 or 5
In this phase, your organization experiences dynamic and continuous change. You have standards in place and you’re now learning and improving based on results. Your organization is growth-minded and efficiency-driven. Your have clearly defined roles, communication across the organization is transparent and consistent, and decisions are well-informed.
Your company has a proactive approach, focuses on employee growth, and concerns itself with high levels of engagement throughout the organization.
At this point, technology is viewed as an investment and an asset. It may even be considered part of your competitive advantage. Your org focuses on strategic planning and forecasting, and your focus is very long-term oriented. You’re looking for more than just a managed service provider.
You’re looking for a partner who can:
- Help you incorporate technology into your business plans,
- Recommend and guide you to the best investments
- Roadmap technology in a way that aligns with your goals and budget
- Provide cutting edge value that only a partner can offer
Best matches: A strategic partner focused IT service provider, or as we like to refer to it: a Technology Success Partner.
This provider will lead conversations with your business value in mind. They will want to know all about the inner workings of your day-to-day and ask questions about what obstacles you encounter on a daily basis that inhibits business growth. They will be strategically minded and growth-oriented. They will likely discuss the importance of being a good fit for each other, not just whether they can add you to their client list. This relationship should feel intentional and mutually beneficial.
Find the Right Fit
No matter where you fall on this scale, it’s important to match your needs and your provider’s mentality so that you can work together in harmony. If you only want break/fix, select a provider who specializes in that service. If you’re looking for the full suite of IT, select a provider who feels passionate about those things. Finding the right match can make a huge difference in how your company operates day-to-day.
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