IT Provider

Business Technology Assessments – The Key to a Successful Relationship with your IT Provider

My family and I have loved having a swimming pool in the backyard. For over twenty years, the pool has been a gathering place for family and friends. But the pool has seen its better days. It is time for some significant maintenance. We talked to a few pool restoration companies, but one company stood out. Before they would quote a price for the restoration, they took time to learn as much as possible about our pool. They asked questions about who built it and when. They removed some coping bricks to examine the foundation and did a detailed inspection of the entire area. They explained that they didn’t want to get halfway through the job and learn it would cost a lot more than they initially thought. And I didn’t want that either! I trusted them because they took the time necessary to discover all the required information before they gave me a quote.

The same principles are true when evaluating an IT Service Provider. At Kite Technology, we leverage what we call our 3D Proven ProcessTM. The 3 D’s stand for Discover, Deploy, Delight. Before we install anything (Deploy) and begin to support new clients (Delight), we learn everything we can that’s pertinent to us being successful (Discover). Our Discover process includes a comprehensive business technology assessment. We’ve designed this assessment to make sure there are no surprises. Just like with our pool restoration company, you will want to know what you’ll get and how much it will cost before you sign an IT services contract.

What is a Business Technology Assessment?

A business technology assessment is a process of evaluating the current state of a company’s technology infrastructure and identifying areas for improvement. It typically includes a review of hardware, software, network, and security systems, as well as an analysis of data management and business processes. The goal of a technology assessment is to help a company make informed decisions about technology investments and to ensure that its technology infrastructure supports the company’s overall business objectives.

Here are four essential elements of the business technology assessment process that you should expect of a new IT Service Provider, or your existing one, before agreeing to a new contract.

Essential Element #1: Are they listening to you?

Are they really hearing the issues and problems you are having with your current environment? Are they asking what you expect to be different once you hire them? Before even “looking under the hood” to understand what your technology looks like, the IT provider should have expectations aligned with your expectations. The best IT providers know that it starts with really listening to you and understanding your goals and concerns.

Essential Element #2: Do they understand your major processes and workflows?

Have they taken the time to understand the specifics of your business and industry? If not, they may fail to prioritize the technical steps that are most urgent. For example, security and compliance requirements for a medical facility are very different from those of a financial institution. A competent IT provider needs to understand these differences.

Here’s another example: Imagine printing goes down for your business. Is it a critical problem or not? Well, of course, that depends on what kind of business you are and how you use your printers. If you’re a title company that relies on signed paper contracts, then printing is a critical process. We serve a few product distribution centers whose operations would stop dead in their tracks if certain printers weren’t working. They print barcodes for picking stock, packing slips, and address labels for shipping. Their core operation, shipping products, stops as soon as the printer stops. On the other hand, we serve some paperless insurance agencies who would never even notice if the printers didn’t exist.

The point is that a quality IT provider must understand your critical business processes to serve you effectively. By doing so, they can prioritize reliability and troubleshooting of the most essential technologies to your business.

Essential Element #3: Have they inventoried all your hardware?

The first two essentials focused on understanding you, your needs, and your business processes. Only once an IT provider understands you, and your business is it appropriate for them to turn their attention to your technology. They should look at every firewall, switch, server, PC, laptop, printer, copier, phone, and mobile device your company owns and ask several questions. What’s its purpose? What’s it actually doing? Is it necessary? Is it obsolete? Is it under warranty?

An IT provider needs this information to effectively answer the questions you are sure to have. Questions like: What kind of performance do I have a right to expect from my technology? How much is it going to cost to support my technology? What timeframe and investment should I expect to replace my current technology?

An IT provider who has not thoroughly inventoried your technology before you sign a contract has no choice but to surprise you with the answers to these questions after you sign the contract. Seldom are these surprises of the “pleasant” variety.

Essential Element #4: Have they evaluated all your applications, data, and services, including those in the cloud?

These days, most of your “infrastructure” is likely not hardware at all. It may exist through cloud-based applications and services. A thorough technical assessment must evaluate all these technical components as well. And it’s not enough to confirm the existence of these components. They must be scrutinized to ensure they are configured in a secure manner that serves your business needs. For example, it’s pretty common for us to encounter companies who have components of Microsoft 365 deployed by their current IT provider without the most fundamental security principles enforced. Similarly, we find clients with Microsoft 365 subscriptions that entitle them to incredibly valuable tools to help them better plan, collaborate, and serve their clients. However, those tools are not enabled or utilized. A thorough business technology assessment will expose both the security threats in your environment and the lost opportunity of unused technology you already own.

