Are you questioning the reliability, approach or competence of your current IT support? Here we take a look a 5 reasons to change your IT provider.
1. Slow Or Irregular Response Time
How long does it take to get a reply from your IT company?
You know that without a functioning IT infrastructure, your business will grind to a halt very quickly:
- Customers cannot get in touch with you
- Invoices can’t be sent out
- Website can’t be updated or is completely offline
- Staff unable to use their computers, devices or critical systems
- Massive productivity losses
- Frustration and low morale
So, a business like yours takes on an IT support provider really for one reason: insurance. You need to know that there is somebody who will fix these problems and, ideally, prevent them from happening in the first place.
But what happens if you can’t rely on the IT provider to return your calls or respond to your emails in a timely manner? Every extra minute is a cost to your business, over and above the cost of your IT contract itself.
So, speed is vital, but so too is quality. Always choose a provider who puts your productivity first and will find a workaround while the problem is being resolved, or who can schedule your support at a convenient time to reduce your productivity losses.
At Purple, we aim to:
- Respond within 1 hour to all requests over the 24 hour day – which in practice means a reply within a maximum of 20-30 minutes during working hours.
- Ensure our first contact is fundamentally helpful, either offering a suggested course of action immediately or, as a minimum, setting a time to fit the client’s schedule.
- Provide a sensible workaround if possible, while we work on the core issue.
- Offer an out-of-hours service, for more difficult problems, where we have to take over the client’s computer for troubleshooting purposes.
2. Poor Documentation
Do you know exactly what IT systems are in place in your organisation?
Would you be able to easily locate all the passwords for all of your organisation’s devices and online accounts?
Every business has a wealth of people, computers, mobile devices, online accounts and associated login information for all of these things. Business owners often struggle to keep track of this information in a secure manner, in many cases being completely beholden to their IT company to keep track of this data.
Looking after primarily SMB companies, our statistics show that we have to document, on average, per company:
- 23 devices
- 30 contact people
- 72 passwords
- 57 types of asset or system
The relationships between these entires are also highly complex and we manage, typically, thousands of links between those items. For example, which contacts are registered to use which devices, which passwords belong to which systems, and so on.
Many IT providers fail to make this information readily available to their clients, others will also store this information in an insecure manner, such as in an Excel spreadsheet. These are the keys to the castle!
Failure of the IT company and organisation owners to take documentation seriously causes all manner of problems:
- Day-to-day productivity issues: “Does anyone know the password for….?”
- Incomplete or incorrect provisioning of new staff
- Incomplete and therefore insecure off-boarding of departed staff
- No awareness of cloud software, where access issues cause major productivity losses
- Inability to rebuild systems after a major outage
- No clarity on permissions or access levels
At Purple, we take documentation seriously by:
- Continually improving our documentation processes and the level of detail about your systems
- Investing in the IT Glue documentation platform to securely share and collaborate with our clients
- Using the MyGlue platform for clients to view and manage all their IT system passwords
- Ensuring we never hold client data to ransom
3. Reliance Upon One Person
Do you always have to speak to the same person to fix your IT issues?
The IT industry is ideal for freelancers and computer experts to set up their own business at minimal cost. All you need is a website and a laptop to easily sell your services as an IT support provider.
Over the years, we at Purple have gained many customers whose business simply outgrew their so-called “one-man band” IT provider. The story is always the same: “They were great and always looked after us, but…”
- …they took on too many clients and could no longer respond quickly enough
- …one day something really bad happened while they were on holiday
- …we had no idea how anything worked and just kept having problems all the time
- …we wanted some advice on a new system but they didn’t really have the expertise
We always say your IT contract is an insurance policy which you expect to be there when things go wrong. While many companies have excellent relationships with their solo, freelance IT provider, nobody can be in two places at once. There often comes a time when their service to you fails, usually at a most inconvenient time, which is of course very costly to the business. And if you try to move away, it can take many months to uncover all the systems and processes that were set up – many of which may only exist in the brain of your previous provider.
At Purple, we are a small but diverse team:
- A wide range of ages and different areas of expertise means we have a wide spectrum of experience and knowledge on our business IT helpdesk.
- Any member of our team can (on the whole) assist you, because we have standard processes for our documentation and correspondence.
