Guide

Choose an IT supplier for your business

Questions to ask a potential IT supplier

A new IT system can be a significant investment, so it's essential to choose the right supplier to provide it. As part of your IT supplier selection, you should interview prospective suppliers to help you asses how well they might suit your brief, and how comfortable your working relationship might be.

Here are some key questions to help you get the insight you need to choose the best IT supplier for your business.

  • Will they provide all the hardware, software, licences, services, support and maintenance you need?
  • Will they 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.
  • Will they install and configure your system so it's fully operational?
  • Will they train your staff?
  • What frontline support they can provide - eg a telephone helpdesk?
  • Will they take responsibility for system components purchased elsewhere?
  • What sort of maintenance contracts do they provide?
  • What exactly is included in their supply contract?
  • What sort of warranty do they provide?
  • Will they continue to provide support if you take responsibility for replacing faulty hardware yourself?
  • Will they accept payment for the system only when it is installed and working to your satisfaction?
  • What is and isn't included in the price - are upgrades and fixes to software included?
  • Can they provide references from other, similar companies they've helped in the past?
  • Will they provide you with written documentation, such as training manuals, that will help you understand your system?
  • How well they understand your business needs?
  • Do they have previous experience in your industry?
  • Are they happy for you to test the proposed system, perhaps under a non-disclosure agreement?
  • Are they financially viable and able to meet your requirements in the foreseeable future?

See also how to evaluate IT supplier proposals or read more about choosing the right suppliers.