When is a good time for your technology to crash?
The pandemic has brought even more IT challenges
Information security is making national headlines, and we all feel a little more vulnerable. While most large corporations have their own IT departments, it’s not always easy for businesses with 15 to 500 employees to get proven, consistent IT support. Yet the need has never been stronger. From navigating Microsoft 365 to dodging security breaches and just keeping your systems operational, technology can be challenging when that’s not your primary business.
The pandemic has brought even more IT challenges. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of businesses are struggling to support productivity among their remote employees. Most organizations are struggling to come back to a hybrid environment. For example, most conference rooms are not designed to manage this experience very well.
Information security concerns are also top of mind. Companies don’t want to disrupt their production to fix issues, so they wait until the weekend. But in some cases, delaying a patch or solution for even a few hours means there’s a near certainty you’ll be breached.
Demystifying your IT budget and need for outside support
Many businesses are unsure of how much to budget for technology and support. If technology is important to your business, a good rule of thumb is to spend $2 to $3 on implementation and support for every $1 you spend on equipment and software. It’s important to mitigate as many surprise IT expenses as possible by talking with your support provider about your future needs. This removes the mystery and enables you to plan for where you’re going.
Also consider what you need in an IT partner. Perhaps you want to invest proactively in proven technology that will improve your performance. Or, you want to take a more conservative approach to maintaining your system so it doesn’t go down. Wherever you are on this spectrum, be clear about your pain points and what you need to make the relationship a good fit. Make sure to choose a partner that will both help you with your immediate concerns and anticipate future needs.
Another consideration is whether the company has local connections. If something breaks, you may need them to drive to your location to physically see what’s going on. Do they have a centralized system where you have to repeat the problem each time you get transferred or can you develop a relationship with the same person, increasing the probability that your problems are solved faster?
For many small- to mid-sized businesses, relationships matter. Experience matters. It’s challenging enough to run a business. Ask a lot of questions before choosing an IT provider to ensure that their recommendations take into consideration your industry, and that they understand that IT is probably not your primary business concern.
Patti Gustafson is the General Manager of Mytech Partners (Mytech.com), an IT consulting and managed services provider in Lakewood, CO specializing in Making IT Easy for small- to mid-sized businesses. Mytech helps clients implement a proven IT strategy aligned with their business goals, to achieve four times more value and productivity from their IT investments. She can be reached at (720) 806-4320 or PGustafson@mytech.com.