There is a powerful force driving all businesses to deliver superior products and services faster and on tighter margins – technology.
Every business, from small mom-and-pop stores to the large enterprise, is developing a dependence on technology. Whether it’s e-mail, e-commerce, websites, database management or accounting software, there are very few businesses that don’t have some level of dependence on their computer network and the applications and data it stores.
The upside of technological advances is tremendous. It can provide your business a significant competitive advantage with faster production, increased productivity, improved customer service, and up-to-the-minute reporting for strategic planning and decision-making.
Downside Of Technology
The downside of our dependence on technology is that when it doesn’t work, it can become a tremendous source of frustration, causing a strain on production, sales and fulfillment. No business is immune from computer problems and failures. There’s the cost and complexity of the ongoing maintenance of support of it. If you’re like most business owners, you probably shy away from the computer technology headaches because there are so many other business issues to deal with. Yet the technology that runs your business is too important and too expensive to ignore the answers to these questions:
- How do you make sure that the hardware, software and solutions you are investing in actually support your business goals and work the way they are supposed to?
- How do you stay on top of technical advances that will give you significant competitive advantages wile steering clear of the “latest and greatest” fade?
- How do you make sure your data is protected from an ever-growing list of threats?
- How do you go about finding a reliable partner who has not only the expertise to make technology work for you, but also the business acumen to recommend and implement real solutions that enhance productivity and profitability?
What Are Your Options for Technical Support?
Hiring a full-time IT manager is not always feasible for all businesses. If your business can’t justify that expense, here are some other options for computer support:
- Don’t do Anything. Foolish, but we see it every day. Don’t pay attention to the care and feeding of your network until it stops working, then call in an expert to fix the problem. This reactive model is similar to ignoring oil and filter changes in your car until smoke starts pouring out from under the hood. This “break-fix” model is not a good idea, especially if the operation of your network and data on it are important to your business.
- Do It Yourself. This option is better than doing nothing, but it still puts you at risk. We’ve seen the most technically knowledgeable person on staff be designated as the makeshift IT manager, and bring in outside help when a crisis arises. Problem is you are pulling this person away from their real job, and unless they have time to stay up-to-date on the latest IT developments, they don’t have the skills or time required to do a good job and could actually make the situation worse.
- Outsource Your Support To A Competent Vendor. Many vendors like Microsoft, Dell, or other software vendors provide support. If you have ever tried to get support from one of these large manufacturers, you know how frustrating it can be. Plus, they aren’t going to be able to help you solve problems that aren’t related directly to their hardware or software.
- The Independent Technician. This is usually someone who left a job in the IT department of a company and decided to start his own businesses. They try to do a good job, work cheap and are eager to please. On the other hand, they are often hard to get a hold of, may not be available in an emergency and often do not carry the necessary business guarantees or insurance.
- An independently Owned Computer Consulting Firm. You might accuse me of being biased here, but read along for a minute before you dismiss this option. Common Sense Solutions has been doing business in the construction industry for 26 years and has considerable experience working with and talking to hundreds of businesses just like yours. We can attest to the IT horror stories you face! We believe an independent, locally owned and operated consulting company, knowledgeable of the technical issues of the construction industry is best solution to deliver the consistent and professional services your business needs
If you still have questions about the technical support that’s right for you, download our paper, “21 Questions You Should Ask Your Computer Consultant Before Hiring them to Support Your Business”. (http://www.cssworks.com/pdfs/21questions)