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Jan 04

Can your business afford to keep using Frank?

We all know the situation, the company is small and a friend of a friend of one of the employees has some technical skills so you call him up when problems arise.  Sure, Frank is a nice enough guy and he seems to be able to fix problems as they come up.  When you have an issue, you can give Frank a call and he usually makes time to fit you into his hectic work schedule, but there have been some occasions where you had to wait for Frank.

Why would you want to stop working with Frank and start working with a Technology Solution Provider when Frank has been so good to you?  We’ve put together a list of questions that every business owner needs to ask themselves if they are in this situation.

1.  Are IT related issues Frank’s primary job duties?

The answer to this question is typically a resounding ‘No’, which immediately puts your business at risk.  Waiting until next Wednesday for Frank to come out means that someone is sitting on their hands, or worse, chatting on Facebook because they are unable to perform their tasks.  In most cases a lack of productivity can mean loss of revenue.

2.  Do you measure success by how often Frank is able to fix a problem?

If you are still measuring success based on how often a problem can be fixed, stop!  Fixing problems can make an amateur technician look good if you’re not paying attention to cause of the problem.  In many cases the problem is recurring, meaning that the issue arises over and over for the same reason, regardless of what the Frank might be telling you.  Spyware/malware, file corruption and troubled hardware are the biggest offenders.

3.  Is Frank monitoring your network 24x7x365?

 The new term to keep in mind is preactive, which means that your technology provider knows that a problem is going to arise before you do.  No, not by using ‘The Force’ or some other Jedi trick, but with highly effective network monitoring systems.  In doing so, a technician is able to see and, in most cases, resolve an issue before the end user knows that there ever was an issue.  Don’t trust that this is being done, ALWAYS ask for reports!

4. Are all of your vital documents, spreadsheets and databases being backed up?

 In most cases, Frank will set up each workstation with email and whatever line of business applications are required, but in his mind the work ended there.  A good Technology Solution Provider will provide a central location to store all of your critical files and then put a backup system in place to store your data both onsite and offsite.  Be sure to ask where your data is stored and proof that it is secure!

5.  Does Frank check on your backup every day?

You have someone change the tape every day, but who checks to ensure data integrity?  Nearly every technician has seen it at least once in their life, an empty or corrupt tape.  Don’t trust that your data is there, ALWAYS verify that it is by asking for backup reports to prove it!

6.  Do you call support when the Internet goes down or a printer has a problem?

Obviously, you can’t rely on Frank to handle such menial tasks at the drop of a hat so instead you take time out of your day to address the issue.  Why not call your Technology Solution Provider when you have an issue with a technology vendor?  Any good technician knows the jargon and can field all of the questions that a Level 1 technician at any vendor  is going to ask. 

7.  Who do you call when Frank goes on vacation?

It is impossible to stress this too much: The availability of your network should not be left in the hands of a part-time technician.  The most important question that you can ask yourself right now is this: “If my computer system went down, would I be making money or losing money?”

8.  Does Frank research Technology Projects to move your company forward?

The chances of Frank having time to research, propose and implement a new solution are not very good and that leaves your company behind your competitors technologically.  Sure, you’ll be fine without the latest and greatest, but that version of Office 2003 on your 7 year old Windows XP Home PC is running slower and slower each day.  Productivity improves with technology so get with the times.  A good Technology Solution Provider recommends a three year refresh on all desktop/laptop hardware so that you and your employees aren’t waiting on your computer to boot up and shut down.

Why would you want to entrust such an important part of your business to a part-time technician with no real vested interest?  You need technology solutions that are specifically designed with your business’ goals in mind in order for it to run efficiently and maintain productivity.    Find a Technology Solution Provider that has aligned their goals with that of your business and can back everything offered with actual, visual proof.

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