Article by Ken Rode, Director of IT Services at UNAPEN, Inc.
Technology is Changing the Game
One of the biggest factors is the belief that if there is a problem that can’t be solved remotely, your IT provider can be there to fix it quickly. However, with the advent of Managed IT Services, including remote access in recent years, this has become much less critical and providers using the proper tools can actually respond faster remotely than they could if required to be on site.
Well-tooled providers can perform the majority of tasks needed to monitor, maintain and even improve your network without ever setting foot on your premises. In fact, with the assistance of an untrained on-site employee, you may never even meet your IT provider in person.
How are Leading Asset Managers Evolving?
Instead of focusing on geographical location, modern firms are examining a potential provider’s:
- Reputation within the Financial Services industry,
- Knowledge of, and experience with, your critical systems (including application software like Trading and Portfolio Accounting systems),
- Beadth of services offered.
This will result in you beginning a long term partnership with a firm that can meet your IT performance goals and maintain your systems at a high level for the foreseeable future.
“Local” has a New Definition
Now, this is not to say we would recommend hiring an IT provider in another country or even another state. There are still instances where you will want your provider to complete projects that require an onsite presence and paying for someone to fly a long way doesn’t make a lot of sense. The bottom line is simply that the definition of “local provider” no longer means someone in the same building or even the same city.
Current Selection Criteria is Slowly Changing
With so many choices for IT providers out there, it is tough to know exactly what the most important factors are in your choice. The chart below looks across 3,000 firms broken out by number of employees, showing that 31% of small to medium sized businesses feel it is critical to have an IT provider with local personnel. The medium to large size businesses also seem to place slightly more value on local providers.
Ken Rode is UNAPEN’s Director of IT. UNAPEN, Inc. specializes in delivering application software, outsourced IT and disaster recovery services that let wealth managers focus on growing their assets, not their overhead. Folow on twitter @UNAPEN.