When you first started your business, your technology requirements were probably minimal at best. Any computer issue could be resolved with the help of a tech savvy brother-in-law or with a freelance expert, on a break-fix basis. As your company began to grow this help probably grew into using a more full-time solution with the help of a small internal team or an IT (information technology) Services Company that you could call on when an issue arose. They may also be offering purchasing assistance on an hourly basis and/or getting issues resolved when they are able to do so. The break-fix model may have worked in the early stages of your company’s growth, however, over time you may have brought in an internal staff person or worked with an outside IT Services Company. But at this point in your business’ lifecycle, is this solution enough? Can your current IT Services Company or internal team keep up with your technology needs today?
Whether you are looking to completely change your IT Services Company or provide some relief to your internal IT team, making a change to your technology solution is often extremely daunting. How do you know if the current issues you are dealing with are just one-offs or if it is a sign that a change needs to be made in order to ensure your company continues to grow? Here are a few signs that your current IT Services Company or solution needs an overhaul:
Your Current Solution is Reactive vs. Proactive
IT Services Companies have two types of methodologies for handling issues:
- Reactive – IT professionals respond to service calls to fix issues, based on a break/fix model
- Proactive – IT professionals anticipate events and ensures that systems are monitored so issues can be handled before you even know about them
A reputable Technology Services Company should be a mixture of both proactive and reactive services. They should constantly be monitoring your company’s network, keeping tabs on how the servers are running, ensuring proper anti-malware and anti-virus programs are installed. They should also be updating operating systems and other software on a regular basis so your company is running on the most current versions available. Not every problem can be handled on the front-side, so they also need to be accessible to handle those unexpected issues.
You are not Getting a Fast Response (or no response at all)
Small issues can become large headaches for your company’s employees if they cannot be resolved in a timely fashion. Something as simple as a password reset can prevent an employee from logging into their computer or into a necessary program, which in turn can prevent them from getting their work accomplished. If your company has an in-house IT person or team, this may not be so much of an issue, unless they are sick, on vacation, or taking a day when the issue arises. If you have an IT Services Company that you call, leave a message, and don’t hear back from for a few hours or even a few days, it can be highly irritating and detrimental to your company, and potentially to your bottom line.
Getting an individual on the phone or in front of the troublesome piece of equipment is only the first half of the battle. You may speak to your provider about an issue, they reassure you it will be handled in a timely manner but after 3 hours the problem is not fixed and work still cannot get done. It is vital that you have an IT partner that responds immediately to your calls and can find a resolution quickly, or at least keeps you apprised of the situation and provides you with a realistic timeline for a solution, or an alternative method of getting work accomplished if the solution is not an easy fix.
You are Running Out-of-Date Hardware
It often feels that as soon as you buy a piece of new technology and get it set up for use, there’s already a newer model on the market. While your technology doesn’t need to be replaced every year, your IT Services Company should be keeping tabs on the age and warranties for all your equipment. Technology that is in use that is quite old (3 years or older) can easily slow a business down due to its inability to process new software upgrades. Also, older equipment may be more susceptible to the newer malware that is out there on the internet, due to the inability to update to the latest, and most likely, the most secure version of the software.
Your Technology is not Aligned to Your Business Needs
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to technology solutions for businesses. Just because a technology solution worked for that mid-sized non-profit company, does not mean that it will work for your small up-and-coming investment management firm. Each industry and business has its own business requirements and priorities; they may have to adhere to a regulatory body’s rules and therefore, each needs to be assessed properly to provide a solution that addresses those needs. If your current IT Services Company has your business running a cookie cutter out-of-the-box solution, it might be worth your time and effort to look into other companies that offer a customized technology solution.
You Don’t Know What you are Paying For
It is not out of the ordinary for vendors to increase the prices of their services by a small percentage each year to offset the cost of inflation. Nothing is worse than your vendors’ prices going up dramatically and yet you are still getting the same sub-par experience that you did before. Your IT Services Company should be able to provide you with a clear understanding of where the money you are paying is going and what the expected benefits are. These meetings should be proactive, ensuring that your company is only paying for the service it is using, without you having to ask the question.
Your Competitors are Ahead of You in Regards to Technology
To be relevant in today’s marketplace, you, at the very least, need to be up-to-speed with your competitors, if not ahead of them. If you are running your business on old equipment, or if you are having issues keeping your business up and running due to technology glitches, you cannot expect to achieve greater success than a similar company down the road that has their technology running like a well-oiled machine. Your IT Services Company should be proactively ensuring that your business’ technology is working efficiently, thereby guaranteeing that your business runs smoothly. It is important that the technology works for you and your employees so that everyone can get their jobs done.
Is it time for you to explore other support options for your business to increase your profitability and growth? Contact The TNS Group and we can help you make the right decision.
By: Jennifer Totilo, Administration, The TNS Group