A decade ago, IT providers usually needed to recommend investment in expensive servers and software to solve client technology problems. These days, it’s often the case that the infrastructure is owned through cloud subscription but not effectively utilized.

When new technology is needed, pivoting from current infrastructure to new infrastructure is typically easier in a cloud environment. Cloud services are usually purchased through monthly subscriptions, meaning changing technologies does not require abandoning investment in old hardware and buying something new. It merely means replacing one subscription with another.

The Bottom Line

Some IT providers just want you to sign on the bottom line, so they ignore the challenging issues of how to best address your technology until AFTER there is a contract in place. However, the best providers will take the time to thoroughly assess your technology upfront. That way, your company, and the IT provider can confidently establish a plan for your technology that enables your business to thrive.

The team here at Kite Technology Group loves to help our clients realize their vision for their technology. For example, check out this article on how a California insurance agency partnered with Kite Technology to revolutionize their technology and reap the benefits: You can also read about our clients’ experience working with us. 

To learn more about our services, please contact us to schedule a conversation. We would love the opportunity to learn more about your organization and how we can help! 


Picture of Greg DiDio

Greg DiDio

Kite Technology Group

What Your Agency Should Expect from your IT Service Provider

Many insurance agencies across the country are still dealing with remote work challenges. Agencies are struggling to hold virtual meetings, collaborate effectively and share documents. Worse yet, agency leaders are realizing that these issues aren’t a temporary circumstance resulting from the pandemic. This is the new reality. To be successful going forward, agencies need to embrace tools and processes that accommodate a remote and mobile workforce. Unfortunately, many learned the hard way that their current IT provider was ill-prepared to advise and support them when the crisis began. Consequently, they’ve suffered considerable drops in productivity and customer service.

In candid conversations, agency principals we talk to have shared that they’re paying a premium on IT and getting mediocre results. They are frustrated by ineffective support and a lack of strategic oversight. It isn’t surprising. Often, their IT provider is using old solutions unsuited for the new problems. The provider has no idea of the industry-specific needs of independent insurance agencies. Best practices DO exist for technology solutions for agencies. But the typical local IT provider is unaware of them. They don’t understand that the technology and security needs of agencies differ from those of typical law firms, medical practices, or construction companies.

You Deserve a Strategic IT Partner Who Really Understands You

These chaotic times present the perfect opportunity to reassess your technology needs and reevaluate your current IT provider. Changing technology and security requirements are cause for raising your expectations of your IT provider. The good news is that forward-thinking agencies who choose their partner wisely can expect:

  • Greater ROI from their IT spend
  • More bandwidth to focus on their core strengths, such as sales and client service
  • A strategic direction that keeps them ahead of their competitor

What You Should Look for in a Technology Partner

Whether you are satisfied with your current provider, considering outsourcing IT for the first time, or looking to replace an IT provider, it helps to know how to evaluate their performance. We have prepared 8 questions that you can use to help answer how your current IT provider is doing and what you might expect from another provider. Below are these questions and some considerations for each that will help you distinguish the contenders from the pretenders.

1. Why do they do what they do?

How do they start the discussion? Are they focused on you or themselves? Ask the hard questions and find out what the provider’s passion is. Is it just the money, or do they really care about you and the people they serve? Ensure that your IT partner shares your agency’s values. What usually sets a provider apart is the type of people they use to deliver their services. At KiteTech, we understand that how we treat you is every bit as important as how quickly and effectively we solve your computer problems.

2. Are they implementing a cloud-first, mobile-first strategy?

Many agencies found out how integral cloud solutions were when they quickly had to transition to a remote work environment. Access to the cloud ultimately allowed agencies to remotely access their files and complete their projects as easily as they did from the office. Your IT partner should be able to map out your cloud journey and have a plan for sunsetting legacy technology. At KiteTech, we offer fully managed cloud services and collaboration software that is available 24×7. Our experts will work with you to develop a realistic plan for adopting and migrating to the cloud solutions you need to drive your agency forward.

3. Do they understand your business?

Does your IT provider understand the unique challenges related to operating an insurance agency? You will be able to more confidently make IT investment decisions if you have an IT partner who knows your industry and understands your systems and processes. At KiteTech, we pride ourselves on the fact that many of our consultants started their careers as licensed insurance agents and now advise insurance agencies on how to  take their performance to new levels. Our team regularly participates in and presents at local and national Applied Client Network and NetVU conferences. We also maintain strong relationships with the vendors most agencies work with, resulting in more effective collaboration and problem-solving when technology issues arise.

