When people talk about their single employee IT support department, they always discuss the things they’re not getting, the applications they can’t run, and the long time it takes to get anything supported or completed. If a business had as many gripes with an external vendor, that vendor would’ve been dropped long ago. But single person IT departments have endured as a necessary evil because they are set up as a forced internal vendor. The problem is rarely the person sitting in the IT seat; it’s the structure in which the IT department has been set up.
IT Support Blog for Small Business Owners
What comes first the chicken or the egg? Much like that question, IT Support is full of conundrums-questions that don’t have clear answers. Two very different and equally important types of work govern IT support. It’s so important for a small business owner to understand the differences so you can manage your company’s approach to IT and expect the appropriate IT result based upon your approach that you choose. In 30 years of IT support I have never met a business owner that understands this basic concept (because they are not IT professionals) and as a result their IT solutions suffer.
Are outsourced IT services right for your business? Possibly, I have listed three more business outcomes that you may try to achieve when outsourcing IT managed services. You have probably heard before that the CEO should be working “on,” the business not “in,” the business. The same is true while outsourcing your IT services, the time that is freed up for your staff and yourself should be directed to important work outcomes. IT outsourcing can provide a strategic, cost-effective solution if your management team is focusing “on,” your business outcomes. The business outcomes can be segregated into three areas of business operation, first are the CEO focused business outcomes, and second are the strategic accounting and operational outcomes and finally specific IT business outcomes. In this blog I will discuss the final three of seven business outcomes (the first blog describes the first four business outcomes) you can read the first blog here.
Last month, I blogged about Technology Management strategies and how to link good IT management back to a predictable IT budget. This April brings not only its usual tax day, but, crucial for IT management and business continuity, the end of support for the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. Unless you’re in the minority, look around, you’ll see Windows XP desktops or laptops. So what’s the end of support for XP have to do with increased network management costs? It means you’re going to need to upgrade old computers or risk unplanned downtime due to an exploited unsupported operating system.
Maintaining a well-performing, predictably available IT infrastructure for your company is obviously important. Access to your business applications, customer data, and your financial information are critical for the success of your business. If the computers and other IT hardware that deliver access to that information for you, your employees, and your customers fail, it will negatively impact your business. Customers and employees become frustrated, and your bottom line suffers anytime you have IT problems or outages.
Is your computer support guy treating you like a bad date?
- Not returning your calls fast enough…
- Constantly missing deadlines…
- Not fixing things right the first time…
- Never following up on your requests?
- Promises made and not kept?
It just amazes me how unreliable and arrogant some IT services companies are…
When you call them for help, you end up talking to their voice mail. When you finally get them on the phone, they make you wait hours – even days – before they actually get your problem resolved. Sometimes it never seems to get fixed and it’s easier to find a work-around or simply fix it yourself than to call your IT provider!
Even then, a lot of them take longer than they promised, nickel and dime you over everything and, as a final insult, they act like they’re doing YOU the favor! Every time you call your IT service company you are guaranteed an invoice, but not necessarily a resolution. They often use their techno speak to confuse you, and respond when they feel like it, its never about your requirements and more about their schedule.
You don’t need a computer nerd to act like a bad date; what you need is a new approach to your IT support. The old Time & Materials approach is no longer effective for your growing small business. I spend most of my time speaking with our clients and prospects; the vast majority of business owners I speak to already have an IT service provider relationship in place, however, the business owner is exasperated with how poorly their IT provider is treating them. You need IT support but you don’t need an unresponsive Time & Materials provider, there is a better way, a new way.
There Is A Better Way to Receive IT Support for your Business
By changing your IT support approach from reactive (where you are waiting for a problem and then reactively calling your IT support guy to solve an issue) to proactive (where you rely upon a new IT support company to proactively manage your IT computer systems and software. This new proactive approach can actually reduce the frustrating breakdowns and bring your network back to a reliable and highly available network you once had.
Better yet, the proactive approach can be purchased as a monthly fixed fee that you can budget for and rely upon to solve all of your network issues. As the owner you no longer have to balance the cost of a potential T & M service call vs. accepting the IT frustration of a lingering IT problem.
With this new IT Support approach your IT Support provider is financially incented to get your network running so well that he never has to stop everything and be interrupted by an unexpected problem in your network. Imagine an IT relationship with your new IT solutions partner where you both are working together for a mutual goal; a 100% percent available network, no downtime, no problems, happy and productive employees.
This new approach is called IT Outsourcing, or perhaps you have heard it called a Managed Service; the IT solutions company is called a Managed Service Provider (MSP.) You can outsource your workstations and servers, or your Wide Area Network and your Local Area Network, your disaster recovery systems and even your phone system.
There is no longer a reason to feel like your IT support is a bad date that never ends, you can find an IT Managed Service provider that will treat you like you felt on your first date with your significant other: goose bumps! There is a new way and a better way to purchase your companies IT Support.
Want To Learn More: You can sign up for a one-hour webinar and learn how Managed Services might help your company lower your IT costs, improve your network and application availability and make your employees more productive! Learn how IT Managed Services can improve your business!
Not Ready To Watch a Webinar yet?
If not, I’d at least like to give you a copy of my new free report, “6 Essential IT Outsourcing Strategies For Your Business.” Even if you aren’t ready to watch a webinar right now; this report will give you some important strategies for you to consider regarding your IT.
If you’re like most small businesses, you rely on your workstations, laptops, servers and technology to keep your business running. Unfortunately, that means when your IT stops working, you and your business stop working. Anything from computer problems, network glitches, viruses, or software issues can bring your work to a halt very quickly and cost you money to fix. Even a relatively ‘simple’ problem or question could involve many hours of troubleshooting, resulting in unplanned downtime and expenses.
Will Your IT Practices Pass The Physical?
As I was preparing for a 100 mile backpacking trip with my youngest son this summer, I realized it was time for me to take a harder look at my own personal fitness. I had gained a few extra pounds, I was not in great aerobic shape, and wondered how healthy my heart was. The thought of being out in the middle of a desert in New Mexico without access to quick medical help, I knew it was time toassess my own fitness level before placing a 50 LB pack on my back and heading out to the wilderness.
You probably don’t realize this—but even though you are not an IT expert you can evaluate the best IT support for your business, and avoid those IT companies that are never going to give you great support, no matter how much money you pay them.