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.
Subjects covered in this guide
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