It used to be that our clients approached us because they needed a skilled tradesman, someone to fix broken technology or to help them with an IT strategy.
Do any of these problems sound familiar?
• My server/network is slow
• My iPhone/Android doesn’t get my work emails
• I’m not confident in my backup system
• I’m pretty sure my competitors have better technology than we do
• I can’t adequately access stuff remotely
• I have no insight into my inventory or asset life-cycle
I could not count the number of clients we acquired simply because they had a completely inadequate IT infrastructure. And fixing these problems actually used to impress people. But as technology becomes more reliable and easier to consume (we are also getting smarter), we are faced with an interesting paradigm shift in our industry. Things don’t break as often, so what the heck does your monthly fee go towards?
I believe that many IT support providers – even those that are very well run – may become extinct if they fail to evolve and understand their new place in the business technology ecosystem. This has become incredibly evident in our presentation to new prospects; it used to be that the Reactive Support Services were at the core of our presentation. Now, we spend no more than 3-4 minutes explaining how well we can handle reactive support issues – our clients assume that we can do this well after over 20 years in the industry – in essence, these are table stakes. We used to talk about how many techs we have, what certifications we have, our impressive client list, etc. None of this matters anymore – if it ever really did – and people (myself included) are getting immune to the endless checklists of features and benefits.
So, what then? Where’s the value proposition? What’s in it for me? If stuff “just works now” – which is in reality a bit of stretch but let’s go with it for a minute – why are the fees as high or higher than ever?
Well, simply put, it’s not about IT support anymore, it’s about IT strategy. It’s about working with a partner who treats your IT infrastructure like a strategic asset, something that can help drive your business forward and give you a competitive edge. Here are the criteria I use when selecting a new partner (for anything):
• Can you help us increase our revenues?
• Can you help us reduce our costs?
• Can you help reduce or altogether remove risk?
What we have learned is that the industry has evolved, and thankfully we have evolved with it. Here are some of the things we focus on today:
• Standardization – within your network, how consistent are the systems and applications?
• Budgeting – do you have an established IT budget that accounts for the life-cycle of your key IT assets?
• Best Practices Alignment – how confident are you that what you already own is setup the way it is supposed to be setup?
• Reporting – do you have absolute accountability and insight into what is happening within your IT ecosystem?
• Relationship – do you have “your guy” (e.g. IT manager, IT director or CIO) who you can bounce ideas or concerns off of?
Our team of Technology Strategists, Senior Consultants, Consultants and best practice experts are now on a mission to ensure we address these key areas for our clients. Our goal is to help you craft an IT strategy that will reduce the reactive support so that there are zero incidents in a month. I’m not sure we’ll ever get there, but we are certainly going to try.