Why You Never See Your IT Support Team Aside From An Emergency
Why You Never See Your IT Support Team Aside From An Emergency
Effective IT support is a complete service package — an “IT department in a box,” if you will. It encompasses everything from strategy, to maintenance, to monitoring, to support.
Why Do Businesses Need Outside IT Support?
Oftentimes, organizations start out managing IT internally. Maybe they have someone that knows about technology and is entrusted to look after it. But as an organization grows, its technology dependence grows with it. And most organizations reach a point where they need to bring in outside expertise.
Sometimes companies need IT support for strategic reasons. An expert can look at where the organization is going and develop a strategy to support it with technology. The right partner can even find ways to leverage technology to help your organization reach efficiency or productivity goals.
IT Support Cost Models
People like to ask how much IT services cost, or how much they should cost.
First, there are a couple of different ways that IT services are priced based on different industry business models. We call them the “break/fix” model and the “fixed-fee” model.
In the “break/fix” or reactive IT model, someone calls a vendor to come in and fix a computer or install a new component. They bill by the hour and leave when the task is complete.
Clients who feel like they don’t see their IT vendor enough are often working with a reactive model rather than a proactive model.
The vendor probably only comes in for the support task, or when something big needs to happen. They’re missing out on some of the proactive maintenance opportunities and opportunities to improve the infrastructure and get to a higher level.
The “fixed-fee” model is proactive. In our case, we focus on the end result and more comprehensive solutions.
Proactive & Strategic IT
The strategic component of IT examines where an organization is headed and finds ways to leverage technology to get there.
It encompasses a lot of things, including business goals. We look at where the organization is going, what it’s trying to do, and where the company wants to end up.
We also look at the technology in place already. What systems are you using? What data do you have and how does it all talk to you?
Solving Problems with Technology
People also come to us with business problems that they’re trying to solve.
For example, they have four different pieces of software for a process that exports from one tool to an Excel spreadsheet for data manipulation before going into another tool. There’s a lot of manual labor involved.
We can make your applications talk to each other and reduce some of that manual labor in the previous example.
We find ways to streamline those processes and leverage technology in the organization more effectively. Another common example is paper processes, in which someone is printing reports or records that could be automated in an electronic rather than a paper version.
Monthly Maintenance & Monitoring
Monthly maintenance is another pillar of proactive IT support. Every month, we go through our clients’ infrastructure to see how it stacks up against our best practices.
Our clients really appreciate the fact that we come on-site once a month and spend time checking their infrastructure and talking to their users. Further, we uncover a lot of issues talking to the users that nobody thinks to mention.
For example, maybe every Thursday at four o’clock their computer gets slow and they have to reboot to fix it. When we uncover those things, we can make those issues go away permanently instead of just putting a band-aid on the issue. That’s another reason our clients like to see us every month when we come in to do the technical alignment.
The other aspect is monitoring and maintenance. We monitor our client’s infrastructure 24/7, and we look for things that are outside of alignment with our standards.
We look at every server, every network device, every endpoint. And we can do a lot behind the scenes that nobody ever really sees. We’re monitoring the health of the systems and applying automation behind the scenes to resolve the issues before they impact the end-user.
Support & Infrastructure
Part of IT support is, of course, the support. Prospective clients like to ask about support, or what our support is like. We have a great support department and an experience well above industry standard, but the better question is — what if you didn’t need to call support?
In other words, what if everything just works and you didn’t have to call in the first place?
Obviously, a great support experience is required, but it’s even better if we can get you to a point where you don’t need to call.
Also, business leaders need to know that somebody is taking the time to make sure that the IT infrastructure is secure. Someone knowledgeable is making sure that you’ve got the proper technology within your business. You want that plan in place to take you from where you are today to where you’re going next.
We work with our clients to give them peace of mind. Our strategies and plans are about taking ownership. As our vCIO works with our clients, we take ownership of the IT results that our clients expect.
They look to us to make sure that their risks are managed and they’ve got the proper technology in place. They want to know that they can focus elsewhere. We give them the peace of mind to trust us with the infrastructure.
Best Practice Checkups & Health Scores
We also prescribe regular checkups. Every quarter, we sit down with our clients and show them a health score — a number that shows how their infrastructure is aligned with our best practices. Clients who get 99%, for example, can probably rest assured that things are working well.
If your infrastructure scores 26%, however, there are probably some things worth looking at. Some things can probably be upgraded and changes should be made.
IT Support as a Business Decision
Our job when we work with our business clients is to put business decisions in front of them and show them where to focus their attention.
A lot of business leaders don’t have insight into what’s happening in their IT infrastructure. That can indicate technology-based risks to their business that they aren’t aware of. We put that information in front of them as a business decision and help them make plans around that.