IT system crashed? Now what will you do?
Every day your business relies on IT systems – the hardware such as servers, PCs, laptops, tablets and printers; the infrastructure, which includes the cabling, routers and switches, and the software – operating systems and applications.
Unfortunately, any part of this can fail.
Consider these 3 questions.
1. Could your business manage without your IT systems?
2. How much would your business lose if your IT system failed?
3. Would you be able to resolve a major IT problem quickly?
Question 2 might be unquantifiable, but if you answered ‘no’ to questions 1 and 3 then it is likely that you need an IT support contract.
Losing access to systems such as email, accounts, CRM, sales and marketing information and even general documents and files affects your business. Work grinds to a halt, customer service is impacted, invoices and payments are delayed and you’re generally frustrated.
You’re not alone though. A report published in December 2014 by KPMG revealed that over the previous year every IT failure affected an average of 776,000 people, and employers had to pay an unplanned £410,000 for each technology-related problem they faced. Half the failures were avoidable.
A scary thought that demonstrates even big corporates face IT problems as they try to stay on top of complex technology. Even where companies have IT departments to manage problems, a virus, unsecure network or corrupt data soon wreaks havoc.
Jon Dowie, Partner in KPMG’s Technology Risk practice said, “Technology is no longer a function within a business which operates largely in isolation. It is at the heart of everything a company does and, when it goes wrong it affects an organisation’s bottom line, its relationship with customers and its wider reputation”.
So what can be done to address problems?
Well, there’s the ad hoc approach – something goes wrong, you call an IT engineer who after a 10 minute phone call eventually arrives to try and repair a system he knows little about. Apart from ad hoc calls being charged at a higher rate, the work takes much longer as the engineer familiarises himself with your infrastructure (and possibly cause some extra problems in the meantime).
There’s also vendor support from the distributors and manufacturers of the products you purchased. Product specific they offer priority response within a specified time, and unlimited product knowledge. However, they expect a high level of technical understanding at your end of the phone to carry out testing and apply provided fixes. Not something that’s always available!
The best solution of course is either an IT support contract or an IT maintenance contract.
What’s the difference?
Both refer to a contract taken out with an IT company to look after your business’ infrastructure. A bit like insurance, the costs are spread over monthly payments or as an annual fee.
A support contract is reactive – you pay the provider to resolve IT related problems; either remotely by phone, or by visiting your site, as and when they arise. The level of service depends on the contract level you’re paying for.
A maintenance contract is more proactive. Tasks are conducted to ensure the IT system is maintained so it performs well, in addition to the service provided by a support contract. This allows potential problems and security threats to be eliminated before they become a major problem.
Other advantages include extending the lifetime of equipment through effective maintenance, ensuring information is backed up and recoverable, and that the system can adapt and grow with your business. A bit like having your own IT manager.
With IT support companies having experts in different products, either offers a broad knowledge and in-depth understanding. Ultimately the choice is determined by your needs and budget.
Jon Dowie (KPMG) adds: “With ever greater complexity in IT systems – not to mention the challenge of implementing IT transformational change – companies are running to stand still in managing their IT risks . . .”
If you believe that your time would be better spent doing what you do best – and that’s not IT maintenance – then please call the Direct Voice and Data team on free phone 0808 165 86 86 now.