Every business, small or large, has 3 basic levels of technology support needs.
1. Make sure it works – Every organisation, from a major corporate down to a not-for-profit, needs IT staff who are able to offer routine maintenance and support, including the updating of hardware and software, handling maintenance, and putting out daily fires.
2. Make sure it works when needed – Technology supports business activity 24/7. Even when everyone in a small business has gone home, there are periodic non-negotiable staff needs at unpredictable times.
3. Make sure it helps make you more money – This top tier is the most important. This is the support that is helping you to proactively manipulate technology to improve revenue.
Why is a Technology Partner so important?
When you only have a part-timer or a reactive “IT guy,” too much of this well-paid resource may be focused on putting out fires, fixing disruptive problems and handling software updates. Result?
These resources don’t have the time or focus to help you devise a forward-thinking technology plan to grow your business. This is a waste of resources. Instead, use their expertise to develop your business: use a good proactive Technology Partner to provide all of the below-ground support.
Here are some areas where a managed service provider can be your best business ally.
1. Specialised areas of support – MSP’s often have specialised experience and knowledge in specific business sectors and have deep knowledge of the their needs, the specialised software packages and the specific regulatory needs or risks.
2. Help desk support – For all of the various questions, problems, hardware and software crises that can happen anywhere, at any time, a dedicated help desk means your staff isn’t distracted by smaller problems and issues resolved quickly and efficiently.
3. Security and data protection – With the increasing news about hacking and data theft, it is apparent that everyone will be compromised at some point or another. This is an area where you can benefit from the deep specialised knowledge of an expert. Because it seems new malware and hacking tools are invented on an hourly basis, a good Technology Partner can provide the support you need to protect your data.
4. Disaster planning and recovery – Smaller firms are the most vulnerable financially to the revenue damage that comes from downtime. However, they have the least resources to focus on this
vague and seemingly improbable threat. A Tech Partner can provide consulting resources to plan what needs to be done to minimise the effects of a disaster, and put into place procedures to ensure a speedy return to business-as-usual if something does go wrong.
5. Software updates – Software updates are a necessity, but can potentially create headaches for every user. Instead of distracting your in-house staff with this routine and time devouring procedure, use external expertise on a scheduled basis to handle all of this in the background.
6. Avoid expensive emergency up charges and exorbitant one-off fees. The new norm for Technology support it to offer a service plan that provides on-going levels of support and includes priority attention in the event of an emergency, so you avoid becoming just another client in the queue.
To summarise, the the modern Technology Support model offers more than IT support. A good Tech Partner provides a different business model for the role of IT as an integral part of your entire long-term business strategy. Technology is more than just a low-level distraction that takes you away from the core issues of your mission as a business. Technology, when managed right, needs to be a key driver of future growth.