Read our article on what to look for when picking a technology partner.
The UK is a healthy breeding-ground for technology. In fact, Britain produces the largest volume of technology companies in Europe that are worth more than $1bn each (or ‘Unicorns’ as they’re now fondly referred to in the industry). And what’s more, over a third of Europe’s fastest-growing technology firms are UK based.[i]
So, whilst that might be great for the economy – if you’re a business looking for a supplier of technology – the choice on the market can be overwhelming.
Having operated as a UK-based technology company for almost 15 years now – we asked some of the Nowcomm team what clients should be asking when choosing who to do business with.
- What is it you’re looking for?
First things first, is there a problem you want your technology supplier to solve?
The word ‘technology’ is a label that applies to a whole raft of things. But it’s worth thinking about what it is you’re looking to achieve, and what’s important to you – then finding a company that can offer expertise in that area.
What are your specific requirements? For example, is it to allow your employees to roam seamlessly between your sites? Perhaps it’s about creating a more secure environment for your people to work in?
As the old adage goes: A jack of all trades is a master of none – and that might not be what you want –when comes to the design, execution, and management of your IT infrastructure. Especially when you rely so heavily on technology to be able to operate.
Nowcomm have honed their expertise into three distinct offerings: Networks, Collaboration, and Cybersecurity.
- Can they offer something that works for you?
If the average business spends 3.28%[ii] of their revenue on IT, then it should work for their operation –rather than off-the-shelf propositions that are designed for a general type of business.
Some of the suppliers on the technology market might not be able to provide bespoke elements to their offering, so you won’t always be fully utilising what you’re paying for.
Simon Hudson, Account Director at Nowcomm said: “In our world, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution to our customer’s technology needs. There are plenty of bigger players in the marketplace that can fit that bill.
“First and foremost, for us, it’s about spending time with our customers and getting under the skin of how they work, what they need, and the problems they’re trying to solve. And then comes the exciting bit for us; coming up with the solution that exploits the innovative technology that’s on the market.”
Having a supplier that’s flexible means budgets can be protected too. And with 57%[iii] of UK SMEs saying that cost is a barrier to adopting new technology – price flexibility is certainly a differentiator in a crowded market place.
- How competent are they?
Before parting with any of that hard-earned revenue on technology spends, you need to assess how competent your prospective technology supplier actually is.
As a starter for ten, before speaking to anyone, you can do a bit of digital detective work.
Any IT company worth their salt – who’ve been successful in acquiring industry accreditations or awards – will proudly exhibit their achievements on their website. And this is usually one indicator of competency.
For example, Nowcomm hold three, coveted industry accreditations: Cisco Gold Partner; Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Master Partner; and Cisco Master Collaboration Partner. And only four other companies in the UK have these.
Richard McLoughlin, CEO of Nowcomm recently said: “Having this prestigious collection of three independently audited accreditations from Cisco gives our customers a level of confidence that they’ve chosen to do business with a professional organisation that has obtained the highest level of expertise in their field.”[iv]
Your online rummaging needn’t stop there. You can use social media sites like LinkedIn to find out about key players in the firm you’re researching. It might give you an idea of how much industry experience they have and skills they’ve obtained.
In addition, you can find key pieces of information about most companies online – for example, the date they were formed – through various websites, including GOV.UK[v]
Of course, when the time comes to kick off discussions with any potential IT company – ask them directly how qualified they are to win your business. Technology is a moving feast, so how are they making sure they’re staying ahead of the game? For example, everyone at Nowcomm completes at least 80 hours of training each year, in working time – that’s the only way they make sure they stay ahead of the technology curve.
Also, assess how well you feel you’re being listened to. Are they putting themselves in your shoes? Are they speaking your language rather than their own? Can they answer your questions?
The next step is to ask them what they’ve delivered for clients like you.
- What do others say about their capabilities?
Most technology suppliers will showcase their work – either on their website, or on their social media channels – usually in the form of case studies, testimonials, or press articles.
These are always worth a read to get an indication of the type of work they do, and the type of client they work with – plus, they’ll give you an insight into why the client is happy to endorse them.
If these don’t exist – and even if they do – it’s perfectly reasonable to ask to see some testimonials. In fact, some companies will even allow you to contact their client base yourself.
- Are they going to be there for you?
Most companies can’t do business without technology – it’s the backbone to their operation.
Therefore, you need solid assurances that the people looking after your technology needs are not only competent to do so, but will also be there for you when things go wrong, no matter what time or day it is. Especially as more and more businesses operate around the clock.
Ask what kind of managed services they offer and how they could protect your business when the worst happens.
Simon concluded: “Nowcomm has a 24/7/365 network operations centre – serving over 20 countries. So, when businesses need us, we’re there for them.”
For more information about choosing the right technology supplier for you, get in touch today.