Do I Need Ongoing IT Support?
Imagine this. You’ve just spent months working closely with engineers and project managers, to design, configure, and install your company’s new server environment that will house not only your data but run your main business applications. You’ve signed off on the project and installation day is scheduled. Now the IT company wants to discuss a contract for ongoing IT support. If you are like most people, you don’t like the idea of paying more money for something that is brand new, so you refuse the continued IT support. You view it the same as when you get prompted to buy a warranty at checkout. “Seriously, what could possibly go wrong?”
After a couple of months, your new environment is humming along great and has a terrific impact on the results of your team. Then one day you notice one of your applications won’t load. Looking for a reason why you ask your employees if they have changed anything. They tell you no, but they do start to mention some other issues with printing. You check everything you think it could be and then find yourself having to contact the IT company that built your environment.
They take a peek at it, but since you are no longer a client, they didn’t keep the documentation for the setup of your environment. They troubleshoot for a bit but come to the conclusion that it is going to need further investigation (in the business world that translates to $$$) if you want them to help some more. This means you’re going to need a new contract.
Remember, during this time while you are waiting for this new contract to get finalized and everyone to sign off on it, you’re losing time and money. In addition to that, your team is getting frustrated with you and your clients begin to lose confidence in your ability to service them.
Now ask yourself, is all this worth not having the cost of that ongoing IT support contract?
Why Do I Need Ongoing IT Support?
Your IT environment is not static. It is continuously growing and changing. Your operating system and softwares like to make small changes to fix bugs, but those small changes can turn into big problems in a blink of an eye. No matter how perfect an environment is designed and built, developers and manufactures initiate these “fixes” for their products. The problem with these “fixes” is they break the setup that was initially created. The IT company made sure your environment worked properly at the time it was set up, but because of the new settings that have been pushed to your system the original settings can have a negative effect on the environment.
Here some of the frequent changes that can affect your environment:
- Software Updates
- Firewall and other security updates
- Patches implemented
- Amount of memory left on hardware
- Amount of space left on hardware
- Database changes
- Adding new hardware
- Adding new users
- Changes in user behavior
- Plugin additions and changes
- Backup schedule
- Microsoft Licensing changes
- New versions of software or operating system
You might be saying to yourself right now “How about I just address all these changes at the same time?”
Now, wouldn’t that be great if these changes happened all at once and you could fix everything at the same time? It sure would be, but the reality is these changes, updates, and additions happen at many different times throughout the year. Some of the changes even happen without notice, so without ongoing, IT support your environment will slow down or even stop working altogether.
What Happens If I Don’t Have Ongoing IT Support?
The two primary areas are affected when you don’t have ongoing IT support. Productivity and Security.
Productivity can be attacked in a couple of ways. The first is, like the example given above, where the complete loss of time and money occurs when your IT system is fully or partially down. If your CRM doesn’t work that means your sales team won’t be able to work until it is back up and running. This is what we call a direct loss or hard costs.
The other way productivity can be compromised is by indirect loss or soft costs. This is when the time it takes someone to do something is slowed down or crippled by their IT systems. These soft costs can be noticeable at times, but more often than not they are hidden in day-to-day work because people accept them as normal and just expect nothing better. Unfortunately, without someone personally auditing the everyday tasks of your people, it is really hard to detect these soft costs.
We just ran one of these audits for a 50-person company and found an abundance of soft costs which the leadership team had no idea about. When our results exposed over a $150K in lost time, they started to have a completely different view about IT support and the results they should expect when their system is not receiving regular maintenance.
People generally think seconds don’t matter that much, but the problem is those seconds turn into minutes, hours, and days. A couple of seconds to load or execute a single small task that is done 100s of times a day by 10s of people in your company (like sending emails) means you could be losing a salary or two in soft costs.
If you want to see an example of this and break down your company’s soft costs, check out this Soft Cost Calculator.
Security can be a nightmare on so many fronts — especially with the alarming increase of cyber security attacks directed at small and medium-sized businesses. All the breaches that are seen on the news are a very real threat and not updating your IT systems and security is the attackers’ ticket in. A loss of client data can be a complete business killer even for companies that are not under any compliance. When your clients find out their data has been stolen under your watch, they are not going to be coming to you asking for more service. It is more likely they will be serving you…with a lawsuit.
Even if you have a horseshoe tucked away somewhere and nothing threatens your system from a security standpoint, your environment will still age quickly without ongoing IT maintenance. After years with no maintenance, any significant changes or fixes may require a complete rebuild of the system altogether.
Look at it this way, you’re going to be spending money on your IT no matter what. It is just the world we live in. The only question is, do you want to be spending this money on emergency fixes to get your systems up and running again or do you want to be spending the money on keeping your entire IT environment up to date and free from both hard and soft cost losses?
At Spot, we suggest always having ongoing IT support no matter what. This goes for both general IT systems and specific applications & software. It’s a wise investment that will prevent a lot of headaches and waste for your company in the future.