The reality is that IT support is a service game. When choosing a provider, their relationships with software and hardware vendors and manufacturers are important, as is the quality and skills of their support and engineering teams. But unless the provider has a true service focus, you won’t see the reliable systems and support you require.
When searching for a provider, make sure that your candidates have well-rehearsed processes for responding to and fixing problems. Frameworks exist that can play a role here, including the widely recognised ITIL standards.
It can be a case of “you pay for what you get” but not always. When it comes to features, if a provider says that they offer 24/7 support, be sure to question what that means – will there be engineers on-hand, for example, or is it just a glorified messaging service?
Also make sure that you’re signing on to a proactive service. Waiting for a system to break or grind to a halt is almost without exception the most expensive time to solve its problems. Any provider worth its salt knows this, and their support will be as much about watching for and averting potential issues as it is about responding to immediate trouble.