2. Partnering Right is Critical

Partnering with an IT vendor can define your fate. Most if not all IT departments have hidden weaknesses caused by financial limitations. This is just the way it is. Money doesn't grow on trees and this % of total sales allotted for IT budgets is usually not enough. An IT Director will be limited in one way or another.  These weaknesses can be seen in many forms. For example, it could be an inability to response to IT incidents outside of business hours. Or, it may be the lack of a particular skill set available from the current staff.

This requires an engagement with an outside vendor to get the coverage or secure the skill set needed. It is safe to say that this vendor of choice is usually selected based on former relationships – a trusted friend or former colleague or their proximity to the business's location. In these modern times this really isn't the best way to select your vendor.

A hardened IT Director will tell you that these partnerships can cause you a world of hurt or they can turn you into a rock star. So how does the serious IT Director choose a vendor?  They use 7 key attributes.

  1. Does the vendor have more than one core competency or are they a one trick pony? Having access to a multitude of advanced skill sets in areas that are weak to resolve complicated incidents or provide strategic advice makes any IT Director's team stronger. Aligning with a vendor who has multiple core competencies available on demand is much better than aligning with one who has a single core competency and is only available when they can break free from their current consulting assignment. Fear not, Allari has you covered. We provide direct access to advanced subject matter experts for very intelligent IT professionals who just need to bounce their opinions off of another professional. In other IT Departments, we are asked to be the lead in a particular core competency. Or, we simply execute over flow project work.
  2. Does the vendor offer a consumption based platform so the IT Director can only pay for the services they use? Today's serious IT Directors avoid managed service providers like the plague. The days of paying a flat monthly fee for "everything" without transparency are gone. IT Directors embrace consumption based service platforms. This makes the IT department stronger. They can respond and adjust quicker. They know where their budget is being spent and it is 100% justifiable. Allari provides a consumption based, service platform. We make our customers stronger!
  3. Does the vendor create a Standard Operating Procedure library for our team? If they don't have this as part of their initial service alignment, you have the wrong vendor. You are paying all of this money and they do not have a system for willingly sharing their knowledge with your team. At Allari, setting up your SOP library is the first thing we do. All work orders & service requests are executed according to a specific predefined SOP. We maintain these over the years and you have full access to them because they are typically stored on your system. This makes you stronger. You have the ability to end the relationship whenever you want. You have the ability to have someone internally pick up the tasks. The transition from vendor to customer is easier than ever. Allari makes you stronger!
  4. When can the vendor help you? Can they cover your system needs at any time of the day, night or weekends? (Availability/Coverage) Not all IT departments have enough budget to provide 30 minute response time type coverage with internal employees for all of their employer's systems never mind outside of normal business hours. In addition, when key people are on vacation or out sick, the business becomes exposed. The right vendor must be able to respond with the right skill set at any time. The reliance can't be on a single person or single core competency but a team. Allari has a global IT department that is available to you at any time of the day. We are located on 3 continents and speak many different languages. This makes you stronger.
  5. Can they take care of my basic tasks? Offloading chore based tasks will allow your internal team to focus on the business's high priority initiatives. This makes your core group more effective. This alignment also tells your team that their contributions are important. They were hired to be business enablers through technology not sweep the IT floors by having to do recurring maintenance tasks on their nights or weekends. I can't tell you how many times I have seen a senior IT professional stop working on a project to respond to an HR request for a new hire. Here are 5 reasons multitasking is bad for IT productivity.  Allari executes hundreds of thousands of chore based tasks each year for companies located in over 50 countries. We've got you covered!
  6. What is the true cost? Transparency. Any service provided to an IT Director should be visible and quantifiable by the IT Director. The vendor must be able to provide a transaction list of tasks performed so the IT Director can have insight into the effort and cost it takes to support their business. Consulting firms usually don't because they don't want you to see that you just paid $185 an hour for a SQL update statement to be executed. All tasks we execute cost under $19.25 per 15 minutes and you only pay for true output. Every action we take is documented, categorized and reportable via our ITIL certified software. Every month our customers get a report of the number of incidents we have resolved and the number of service requests we have fulfilled. For example, if you have us execute Identify and Access Management type tasks, you will see the total amount of users we were requested to create, delete or update. You will be able to see the amount of time we spent on those tasks and the total cost of doing so. This gives you complete insight into how much it costs to provide your business with IAM type support. You will find if you had this type of insight into the services being provided to you that there is a lot of profit in those multi year managed service contracts you have endorsed. 
  7. How does your vendor handle their mistakes? Maybe you don't hear about any because they get buried in technical talk. How can your vendor never make mistakes? After all its human to make mistakes. Accountability. It isn't that you make them it is how you handle them once they are made.  Allari admits it when we make mistakes. We remove all charges associated with any of our errors. Our work is 100% financially guaranteed. If the output is incorrect, you get a refund. If we made a mistake, we correct it immediately. It's all hands on deck to make sure it gets done correctly the 2nd time. If we made a mistake due to lack of understanding of your environment, we take your feedback and process it through our BPC methodology. That's correct, we have a process in place called BPC (Business Process Change). This internal methodology allows us to move a Standard Operating Procedure change to our employees quickly so everyone can make the necessary adjustments in these types of situations. There are quizzes and certifications which support this process. Our team gets re-certified on complicated tasks or IT Policies every 6 months.