Picture this: you’ve been stuck in IT limbo for years. On nights and weekends, a savvy friend helps you get your technology up and running. In her spare time, an office manager does her best to keep systems in working order.
After a while, you realize the need for an IT professional to diagnose problems and resolve major issues. But that IT provider is busy with other accounts and not always able to immediately react to your request for service. Now you and your employees are idle while downtime affects productivity and decreases revenue.
Let’s say you run a law firm with 50 employees that have an average salary of $50,000, an average yearly workload of 2,000 hours, and an average hourly rate of $25. Say your network is down for four hours and you can’t access email, applications, or data files while you wait for your IT provider. Assuming that productivity is cut in half, if you multiply two hours of downtime at $25 an hour by 50 employees, you just paid your employees $2,500 for time they were unable to perform their job duties. Add in the cost of that IT professional — and the lost revenue opportunity from squandered billable hours — and your business is truly suffering.
Now you know it’s time to find a new IT partner — but how do you protect your business from chaos and ensure the change goes smoothly? How do you know if the new provider will keep your systems running and your employees productive while the switch is happening? Maybe it’s better to stick with the lackluster provider you know than risk everything on a new company.
Here’s the catch: in the long run, proactive IT services cost far less than reactive or break/fix services. CMIT Solutions understands that switching IT providers can be stressful. You don’t just up and switch your lawyer or your accountant — your IT company should engender the same level of trust.
Here are a few things any trusted IT service provider should do (and do well):
1) Identify high-risk aspects that demand immediate attention. If your backup drive has been working for years but only backing up local directories, not all data, this critical need should be addressed first to ensure business continuity and stability of all systems.
2) Provide proactive 24/7 monitoring of your systems. Does the IT service provider specialize in a blend of proactive and preventative maintenance and 24/7 monitoring? Does that provider have access to a Network Operations Center that utilizes the expertise of over 200 knowledgeable technicians? If you’ve got an emergency, resources like these should be available to solve any problem in a timely manner.
3) Implement services that fit your budget and your needs. Proactive IT services provide better long-term value than reactive or break/fix services. But that doesn’t mean you don’t still have real budgetary constraints. Your IT provider should understand them — and be able to identify an appropriate course of action.
4) Develop long-term plans of action for hardware, software, and support upgrades. No IT provider should ever recommend services that you don’t need. They should, however, work with you to identify areas where technological upgrades can make your business run more efficiently.
5) Listen, listen, listen. This flows from each of the previous four points. An IT provider should serve as a trusted advisor that understands your overall business goals, hears out your concerns, asks questions about your technology needs, and focuses on ways to improve your productivity and profitability. Once you decide to upgrade your current IT situation, your new provider should also work closely with your old provider to collect all necessary information and make the transition as smooth as possible.
Most of all, a new IT partner should work to serve your needs — and make you feel at ease. As many CMIT business owners testify, the most rewarding part of bringing on a new client is when they reveal that the transition was so easy they wish they’d done it sooner.
Ready to make a change and add value to your business?
Contact CMIT Solutions today for more info.
We make technology work for you, not against you.