4. Are security and compliance top of mind?

Insurance agencies are a major target for cybercriminals because of the client information they possess. This year you’ve also had to deal with the uptick in cybersecurity attacks due to increased remote work environments. Was your IT provider adequately prepared? Agencies today can’t just depend on the basics like antivirus and spam filtering to stay secure. Many states’ cybersecurity compliance regulations like NYDFS’ 23 NYCRR 500 expect agencies to have much more robust security practices and policies in place. Thankfully, with KiteTech, you don’t have to manage compliance and security alone. We carefully monitor new regulations affecting your industry and update security protocols as regulations change. Our security offerings are designed specifically for insurance agencies, and we ensure your compliance requirements are the starting point for our conversation. 

5. Is their help desk support top-notch? 

Way back in the “old days”, like February, when their PC broke, your employees might head over to another cubicle or ask the unofficial office tech expert for help. When COVID-19 forced everyone to head home in March, things changed. We, like most IT providers, saw a tremendous uptick in support requests as employees needed help with their home setup. And, of course, when things break at home, there probably isn’t another cubicle with a spare PC or an office tech expert to get you back up and running. So, prompt and competent help desk support is more critical than ever.

Here are some questions to help you differentiate the quality of help desk service you can expect to receive from a current or potential IT Partner:

  • Do they hold themselves to clearly defined response time metrics?
  • Can their technicians help you with your agency management system or the company website?
  • Are they familiar with the other applications you use, or do they pass the buck when an issue is related to another vendor?

Our team takes an active role on your behalf as a vendor liaison for technologies we don’t directly support, but you require to reach your agency’s goals.  At KiteTech, we aim to consistently provide amazing help desk support and customer service and are proud of our best-In-class Client Satisfaction Scores. 

6. Do they have a proven process?

Do you find that your IT partner seems to operate by the seat of their pants? Were they prepared for the challenges brought on by the uncertainty of this past year? Immature IT Providers have their head down running so hard that they forget to look up and see the forest for the trees. While it is not always the case, maturity often correlates with size. Larger IT providers, like larger agencies, allow different people to play different roles. The smaller provider doesn’t often have the time to investigate better ways to do things because they are too busy wearing too many hats.

Ask your provider to provide their process for getting to know you and preparing to serve you as a client. Some providers will rush right in and sign you up without truly understanding your needs or your current technology. They have no process. At KiteTech, we have a documented  proven process that precisely outlines how we will work with you. The process includes key steps to ensure your success. It starts with really listening to your needs. It continues with deploying solutions that solve your most pressing problems. Finally, we provide ongoing support and recommendations to help your agency grow. It sounds simple. And it might even feel simple going through the process. But it is the result of a well-documented, proven process for delivering client success.

7. Do you see a commitment to strong client relationships?

Beyond help desk support, your partner should offer an ongoing conversation that helps your agency look forward. You never want to feel like you are just a number to your IT provider. At KiteTech, we assign each agency we work with a Client Experience Manager dedicated to serving your agency’s needs and helping you accomplish your goals. This takes place through scheduled conversations that focus on lingering issues and jointly plan for security and technology improvements. We strive to develop strong client relationships that build trust and make you feel like your KiteTech team is an extension of your agency. 

8. Did they create a strategic technology plan?

Does your IT partner understand everything about your technology? Do they have an in-depth understanding of the latest insurance trends? A strong IT provider will help your agency create a strategic plan by:

  • Listening first to understand your business strategy and goals
  • Assessing Your technology and its suitability to meet your goals
  • Together with you, building an affordable plan for incrementally keeping your technology aligned with your goals

To do this well, your IT provider must understand the insurance industry, the market forces, compliance regulations, and economic realities you are dealing with. KiteTech’s familiarity with agencies position us perfectly to do this.

We have spent the last 28 years helping agencies across the country succeed through insurance consulting. Just recently, at Applied Net, we heard from agency executives about the issues around collaborating remotely, the frustrating help desk queues, and downtime that has stalled agency productivity. That’s why it is our mission as a trusted technology partner to provide best-in-class IT services that help agencies operate more effectively and experience greater business success.

Want more information about choosing a provider?  Contact us for a free consultation. We will talk through your needs and what services are best for your agency. You can also visit  our website to learn more about our managed IT and consulting services.

adam atwell

Adam Atwell

Cloud solutions architect

Adam is passionate about consulting with organizations across the country to help them develop and execute a cloud adoption strategy that meets their business needs and future objectives. Adam oversees and manages our company strategy for Microsoft 365 adoption and is responsible for future growth and development inside Microsoft 365 and other cloud technologies.