One of the most common decisions that our customers make is to use multiple providers for their IT needs. The process of dealing with a range of different providers is often turbulent, but the process of procuring these providers is easy - which is probably how businesses end up in such a situation without intending to.
Let’s imagine that two directors at separate law firms decide to leave their existing positions and set up their own partnership. Between them, the directors agree that they’ll need to outsource their IT requirements, and decide to use an IT technician that one of the directors knows from a previous position.
As the law firm grows, they need to purchase new equipment for their staff, and they go to another supplier for new PCs and laptops. From here, they decide to migrate from a server based environment to Office 365, and employ the services of a specialist cloud reseller to do this. They then go back to their original technician for support of Office 365, but because of his lack of experience of the service, he in turn outsources this.
In this scenario, the law firm are using three different providers for their IT; one of whom is using another provider. There will be further complications for managing the internet connection at their office, for ensuring the antivirus on each machine is up to date, for making sure data is being regularly and securely backed up, and so on.
All of this involvement of lots of different parties is often the cause of confusion and inefficiency, both in people time and financially, and there is also a heightened risk of data loss, as information is passing through lots of different systems.
In our experience of managing each element of an organisation’s IT, and our experience of working alongside other vendors, the best approach is almost always to look for a ‘one stop shop’ IT provider. It’s feasible to outsource all of your needs to as many different providers as you wish, but it’s rarely an effective option.
The more you outsource to a single provider - assuming they have the technical bandwidth to support you - the better their offering will become, and the more valuable that relationship will become to your business. In the long term, you'll find yourself dealing with an trusted partner rather than a provider; an organisation who understands your needs and your goals, and seeks to leverage technology to help you accomplish these with the greatest return on investment.