The evolution of technology over the last two decades or so has been extraordinary. This evolution has opened new doors as to what is possible with the help of technology, and that is no different in the world of business.
Tech is now right at the very forefront of business operations across the globe. Previously it was just the mega companies that could afford to really utilise tech to its full potential – but it is now embedded into business functions no matter the size of your business.
Small businesses are finding that, if used correctly, technology can improve efficiency and compliance for their organisation. With tech playing such a key role in very particular job situations across the country this has proven how imperative it is that the method and tools you use are implemented and maintained in line with the way your team works.
What is IT support?
IT support is the management and maintenance of IT across an organisation. The level and type of support you receive varies depending on who your provider is, what technological services are on offer, and (usually across the board) unlimited support from a Helpdesk offering a reactive solution to a user’s problem.
Let’s take a look at your current IT situation and find out what more could be being done to make sure you are getting a better service.
The existing landscape
Reactivity instead of Proactivity
Most IT providers behave like an insurance policy - this simply isn’t good enough! IT providers often use the word ‘proactive’ in their advertising spiel with the idea of drumming up clients when, in reality, they have no intention of developing relationships any further.
Non-existent or lacklustre Communication
Most ‘techy’ individuals are inherently poor at communicating at a human level. This doesn’t take away from their skills in finding fixes and working out strategies for the future of your IT as you request them, but they often cannot keep in contact with the organisation they are supporting. This, in turn, leads to a lack of understanding between the two entities; you (the client) don’t have your expectations met and will have no idea as to the actions (or potentially non action) being taken by the provider, while the provider will have no knowledge of your goals, requirements, and the way in which you and your team do business.
Some providers limit you on call outs to a monthly allowance according to your contract - this is obscene! There is no way of knowing how many IT problems you are going to have in an allotted time. In this circumstance, that provider is earning money from your contract and not fulfilling a complete service.
Now we know the bad, let’s explore the good and look at what an IT provider should do for you?
What IT providers should do for you
Service level agreements – SLA’s
An SLA (Service Level Agreement) contains the agreed terms of service, consisting of minimum service parameters that your provider is contractually obliged to adhere to. These obligations can be personalised in some cases but are predominantly based around response and reaction times and grading levels. This highlights the importance of knowing what you are signing up for – if you sign and don’t know exactly what your provider is obliged to offer as part of it you run the risk of not liking their offer and being stuck in a contract that doesn’t suit the needs of your business.
Communication is widely thought of as the most important feature to look out for when looking at IT providers. Your IT provider should be in contact with you often on a structured, agreed timetable. Now, that doesn’t mean a phone call daily asking ‘is there anything we can do’ – but there should be a clear effort made to get to know you well, your company history, vision, and ethos, and the way in which you choose to operate as a business. In an ideal world the provider will have many years of extensive experience in dealing with businesses in your sector. It is also imperative that you are informed and put in contact with the individual in charge of ‘managing’ your account at the soonest opportunity – this is particularly important as this stranger will be taking the reins of the entire IT picture of your organisation now and going forward; with good rapport you will be able to translate your vision for your organisation’s technological future.
A well thought out, clear strategy and proactivity
A reactive approach to IT is like an insurance policy (as we briefly touched on earlier), but this is no way to have your IT managed. When your potential IT providers outline their strategies for your IT pay special attention to whether they are proactive or reactive in their approach – a good provider will have a proactive approach and break down your business into easy to manage sections (usually by department) in order to work out the best plan on how to prepare for potential problems (by anticipating them before they happen). They do this by breaking down the workflow bit by bit and changing the way tasks are carried out - especially if they hold a high chance of being the weak point for an attacker to target. They also do this to prepare for damage limitations. The flood is inevitable so being prepared with sandbags to stop the water is good forward-thinking.
There is no valid reason why your provider cannot offer your organisation strategically aligned IT that assists your entire team when going about their daily work activities. If done correctly your provider will ensure that your IT integrates itself seamlessly into your organisation’s daily workflow, in the process improving efficiency, profitability, and communications. The idea is for the business to run as fluently as normal, or to an improved standard, with your IT designed and managed to work around it.
In the next blog in the series, we will explore further what your IT provider should be doing for you to ensure that your business’s chances of success are vastly improved by powerful, well managed IT.
A modern, proactive, flexible approach to IT
Are you tired of dealing with IT providers that aren't proactive or responsive? You are not alone; more and more business owners aren’t getting what they need or pay for when it comes to IT support. Our team offers a wide range of managed IT service plans which are individually catered to fit your organisation’s needs whatever your budget. We utilise cutting edge technology to improve the efficiency of your business, whilst ensuring we adhere to your company ethos and the way that you like to do things. Contact us now to see how we can help you take your business into the future with technology - and your IT provider, as trusted allies who have the same goal in mind - success for you and your business.