Choose and manage your IT supplier

Checklist: choosing an IT supplier

As a new IT system can be a significant investment, it's important to choose the right system and supplier. Before you choose an IT supplier you should:

  • Find out whether the supplier can provide all the hardware, software, licences, services, support and maintenance you need.
  • Check whether the supplier intends to use subcontractors for any part of the supply (eg, installation, cabling or manning a helpdesk). If they do, make sure the subcontractors have the right kind of expertise for your system.
  • Check whether they will install and configure your system so it's fully operational.
  • Ask whether they will train your staff.
  • Confirm what frontline support they can provide - eg a telephone helpdesk.
  • Ask whether they will take responsibility for system components purchased elsewhere.
  • Investigate what sort of maintenance contracts they provide.
  • Get details of what exactly is included in their supply contract.
  • Find out what sort of warranty they provide.
  • Confirm whether they will continue to provide support if you take responsibility for replacing faulty hardware yourself.
  • Find out if they will accept payment for the system only when it is installed and working to your satisfaction.
  • Check what is and isn't included in the price - ask whether upgrades and fixes to software are included.
  • Ask them to provide references from other, similar companies they've helped in the past.
  • Ask whether they will provide you with written documentation, such as training manuals, that will help you understand your system.
  • Decide whether you feel they understand your business needs.
  • Ask about any experience they may have in your industry.
  • Ask whether they are happy for you to test the proposed system, perhaps under a non-disclosure agreement.
  • Find out whether they are financially viable and able to meet your requirements in the foreseeable future.

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