IT is now a crucial part of the modern day business. The various systems are relied upon for almost every important business function, and the seriousness of the requirement for an IT support service can sometimes be overlooked. There are many businesses who have a disaster recovery plan in place, which outlines the steps they will take if they are ever to be disrupted by a failure. Even the smallest of IT failures can have exceptionally large costs to a company. Whether it is a phone line, website, payment systems, company database or other – technology is deeply rooted within most businesses and its daily availability is an absolute priority for most companies.
There are still some businesses who have not yet fully adopted technology within to their company, or some which are using old technologies, instead of taking advantage of the latest advancements. These behaviours can often lead to a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace. If we take into consideration, only the factors mentioned above, it quickly becomes apparent why having IT support services for your business is a critical element for success.
The True Impact of Downtime
Whether you choose to have IT support services in-house, or you elect to outsource the job to a reputable company. Having good technical support, that understands both your business and your systems is key. There is nothing more frustrating than a computer, or a system that will not work correctly. It can slow down individuals in their day to day roles, it can affect customers and in some cases, put them off doing business with you, it can lose a company money, and it take valuable, paid time away from people who are being paid to do a specific job.
Any unplanned outage or downtime is costly. However, if we are talking about mission critical systems, then a company will have already invested a lot of money into this area of the business, to ensure optimum results. Despite these investments and the advances which we have seen in recent years regarding infrastructure reliability, some business still have to deal with software or hardware shutting down intermittently or for prolonged periods. The reality is that IT failures are expected. Addresses and assessing the landscape and planning on what to do if, is why having a competent, and skilled IT support services function is crucial.
Loss of Reputation and Employee Productivity
It is not easy to work out, or even assess how much a company reputation is worth. As aforementioned, downtime can affect the revenue of a business, and also, be costly in terms of clients, both in the short and in the long-term. People can often be pulled away from their day-to-day duties when there is something of more importance to deal with, this can also impact client services and beyond.
A period of downtime can range from a few hours to a whole week, maybe more. Over this time, employee productivity may be affected, this is measured in wages, and also, in terms of the lost benefits those employees would have added, should they have been normal and active in their roles. If a core system or database is lost, credit controllers cannot collect, sales people cannot take orders and so on.
IT Support is CRUCIAL
While there are many different types of support available to companies, you have a choice to hire a team to work within your business, directly for you. Alternatively, you can outsource this to a managed service provider or IT consultancy firm. Both are great options; it will depend on the size of your business, the number of staff, the amount of different systems you are using to support your business along with other elements – so each business will have completely different requirements that need to be addressed and guaranteed. Choosing the right option for your business is crucial, it could come down to cost, or service guarantees, depending upon your individual needs. Most small businesses cannot afford the expense of hiring a skilled professional, full time, just in case something goes wrong, this is why a lot of small companies will tend to outsource, or contract in their IT support.
Having an IT support function or structure in place for your company brings about many different benefits, not only does it give you peace of mind, that if something were to go wrong, you have an expert, immediately available to investigate and work on a resolution. It immediately gives you the resources you need to be able to deal efficiently with a mission critical issue that may have arisen. You have skilled professionals at your disposal, who are experts in their field.
Most external companies will be used to working with different IT requirements; they will also have access to people who are specifically skilled in the areas you need. Additionally, they are able to offer a range of different packages to suit your needs such as 24-hour availability, along with other service level agreements which may be of importance to your company.
Whichever way you look at it, IT is essential to almost every business. Whether it be an internationally enterprise or just a one-man consultancy, having your technology working for you, is far better than having to deal with systems and hardware that is faulty outdated or broken.
The other element of IT support services which can be overlooked is the ongoing maintenance and updates that are required to both hardware and software products. Vendors or manufacturers will often release updates which need to be installed and acted upon instantly. IT support are able to deal with these communications and perform any associated updates, quickly This will ensure that the business is not vulnerable to any kind of cyber threat, or attack. We have all experienced or heard about these events in the press, and they can be exceptionally costly, especially when it comes to handling sensitive customer data, and the reputation of the company.