How should County Boards of DD—or any organization for that matter—go about choosing a managed services provider?
We sat down with John Gambill Jr., CEO and Co-founder of GO Concepts Inc to talk more about what you should know when selecting the right IT managed services provider. GO Concepts is the premier IT Solutions provider for agencies, County Boards of DD, and independent providers in Ohio.
What exactly do we mean when we say “managed services provider”?
We’re talking about a service company that helps your organization manage your IT. While most of that work and strategy can be done off-site and remotely, it can include in-person support, too.
Now that we’re clearer on what we mean by a managed services providers (or MSPs), let’s get back to the original question: how do you go about selecting a managed services provider? What should your organization be looking for?
Here are 5 questions you can ask when it comes to choosing an IT partner.
1. Do they have great references?
One of the best ways to find a reputable, dependable partner is to talk to their current clients, explains John. Ideally, you can talk to any of their clients who are similar to your organization—whether that be the industry you are in, or the nature or focus of your company.
The objective with speaking to those current clients would be to see the overall kind of experience they have working with that firm and how they feel about them, says John.
You also want to be able to consistently hear from current clients that they have staff with the right skills and experience to successfully execute all the expected IT tasks you think you may be seeking.
Other questions you can ask their references include:
- What needs do they help your firm with?
- How have they customized services for you?
- How responsive are they?
- What is communication like with them?
- How much do they listen?
All of these questions will help you determine what it’s truly like to work with a company.
2. Do they have a breadth and depth of experience?
When selecting a company to work with, they should have no problem showing their ability and capacity to do the job right.
Ask questions to determine if the firm you’re considering has a proven track record and has a great deal of experience working with organizations like yours.
GO Concepts, for example, has focused on County Boards, Agencies, and Independent Providers since 2013. That focus and dedication is part of why they are the leader in information technology solutions for the entire DD organization community in Ohio today.
3. Do they have certifications or evidence that they stay on top of emerging trends and timely information?
IT by nature is always changing, and you want a firm that stays on top of successful IT strategies and tactics, including those that are most pertinent to your organization, your business strategy, and your industry.
Just one signal they are committed to this is ongoing education they participate in or certifications, such as certifications from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) or certifications from Microsoft or AWS, to name a few. These credentials are just one more sign they take ongoing education seriously. Don’t be afraid to ask them about their ongoing education.
4. Do they understand your organization’s goals?
A partnership with an IT solutions provider is so critical for your organization and can impact all areas of your operations, says John. Make sure any company you’re considering truly knows your goals—and how they can help you reach those goals.
5. Are they involved in your community?
Do you see them giving back or somehow serving the community? That might be conference attendance, hands-on volunteering, donation dollars, or that might be content and resources they are providing—or even how they interact with you and others in the community in social media.
Or, it could be fundraisers, or it could be any number of efforts that show their dedication to the community.
GO Concepts is engaged and invested in the developmental disabilities community throughout Ohio in a number of ways. Just one example: to help support organizations supporting individuals with developmental disabilities, they held a random drawing at the OACB 35th Annual Conference. The idea was that they would contribute to a charity a charity that was chosen by the winner of that random drawing.
During the conference, they gathered business cards and eventually drew the winning card. It belonged to Chris Carpenter, M.S. Ed., Strategic Analysis Manager for Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential (LEAP) was selected as the recipient of the donation. GO Concepts made a $200 donation to LEAP in honor of the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities. On top of that, GO Concepts is heavily involved in DD groups and other community activities that support the developmental disabilities community.
The takeaway: aim to work with a company that genuinely cares about the same community you care about.
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Learn More About Go Concepts
GO Concepts is dedicated to working with the Development Disabilities community throughout Ohio. Click here to learn more about GO Concepts’ managed information technology services.