A competent IT person is essential for business operations. When a company runs into problems with their IT infrastructure and they don’t get it fixed quickly, everything grinds to a halt. Revenue loss, customer dissatisfaction and employee frustration are quick to follow. Here are five ways to evaluate an IT professional and figure out if they suck, so they get cut loose before they cause more harm.
Some IT problems need to be solved in minutes, not hours or days. Unexpected downtime has long-lasting consequences for businesses, so the IT person needs to be responsive. The organization should have access to multiple communication channels and a guaranteed response time, so it doesn’t end up in that situation.
Some IT contractors start off highly responsive — until the company signs the contract. After that, they drop off and are hard to reach. No surefire way exists to find out whether the IT professional will do that ahead of time, but businesses should pay close attention to reviews and the difficulty of getting in touch at the beginning of the relationship for red flags.
2. Reactive Instead of Proactive
Are the networks always going down, workstations piling up for repair and help desk tickets spiraling out of control? A lot of routine IT problems get solved through proactive strategies that resolve issues before they become critical. If the IT person only fixes problems when they occur rather than figuring out how to stop them from happening at all, they aren’t a good long-term choice.
3. Always Experiencing Problems
Some IT contractors have a laundry list of issues that prevent them from fulfilling their contractual obligations. When businesses ask for the help that they’re paying for, they shouldn’t hear all about the IT person’s personal or professional problems. While they are human and emergencies sometimes occur, they should be rare. Ideally, the IT contractor has a plan in place for covering business needs in the event of unexpected issues. Companies need a reliable IT services provider for their mission-critical function in daily operations.
4. Doesn’t Have a Plan
A company’s IT infrastructure plays a significant role in meeting business goals and growth plans. If the IT professional doesn’t have a method for handling new solutions, maintaining current equipment and optimizing operations, that’s definitely a bad sign. The company may find it difficult or impossible to scale with the current configuration, which may lead to expensive fixes to address the issues.
5. Doesn’t Have Extensive Documentation
The business may need to bring in additional IT contractors as it grows, develop in-house staff, work with specialists or coordinate with external partners. In some cases, they could terminate the contract with an IT services provider. If the current IT person doesn’t document the systems properly, then trying to figure out how the complex infrastructure works may be impossible down the line. Bad IT contractors avoid documenting their work as a way to protect their job security, since replacing them would be more expensive than dealing with their poor service.
Few things in the business world are more frustrating than bad IT service providers. Keep a close eye out for these five red flags to avoid hiring the IT professional in the first place, or push to get rid of them if they start behaving poorly after the contract gets signed.