3 Models of IT Support Services
October 9, 2020
Technology continues to evolve.
The last ten years has seen dramatic changes. The cassette tape has been replaced by the CD. The CD has been replaced by the MP3. The touch screen on mobile devices has transformed them into smart devices.
This is now a device that has a phone app on it.
Today’s technology really needs to be treated with respect – it has now become the backbone of your organisation. This means it has the power to make your business a great success but it also means that if you ignore it you could end up like the old cassette tape.
No matter if you are a 1 man show or an organisation with 10,000 employees technology plays a vital role.
Simplicity is key. Take Google. You simply type your search in and off it goes. In seconds you have what you were looking for. There is a lot more going on than the simple search box we see. Behind this search there is a huge array of technology whose sole purpose is to deliver results to you – in seconds.
Simple IT that delivers what it promises increases productivity for your team. This is the key. At its core IT needs to be simple to use and deliver results – increasing productivity.
Old and poorly designed IT can leave your team members frustrated and unable to do their jobs to the utmost of their abilities. Which leads to loss in productivity which cost you money.
The three models of IT Support Services
Ad Hoc Support :-
Small businesses are the backbone of the Australian economy so it’s surprising to see how many of them use the Ad Hoc Support model.
This is a dangerous situation to be in. This is similar to danger rating we experienced in Australia in the 2019/20 bushfire season.
If your IT goes down good luck knowing how soon you can be back up and running. We have seen the ransomware attacks forcing businesses to stop work. These attacks have even forced businesses to close down!
As the name suggest this is an on demand support service, pretty much like a plumber who comes to fix a leaking tap.
We have seen illegal versions of Windows software running on commercial businesses – no back-ups – antivirus programs which have not been updated for years and the list goes on and on.
When a technician is brought in to fix these sort of problems they often come across many more issues and advises fixing these as well. If you are lucky they will have made some notes or sent an email explaining what they did.
This can make things much more difficult to fix next time something breaks because the next dial-IT-support has no idea what the state of play is. You may rely on a friend but what happens if they’re busy? You used to go to the computer repair shop around the corner.
But what happens when they close?
Business owners and executives are often under the impression that they are already in the cloud and that they do not need ongoing support. They prefer the ad hoc support model.
This is like getting a new tax accountant every year and taking them my shoebox of receipts. It’s just not worth it especially when the accountant’s fee is 100 % tax deductible and so are IT Support costs.
Ad Hoc support was more relevant in the past when businesses were not highly dependent on technology. This is when it was more hardware related issues and the computer repair shop around the corner and it didn’t matter too much if one of the computers were out of opperation for a few days.
Below are a few signs which will help you to decide if you need to steer to another support model.
Things are not getting done:
You would have started to notice that it is becoming a regular occurrence for jobs not to be done on time. You would really simple things taking too long to do. You would hear grumblings about the computers not working at little too often.
The truth is IT is complex and broad! It is quite possible that your team members need assistance but they do not have enough support available. It is not only frustrating them but it’s costing you – and you don’t want unhappy staff.
We need to spread more smiles and a frustrated staff are not going to have a good effect on the company culture.
Unplanned changes causes frustration
When changes occur and the current IT Setup cannot keep up, it is going to create frustrations with your team members.
Nothing is permanent but change – we all know this already but each time there is a change we all are mostly against it and if technology is not being very friendly it makes matters worse. If it can be planned and documented – it makes the execution much simpler. An ad hoc billing model may prove to be more expensive.
Downtime, loss of data, software problems can quickly disturb the productivity of team members and can also bring down their morale.
Spikes in Budget
Whilst we consider ad hoc as a more economical option it is often not the case. The last thing that you want to see a huge spike in expenses every time something goes wrong. Not only are you and your team not being productive it’s costing you more to do nothing.
We all are trying to keep our expenses down and more often than not these hidden costs associated with ad hoc can really take you by surprise.
Essential IT Managed Services
This type of plan is when your business has a limited level of IT support with an IT Support provider.
Your team members can reach out to an IT Help desk and lodge a call but it may or may not incur a fee based upon the arrangements in place with the provider.
The IT Support provider looks after the documentation. The reported issue gets resolved in minutes or hours and hopefully not days or weeks.
This also involves routine tasks like scans, patch management, licensing details, login details, router details, isp details and all the other boring details which most people doesn’t think of until they have to.
A very high level network plan is created which will clearly identify the devices in the network, how they are all connected and provide a bird’s-eye view. This will also be very handy if you need to switch providers.
This is usually the bare minimum type of support we recommend for a business where IT plays a vital role.
This way your team members can always reach out and seek help when they need it and an engineer can start to assist within minutes.
Providing the option for the team members to reach out to the IT Help desk is now more important than ever as we want team members to harness the power of technology and not blame technology for them not able to perform.
This model usually has an annual or a monthly subscription service. Once in place the IT managed service provider will then provide IT Help desk functionality for you and for you team members.
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Premium IT Managed Services
This is the gold option if you want IT to help drive your business forward.
This would be the option where your technological requirements are fully taken care of. This can also be called worry free option where the provider is on the forefront and hopefully it is on a fixed price model.
The sort of services you should expect at this level are:
- The IT Help Desk from before
- Business Continuity
- An IT Road Map
- An IT Strategy
- Warranty Management
- Licensing Management
It provides you and your team a peace of mind knowing that you have an extended part of your team which is your IT Managed service provider who is available to assist you.
A business continuity plan is a plan to get you out of the worse case scenarios. Things like: in case there is a fire, theft or anything major. Your provider will be able to get you up and running in hours.
The documentation is in place and kept up to date and things are buzzing smoothly. The staff are happy to reach out to the provider to have a chat about any IT issues they have.
They can also request the provider to work with different providers to resolve some Technical issues rather than feeling like a tennis ball been bounced back and forth between the two. A good example of this is you sign a contract to get some slick new photo copiers installed. They can do everything. But when they arrive the photocopy installer is asking you heaps of questions you don’t understand about IT. If you have IT Managed Services they will take over the conversation and help get everything running smoothly.
This is usually a fixed fee model on a monthly or annual agreement. This will help the numbers play nice with each other and avoid any surprising spikes in the budget.
This option necessarily does not mean that it is going to be too expensive, always there is room for negotiation. And as we saw in the ad hoc model you can have a lot of other costs when things go wrong.
Review your current situation and ensure you speak to your current provider about how IT can help move your business forward.
If you do not have a provider, give us a call and we are always having special offers, (Specially if you are an NFP )
We want to know your pain points and then hit the nail on its head. We need to spread smiles and take away the technical burden off your shoulders.
What is the pain point? Slow machines? Virus attacks? Email issues? Wireless issues? Whatever the issue we can promise you that it will be fully looked into an a solution will be found. We want to get to know your business so that we can offer you solutions that make sense for you.
What sort of IT Support plan do you have ? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eddie looks after marketing campaigns for Ironclad. In his pre-tech life, he worked as a journalist on the San Francisco Peninsula. Off hours, he dreams of England.