Once you pick a provider, what will the initial process (onboarding) look like? Knowing what to expect will be critical to a successful transition. Here are questions to ask and what to expect.
What is the timeline and the initial goals?
- While the IT provider is the expert on the transition, you need to understand the timeline, any potential disruptions to your business, and the overall goals of the onboarding.
What will change and when?
- Minimal disruption should be one of the goals of any transition. Understanding what will change and when is key to avoiding issues and setting appropriate expectations for all your team members.
Who will be driving the process?
- This will be a team effort. Your team and their team. It’s reasonable to expect them to do all the heavy lifting and that you will need to be involved to assist, especially with internal communications and coordination.
When will they be ready to provide support?
Having a deadline keeps everyone focused and alleviates frustration.
How will you know the onboarding is done?
- This is a project and like any project, it should have a well-defined scope of work with deliverables spelled out. Knowing these upfront keeps it very clear on when the project is done.
What happens next?
- Some of this will be defined in the deliverables from the onboarding project and some will be setting the expectations for the normal rhythm of on-going support. Some typical things to expect will be:
- A list of items that need to be addressed immediately. These would typically relate to security, data backups, licensing, or any critical issues that were discovered during the onboarding.
- A road map with recommendations for the next 30-90 days of items to prioritize and approve along with a 12-month outline of other priorities.
As far as a “typical” on-boarding, here is an outline of the process:
The Planning Stage
Once a contract is signed, expect the provider’s technical team to coordinate an appointment to confirm the goals that were discussed in your evaluation process, take a deeper look at what’s going on now, and get a feel for what is specifically needed to make a smooth transition.
During this initial planning process you will create and agree on the final plan and timeline for implementation.
During this phase, communication is essential, and knowing who the point person from your internal team will be is important. This is the best way to ensure the process being set up meets your goals and objectives.
After the initial planning stage expect a deeper dive from the technical team using automated tools and manual processes to identify any risk factors, roadblocks, or expected inefficiencies that need to be addressed prior to moving forward.
The assessment will look at your existing processes and assets. If more information is needed, this will be acquired, and the existing infrastructure further evaluated. It is at this time specific business pain points should also be discussed. These must be considered to develop a viable solution that will help you achieve your desired results.
The deployment stage will involve the actual implementation of the tools and services that will be used on-going to support your environment. Expect the changes to be met with some push back by your team and management. Communication prior to this phase is critical to minimize frustration. On-going communication through this phase, with clear expectations and deliverables, will create confidence as the team sees progress being made. Making this phase as seamless and stress-free as possible is important to get the relationship off on the right foot. This includes providing information, resources, and training for each person involved in the process.
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