- All clients have full access to their entire system documentation, so your IT service is highly portable if we ever fall short of expectations.
4. Passing The Buck
Do you ever feel like piggy-in-the-middle when finding the responsible person for a tech issue?
How many times have you been told to phone a different supplier to fix an IT issue?
Inevitably your organisation will have many suppliers who provide a range of different core services in your business. It is not uncommon, for example, to have separate providers for web design, broadband, mobile phones, internal telephone systems and IT support. You may also have a security provider who manages your alarm system and CCTV cameras. Perhaps you have a company who leases your printers as well.
The problem is that many of these services are interconnected, certainly requiring internet access in many cases but usually needing WiFi or other internal networking, power and cabling requirements, email system access and so on.
Furthermore, no doubt you will use a wide range of software in your organisation. Accounting, project management, word processing and design software to name but a few. Some of these may be custom-built or at least unique to your industry.
So – does your IT provider commonly pass the buck and redirect you to other suppliers for support?
- “Sorry, we don’t support that make of printer…”
- “You’ll have to speak to the software manufacturer to fix that problem, I have no idea…”
- “That problem wasn’t our fault, speak to the other people…”
- “There’s nothing wrong with our systems, it must be something they did…”
As the client, you can find yourself acting as the mediator between all your different suppliers. You are forced into having to deal with technical language. This ultimately prevents you from focussing on your own jobs.
At Purple, we believe an IT support provider should be the first point of contact. They should be capable of diagnosing faults, liaising with your other suppliers, and only having to ask you to be involved as a last resort (or for account verification / authority purposes).
We believe your IT provider should be your first port of call for any tech issues, being able to competently:
- Diagnose email non-delivery, even when it involved scan-to-email or website contact forms
- Understand and troubleshoot CCTV, alarm and other internet-connected security devices
- Diagnose issues with printers, scanners and other network-attached devices such as card terminals
- Understand and troubleshoot traditional and internet (VoIP) phone systems
- Diagnose internet connectivity issues and eliminate any possible internal problems first
- Understand website hosting and domain names to help diagnose any issues
5. Old-Fashioned Approach
Do you feel like there must be a slicker process for some of your business functions?
The world of technology moves so quickly that it’s difficult for decision-makers to keep up. New technology has always offered a competitive advantage, but nowadays we also have to adapt to different ways of working and ever-higher staff expectations of IT provided in the workplace.
A modern IT support provider should be a trusted first point of contact when it comes to improving efficiency and workflow in your organisation. Not just at a technical level, such as provisioning new equipment, but also at a strategic business level such as advising on new software solutions, or identifying bottlenecks in business processes.
The best tech companies, the ones who pay close attention, should have a deep insight into their clients’ processes. Mainly because the IT provider has uniquely detailed oversight of every department, every piece of software, every device and every person who joins or leaves the company.
Some IT providers are, however, stuck in their ways:
- Refusal to support new or preferred software that the client wants to use
- Sticking to the same old formula, rather than evaluating new, better software or hardware
- Failure to keep up with modern best-practices, for example relating to cyber security
- Rarely recommends or offers opinions regarding new solutions
- Keen to sell you hardware to make more margin, rather than being agnostic and impartial
If this is your experience it could be time to look to change your IT provider. There is of course lot to be said for the “better the devil you know” approach. Respectfully a tried-and-tested approach certainly has many advantages.
However, the flip-side of technology giving a competitive advantage is that failure to keep up will mean your competitors outcompeting you. Younger and more dynamic companies will try, use and ultimately benefit from new technology. This might make them more efficient, or their customer experience much more user-friendly.
This is why it’s important to always get a fresh opinion, every so often, regarding your IT systems. You can’t possibly know what you don’t know exists.
At Purple, we believe this is at least in part the remit of your IT provider. We love to design solutions to make your business run better.
- Designing better customer experiences, such as improving your phone and email contact channels
- Improving internal company processes, such as setting up ticketing systems, or designing dynamic forms for moving information and tasks between departments
- Improving internet and Wi-Fi connectivity or mobile coverage
- Better communication systems between onsite and remote workers, or multi-site offices
If you think it could be time to change your IT provider then please get in touch.