IT Support is a service that continually has to reinvent itself over the years to meet changing demands in an ever-evolving commercial world.
IT Support as you know it is dead – “The King is dead, long live the King”.
Technology is at the forefront of businesses. It is constantly reinventing itself and is now ever so intertwined into our day-to-day functions – operationally and commercially. It has of course been an important part of business life for the last 25-30 years, but with the key success drivers it now brings – across aiding profitability, efficiency, and compliancy – it has never been more vital to have IT that’s strategically aligned to the business, its goals and challenges.
And, therein lies the problem… the support provide by the vast majority of IT providers is woefully inadequate; focused only on repairing things when they break, which of course remains important, but what are they not doing that they should be doing beyond fixing your IT faults?
IT Support – what is it?
IT Support, for most, remains the umbrella term that references anything and everything to do with the back-bone IT operation of a small business. Spanning the various technology services that outsourced IT Support, (a.k.a Managed Services Providers), companies provide to businesses and their users, along with an often ‘all you can eat’ unlimited support Helpdesk offering that is almost entirely focused on delivering reactive aid to faults as and when they are reported by a user.
Understanding the limits of your current IT Support.
Reactive, and not proactive.
Many IT support companies claim to be proactive, but the vast majority act like an insurance policy as opposed to a forward-thinking, strategically aligned IT Support partner. And, like an insurance policy, they are only interested when the problem has already occurred and only deal with problems as you flag them or log them as an issue – instead of trying to solve them before they occur.
Some providers only allow a certain amount of ‘call outs’ in your plan a month – limited by blocks of time or number of support requests – which in practice is completely unsustainable, as there is no possible way of knowing how many times you are going to need assistance and could leave you ‘hung out to dry’ by your provider.
A lack of communication can often be a big problem for businesses when it comes to IT Support. It is not uncommon that tech-minded people are inherently not the best at communication on a personal level. Most tech-minded people will do an outstanding job of finding fixes and implementing new technologies as you request them within your business; however, they can often fail in communicating back with the organisation that they are supporting. This leads to a lack of two-way understanding; the client fails to have their expectations set and will fail to comprehend the actions being taken (or not) by the IT provider, and the provider will be failing in taking the time to find out the client’s goals, requirements, priorities for their business, and the way they want things done.
With a number of flawed elements to the approach taken by the average IT Support provider, what should you instead be considering in a partner that would be more aligned to your business?
What should I expect from my IT Support provider?
Proactivity and strategy – Arguably the most important feature of your IT Support provider should be their approach to your support. Ask yourself, do they approach your IT proactively or reactively? This brings us back to our previous point; a reactive approach is like an insurance policy ‘in case of a problem we can help’. Whereas a good provider with a proactive approach will dissect your business and find ways in which – by making changes to the way things are done – to prepare for potential mistakes and hopefully make sure they don’t happen – or if they do – they aren’t as damaging as they would have been before the changes.
Applying a strategically-lead approach to the implementation of business change and digital transformation will ensure that not only the technology services, tools and infrastructure you procure are aligned to the way your business needs to run, but that the IT will blend to help drive efficiency, support profitability, tackle compliance challenges – moulding around the needs of the business, instead of forcing the business to shoehorn itself into the IT.
Contact / Communication – Your provider should be in frequent, structured and coherent contact with you – that doesn’t mean a phone call every day to see how you’re getting on – but they should get to know you, your company ethos, and ideally have experience in dealing with organisations within your sector. You should be told who is managing the relationship between you both, the owner of your account should take true ownership of your IT picture, and not only service issues that arise, but strategically forward-planning advancements in technology that will be beneficial to the growth and development of your business.
SLA’s – Service Level Agreements – An SLA (Service Level Agreement) is a set of minimum service parameters a provider will ‘guarantee’ to meet in the delivery of your service. Check what they are obliged to provide in your contract! These obligations can range from response and reaction times (for support cases or requests that you log) through to grading levels of the speed of response based on the severity of the case.
The next part of the blog describes arguably the most important of the features that should be provided in your IT support.
Achieving strategically aligned technology.
In the modern world, strategically-aligned technology is the key ingredient to successful scalability in your business.
Strategically aligned technology refers to applying information technology in an appropriate and timely way so that it works in harmony with business strategies, goals, and needs, and is integral to any and every business with a technological presence.
With most IT providers looking after and focusing on the technological side, as opposed to the commercial side, they totally disregard and overlook the business’ pains, goals, compliance requirements, and importantly, end-user preferences.
They choose not to learn what makes the business tick – resulting in the business and its tech stand apart from one another. Your incumbent IT provider are – in a very limited sense – doing their job, they fix things when they go wrong, but do they really get under the skin of the business and understand what makes the business tick day-by-day? Do they then make the technology, apps, automation, communication, and data accessible and really work for the business?
That’s where we come in.
Your business and technology in perfect harmony.
At Evolve, we have turned the world of IT Support and digital transformation on its head. Our team of experts take a consultative, board-level approach to implementing technology that best fits the business.
Our process starts by understanding the organisation – its people, responsibilities, challenges, goals and obligations. Only by getting under the skin of those core components, can the right IT tools, applications and infrastructure be identified, tailored to and implemented within the business.
If you are planning for your growth or are simply suffering from poorly aligned technology that is throttling the functions within your business, we can help. Please make contact with our team to schedule a free, no-obligation, discovery call in which we will explore the challenges you face at-hand and leave you with independent insight and considerations that will help map-out the path forward for you and your business.