Custom Information Services

Are You an IT Expert? What Business Are You Really In?

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Would you hire a Registered Nurse to work on your car?  Perhaps you have a Business Degree and run a business as the CEO.  Does this make you qualified to make all the recommendations to your Technology Infrastructure?  Perhaps you are a weekend geek and do know a lot about technology.  As a business owner you should know the basics as well as keep up with new technology that might perhaps move your businesses to the next level.  But you are not the expert… You are the expert when it comes to running your business.  If you understand this, then you can quit reading.  If you know someone who does not realize that he is not a technology expert, but in fact is the president of XYZ , then forward this article on to him.   The focus of this article is to try and make the point that business owners or principles should run the business, and let their personnel do their jobs and not add the burden of managing the technology.

Time and time again we hear the same spiel from the mid-market companies we target; “we don’t have IT help, our ________ (fill in the blank: office manager, controller, etc.) handles our computer problems”. Regardless of whether you have 5 users or 50 + users, network planning and support is important. For example, why would you spend 3K to 5K on a server that runs your line of business software even though you know you are expanding in 6 months and hiring another couple of people? Will the server handle the increased user count and workload? Do you have internal email? Is it hosted or do you run it on Exchange? Can you run Exchange with your line of business software and file server? Do you take your office manager off line to figure out what is wrong with your accounts receivable workstation? The time it takes your office manager to help the accounts receivable clerk to figure out what is wrong and IF they can even fix it is hard to justify. Think about it. Cash is not in the bank, invoicing may be put off until tomorrow, the office manager was supposed to get you financials….the list could go on and on. This is not an extreme example. What if your server went down? What would happen?

Perhaps, you do have an IT support firm on call or retainer. Are you paying full rates? Do you think that this provider would make sure your technology is up-to-date and running at its optimum? Think about it. The IT firm makes money when you call them to fix something. Not that I am saying IT firms are not reputable, but what I am saying is that they are not a partner. They make money when you call them if something is broken. Like your car, you take your car in for a repair. What do the auto shops always do? They tell you that you need something in addition to what you brought the car in for to make more money. Now-a-days, you can get extended maintenance plans for your new car purchase. The dealer wants you to come in and get the service completed because they won’t make money if the car breaks down and is covered by the maintenance plan. They make their money if your car is running properly. Proactive maintenance is the best way to ensure that you reduce the risk of your car or your technology breaking down.

Proactive IT maintenance is always cheaper than reactive maintenance. How much time does your office manager spend on proactive technology maintenance? How much time does your IT firm spend on proactive maintenance? If you are not on a service plan, then I would think they don’t spend enough time. Why should they? They make money at full rates when you break down.

What you truly need is a Technology Partner. A partner that provides proactive maintenance to reduce the risks your business takes doing business. A partner that wants your system running smooth and that you can call for help without worrying about additional charges that really won’t benefit your company. A partner that is a Technology Expert and went to college just to be sure! A partner as defined by dictionary.com is as follows: a person (or organization) who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor; sharer; associate.

So, what are the next steps? We have identified that you are probably not an IT expert nor is your _____ (fill in the blank!). You probably don’t want to hire a full-time IT person since they make a lot of money or perhaps you are large enough that you want to keep a help desk IT person on staff. If so, they probably do not have the full IT experience that a Technology Partner such as our firm, Custom Information Services (CIS), would have.  We have a team of Microsoft Certified Professionals that went to college just to major in IT. This team also ensures redundancy in your company’s IT infrastructure so if the main tech on your account wins the lottery neither one of us is in a bind! Your company does not have to pay for the hiring costs, health insurance, new products training, vacation days, personnel issues, etc.

 Hiring a technology partner, like CIS, who offers the managed services plans will greatly reduce your odds of having an outage. (No one can guarantee you will never have equipment failure and if they do, have them call me because I would sure like to know how they do it!) What we offer is the maintenance plan that allows for proactive measures to keep your risks of equipment failure at a minimum. We do not charge full rates if something does break and it is not covered under the plan. We want your technology running smoothly so we make money by not having to spend a lot of time in crisis mode and you don’t have to be an expert in IT and can focus on what you do best: Running your business!

Take a few minutes and look at the money you have spent on IT over the last year or two.

  • How much was spent on reactive issues vs. proactive?
  • How much time does your staff spend on vendor management for your voice and data? Are you getting the most bang for your buck?
  • Do you have a disaster recovery plan in place?
  • When does your anti-virus expire?
  • Are you sure your back-up system is working?
  • How much time does your staff spend trying to fix a printer or workstation issue?
  • How much do you pay your staff to work on these issues (not to mention the time spent not doing their real job)?
  • Do you want to maintain a full-time IT person on staff for help desk? Some of our larger customers do just that and use CIS services for everything else which allows the staff IT to just focus on help-desk, or perhaps they do custom programming too.

Most of the prospects we meet and explain our managed service plan to and how it is really a no brainer, sign up as a customer within a matter of weeks. The time lapse is typically due to customer reference checking. Most customers see an immediate return on investment.

For more information on the Technology offerings at CIS or other ways to help it help you, call Nancy Phillippi at (817) 640-0016 ext. 109 or email at [email protected].

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