Benjamin Franklin once said that “time is money.” Americans value time. For us, time is almost a tangible asset, which can be saved, spent, lost, found, invested, and wasted. This central tenet in our culture is framed from this Franklin quote and for many Americans, wasting time is just as bad as wasting money.
For a growing number of organizations nowhere is this concept of “time is money” more relevant than with how problems with corporate technology are impacting bottom line business results.
Many companies have simply outgrown their current Information Technology (IT) provider. Whether it’s a self-taught employee that currently handles the system or a small IT firm that operates on a break/fix service model, change is necessary.
Increasing network complexity, the need for mobile integration and repeated service outages are becoming large problems that many organizations are being forced to address.
There comes a time when all growing companies must consider alternative service providers AND service models, or risk being swallowed up in a death spiral of faulty architecture, network connection problems and constant system breakdowns.
Let’s look at some of the most common issues that may signal it’s time to consider an IT managed services solution.
What Are the Most Common IT Problems?
Lack of Strategic IT Planning
Let’s start with the “Biggest Problem.”
An IT strategic plan is a document that details the comprehensive technology-enabled business management processes an organization uses to guide operations.
Simply put, this is a roadmap that provides the lens through which all IT implementation strategies and investments are viewed. It serves as a guide to IT-related decision making, with IT tasks prioritized and implemented using the plan as a framework.
Sadly, most small business leaders are unaware of the value of strategic IT planning. IT systems and business leaders are often disconnected. The leaders see the bigger picture, but sometimes they don’t work with managed IT specialists to make sure they can accomplish their goals without technology becoming a barrier.
If the business and technology plans are aligned and the organization can scale without constraint, businesses can save “time and money,” and have a better chance of realizing long-term business objectives.
For most small companies, OVERWHELMINGLY, one of the biggest issues and sources of frustration is printing issues. Printers can present a wide array of frustrating problems.
They run through ink too fast, their output quality may be flawed, they may print at a snail's pace, paper may regularly jam OR, they'll just refuse to print at all, and just sit there while your employee fumes and wastes time.
Many problems are easy to solve, but bad drivers (solvable) or bad network configuration are some of the biggest causes of repetitive problems.
Technology moves at a rapid pace. As new technologies are released, they often don’t play nice with older systems or applications.
This can result in double entry of data, having to look in multiple places for information, and other inefficiencies that waste time and test employee’s patience. Before adding new technologies and applications to an older system, thorough testing and planning before implementation is crucial to minimize these issues.
Hackers are becoming more sophisticated and small businesses are being targeted now more than ever before.
Because these unscrupulous people find it sporting to troll the web and break into systems and plant their malicious codes to cause problems and steal data. Low-security small business systems are the low hanging fruit (easiest to hack systems) with which to hatch their evil plots. It is also nearly a trillion-dollar industry to encrypt your data using ‘ransomware’ and charge you a hefty fee to have the data back, assuming you do not have a backup.
Think of all your trade secrets, confidential communication, customer information, and HR records that are stored on your company’s computers in the hands of these cretins. Not a PRETTY PICTURE!
Implementing the “right” cost-effective suite of IT security procedures and solutions that play nicely with your system architecture is becoming increasingly important.
These pay dividends in the long run – a catastrophic incident isn’t worth the headache.
Backup and Disaster Recovery Challenges
If you’ve ever accidentally deleted a file, experienced a power outage, had a server crash, or any other “data disaster,” then you understand the importance of a reliable backup and disaster recovery plan.
Developing the right backup solutions and disaster recovery procedures for the times that these events inevitably occur are critical to eliminating the downtime and reducing the significant expenses that can accompany them.
Too Many System Breakdowns
Another popular Franklin quote is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This also applies to IT systems.
Systems need constant monitoring and regular maintenance and (a continuous audit of IT systems to make sure they have not fallen out of alignment with best practices that prevent downtime) to ensure they run properly and securely. With the right “proactive” IT processes, problems may be predicted, planned for, and resolved before they become urgent.
Frustrated Users Means Loss of Productivity
For most companies, their most valuable resource is their employees. Because they are so reliant on technology to perform the duties of their jobs, when systems are slow and filled with frequent problems it makes it much more difficult for them to be happy and productive.
To get the most productivity out of your employees and increase morale, it’s good business to eliminate these frustrations.
If employees are frequently complaining about system outages or computer, printing and networking issues, this is a very good indicator that your IT needs to be addressed.
The Benefits of Managed Services
One of the biggest benefits of Managed Services is discovering and fixing problems before they can negatively affect your business.
A well-maintained, strategic and TRULY proactively serviced IT network will always run better than the alternative.
Proactive IT managed network service goes beyond updating software, doing backups and providing antivirus software.
A true IT managed service company views being proactive as measuring if a customer’s IT is conforming to best practices, standards and alignment. They will position themselves as a business partner, not just a vendor that is available to fix problems.
This is a big distinction, one which is necessary to operate effectively in the future.
If your business is struggling with some or all of these issues, it may be time to consult with a new IT managed services provider to see if the benefits of implementing a new service model are in alignment with your business objectives.
If any of the above challenges sound familiar, it may be time to make that call and see that there is a better way.