Modern technology is revolutionary and has paved the way for changes to how we live for decades now. Technology’s continuous evolvement has made our lives easier than ever before – we are far more connected and equipped for everything we do – and that applies to both our work and home lives. The capabilities of technology have led it to spread throughout organisations across the globe in every industry sector – regardless of business size or shape, business owners are becoming wise to the value that it can offer.
Technology is the main ingredient to modern business success. Implementation of the right tools, and top-quality support surrounding the use and security of those tools, is essential – in the modern age this should be a leading business consideration for business owners.
With our reliance in technology consistently growing, IT support companies seem to be appearing from everywhere. Most make a series of unrealistic claims, including offering ‘the best support’ – this is ridiculous – what even is ‘the best support’? There is no way to measure something so personal!
It may appear that we are reading too much into this. Many think that IT support is just IT support and that it is all the same – but they would be wrong, because the level and type of support that your organisation requires will depend on the individual needs of your organisation.
We could even go a step further; IT support is the wrong name for the service in the modern world – as we said, it is no longer just support that businesses need. Previously the name matched the service, but we are no longer so ignorant and oblivious to what technology is capable of. In the past, it had not evolved to the point that it could be moulded to a business’s individual needs – or further – to a specific department in an organisation. Today all of this is possible.
It may seem like a foreign concept to business owners, but previously it was impossible to plan your next move, and, as you know, planning is a key part of every business owner’s day in the modern world of work. Luckily, the right modern IT support is more! It is capable of being shaped to your needs and to evolve and grow in unison with your business. The IT specialists from the external company tasked with managing your account shouldn’t be an elusive entity that you speak to on occasion or once in a blue moon – they should become an integral part of your team and show the same vision and passion about your business goals as you, whilst having the knowledge of what tools and procedures will be the best to make those aims happen.
Let’s look at what good modern IT support should look like.
What Will a Good It Support Specialist Do for You?
Show interest with proactivity
By far the most important of all is proactivity. Most IT companies preach it in their sales pitch when attempting to acquire your services, but, in reality, not many actually have a proactive approach to their services. A good provider should get to know your organisation inside and out; they should look back to the history of your organisation in an attempt to learn about its future. In fact, it would be fair to say that many IT support providers could advertise themselves as insurance providers instead, and they definitely wouldn’t look out of place – they only want to offer reactive support in the event of a problem, rather than implementing preventative measures to stop the problem occurring in the first place.
You must find a provider that shows genuine interest in the prolonged success of your organisation. They must find out what works and what doesn’t through your data, and through talking to the team – after all, who knows the system better than the team that are using it daily? Doing this will give them a chance to prepare for the problems we previously mentioned in a way that suits the way you do business. Unfortunately, we can’t give you a blanket statement of what works (because what works for a marketing agency wouldn’t work for an estate agent, for example). Remember that every organisation is different, and your IT support should be catered to you with this fact in mind.
With a proactive approach to IT support, small problems don’t have the chance to become large ones. With strategically aligned IT at the forefront of operations, and proactive support around the safest and correct way of utilising all that tech has to offer, your business can always be operational and not face any potentially business defining downtime.
Allow for unlimited calls
Don’t even consider IT companies that limit the number of calls you can make to them. How can you possibly anticipate the level of assistance you are going to need, or when you are going to need it? Completely disregard them as an option – if you could see into the future, you wouldn’t need IT support at all!
It is fair to say that, predominantly, tech minded individuals aren’t usually the most gifted of communicators. That doesn’t shroud their capabilities in regard to implementing the right tools technically but coupling them with poor communication skills can affect those actions dramatically.
Ideally, the right provider will clearly and concisely communicate with you and – when required – your team about their ideas for the future of the company. Without this communication you will lack the plan and targets from which you not only monitor success but also the necessary information from which success is made possible.
Providers should be in contact with you frequently. Of course, don’t expect calls every day, checking in making sure everything is okay, guiding you through every action – that is unrealistic – but a scheduled call every 2 – 3 weeks or monthly, for example, would be an adequate time frame for things to have changed and a check in to be required.
As we have said, the best and right providers will go the extra mile. They get to know your business both in a technical sense and personally. By taking time to learn how your organisation ticks they can become familiar with the challenges your team are facing on a daily basis, in turn allowing them to equip your team with the tools to fight against and overcome those challenges.
Service Level Agreement (SLA)
SLAs are vital: they define the parameters of your service. Every provider will offer something different, so take your time to find a number of potential providers, speak to them, and make a revised decision based on what your organisation needs – whatever you do, don’t just sign the first contract you are offered.
Now we know that IT support isn’t just support any more, let’s take a look at what you as a business owner need to look out for when navigating potential providers’ websites for the best fit for your organisation.
1. Proactivity not reactivity
As we have already mentioned, a proactive approach is essential. An IT partner that is only reactive will leave you and your team using dated tools that are of little help in your quest for growth and increased profits. Some are lured in by the promise of 24/7 support, and no doubt that support is okay, but just because it is 24/7 doesn’t mean that it is proactive. The right provider will get to know you, your team, and – most importantly – the way your business ticks. There is no rush, take your time before diving in, ask the necessary questions, find out if consultancy is part of your SLA and if it isn’t move on to the next one.
2. Remote support
The modern workplace requires remote support. Traditional IT support required a phone call to your provider regarding the problem, who would then send a representative expert to fix the problem physically, whereas in the modern world this is neither sufficient nor necessary. Most good providers will use a software solution that allows you to send a request, then after (ideally) a few minutes an expert will be in contact with you via a remote session to run through the fix with you, allowing you to resolve any problems at a much quicker rate than waiting around would result in.
IT providers – like any other industry – have areas of expertise, and most specialise in a certain industry sector. This is obvious to many, but it is surprising how many businesses don’t do this. You can’t expect someone to advise you on what is best for the future of your organisation both operationally and technically if they have no idea of the latest trends and ‘done things’ in the sector, can you?
4. Strategic Partnership
A ‘strategic partnership’ is a key term to listen out for during your search. The right provider will have a genuine interest in establishing a strategic partnership with you; to make a strategic partnership possible you need an accumulation of proactivity, expertise, and relationship building. Your provider will come to you with IT strategies that are forward thinking and centred around increasing the levels of efficiency that you and your team are able to achieve, in turn helping your organisation to move forward successfully.
These are just some of the many things to look out for when navigating potential providers’ websites. We hope this article helps you in your search for the right IT provider for you and your team, but, if you need more guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us and see what we can offer you and your team.
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We’re in the business of helping businesses. We provide IT solutions and support to facilitate and encourage growth. Our team of experts offer effective comprehensive cyber solutions that protect your data. We centre our efforts around reducing the risks your business faces and offering improved levels of communication, collaboration, and productivity in your everyday business processes. If you and your team want to get the most possible from IT in the most secure way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.