Recognizing the surprising, hidden costs of underperforming IT in your business.

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Recognizing the surprising, hidden costs of underperforming IT in your business.

When computers don’t work, people don’t work.

“Everyone was treating it like a snow day in grade school.”
– Local business leader describing a 1-hour internet outage in their office.

Most business leaders have no idea how much they’re losing in hidden costs from underperforming or failing IT systems.

The reason for those costs is simple. When computers don’t work well, your people don’t either.

Computer issues have a huge impact on employee productivity and morale, which has an even bigger effect on your bottom line.

Have you ever observed your team during an IT outage?

  • I recently had one client tell me “everyone was treating it like a snow day in grade school.” They had a one-hour internet outage that completely derailed his staff and caused productivity to come to a screeching halt.
  • I recall another prospective client telling me that he arrived at the office one day to find his staff “running around like their hair was on fire,” because their computer systems were down.

Those are two different responses to IT problems for sure, but both were very disruptive and resulted in hidden costs to each respective business.

Computers help make tremendous advances in productivity, efficiency, and profitability. However, it’s crucial to remember that they are still being used by humans.

⦁ Has your staff created time-consuming workarounds to computer problems instead of asking for help? I have witnessed this behavior on many occasions.
⦁ Are your employees frustrated because their computer is slow or doesn’t work as it should? I’ve seen that one a lot too.

Consider what those behaviors are costing you in lost time and employee turnover.

What IS the cost of IT in your business?

Your business likely has a budget for IT expenses. You probably know what you spend on new equipment, software subscriptions and licenses, computer repairs, internet service, and other critical pieces to your business IT system.

But do you factor employee productivity and company culture into your plan? To remain competitive in business today requires a broader consideration of how you invest in technology.

For example, you may be in the habit of waiting for your computer systems to break before you spend anything on them. If this is your approach, you almost certainly have extensive costs not being recognized. These costs stem from the gradually-fading productivity of the machine and the frustration of the user.

To see clearly, you’ll need to ask tough questions like these.

  • Do you have a high turnover in some areas of your company?
  • Could it be that technology that isn’t performing well is causing this turnover?
  • If so, what does it cost you to hire, train and staff a position in that area of your business?

This happens more often than we would like to admit. Workers are given a computer and expected to do a great job with equipment that bogs them down. Then, they become inefficient and frustrated because they don’t have the technology provided to perform at a high level. (Check out this article about how Tech impacts recruiting and employee retention.)

Here’s another tough but important question.

⦁ How approachable and accessible are the people who support IT systems in your business?

It takes a unique skill set to not only be proficient at IT support but also approachable and helpful to people.

But if your IT pros aren’t approachable, employees will keep their IT problems to themselves. Unresolved issues will continue to impact your productivity and create additional soft costs for your company.

There’s a good reason IT professionals often feel unapproachable.

The fact is, many highly intelligent, caring people who are excellent in the field of information technology simply lack the social skills to interact well with others. They’re just wired differently to be better suited at private, individual, and focused work. It gives them the ability to deal with complex problems at a highly technical level.

You need those gifts to support your business, but it doesn’t mean your team will get the support they need. That requires people with patience, compassion, and an outgoing personality that starts to sound like someone you might seek when hiring for customer service or human resources.

If you recognize that your business has this gap between technical skills and social skills, you are not alone.

And, it’s likely not your fault.

Here are a couple of the common scenarios we encounter.

When recruiting someone to be responsible for your IT systems, you must find a person or persons who have the needed technical abilities and training to support your systems. They need to be able to work in the IT environment that drives your business, first and foremost. You have to hire someone with these skills, but later you realize that they are uncomfortable interacting with others.

In other cases, a person who is well-liked by your team, and has some higher technical skills than most, has been given responsibility for IT. This may have happened a long time ago, and the arrangement worked out fine for years. However, they have not had time to keep up with current technology and have slipped into a mode of simply trying to put out fires with failing systems.

Either scenario creates hidden costs for your business.

Don’t worry, you have options.

Regardless of where you find your business in its effort to have IT systems that support your business goals, there are solutions available.

Consider finding a partner that offers Managed IT Services.

  • They are staffed with experts in the field of Information Technology who also have the customer service skills to work with you and your team.
  • They reduce the hidden costs of IT by helping your team solve current problems and prevent future ones from occurring.

Most services offered by successful MSPs are provided under a flat-rate monthly payment. Paying hourly for IT services leads to problems. People are often reluctant to ask for help when they know it costs $150 or more an hour. A flat-rate allows your team the freedom to get help with any computer issues they experience without having the fear of creating unplanned expenses.

Additionally, most people have no idea what areas need attention. Systems become outdated, unstable, and vulnerable to cyber-attacks over time. If you don’t know what needs to be done to prevent those issues, you likely won’t find out until there is a problem.

A quality MSP will evaluate your present technology and how it supports your business goals. From those findings, they develop a plan that addresses the specific needs of your business. You need more than a service that just fixes things and prevents problems. You need a technological partner who thinks in terms of business strategy and has the ability to help you reach your goals.

A well-designed MSP (Managed Services Provider) will have the flexibility to fill whatever gap you might have in your current IT strategy.

  • Perhaps you have a great IT person on staff that struggles with assisting your staff on day-to-day support needs.
  • Or maybe you have that IT person that everyone likes who has become overwhelmed trying to keep up with cybersecurity threats.
  • You might currently have an IT support service that simply waits for problems to happen instead of preventing the incidents that disrupt your business.

How do I find the right IT partner?

An MSP that brings a canned solution to your business is probably a bad fit. If they price their services based only on how many computers or users you have, that should raise a red flag.

A valuable partner will need to understand more about your technology and your business. You need them to be strategic and understand that your business has unique needs. Their offering should identify and solve specific problems for your business.

Uncovering the needs of your business requires an in-depth discovery process. Some needs are obvious, like the need for a fast response to your staff when they have problems.

Other needs are often not recognized without a thorough technology assessment.

  • What technology is underperforming and creating hidden costs?
  • Are your backup systems designed for a fast recovery?
  • Are they current and backing up the right data?
  • Do you have security vulnerabilities on your network?

A deep diagnostic scan and evaluation will answer these questions and many others.

Find a partner that offers this discovery process before you give them your business. If they want to charge you for this service, they’re likely looking for profit more than they are a business partner.

Many industry “experts” suggest that an MSP should charge for an initial assessment whether you hire them or not. That may be the safe route, but any MSP that charges you for an assessment is often just trying to fit you into their canned solution. The MSP consultants that recommend charging for assessments before providing a proposal are really good at managing a balance sheet. However, they fall short on building long-term business relationships that benefit both sides.

What does the IT discovery process look like?

Our company, RSPN, offers a free, initial discovery report called the “IT Audit” for prospective clients.

We start with a conversation with you about your business: what areas are causing you problems and where you want to go moving forward. Then, you will be offered our free IT Audit If we believe we could be a good fit as your business partner.

  1. The audit begins with diagnostic scans of your network and conversations with key members of your team.
  2. From our findings, we will develop an IT Audit Report for you.
  3. This report defines several IT-related categories and explains your current position with each.

The report provides an easy way to quickly identify the “health” of your IT strategy from a high level.

During your presentation from us, we will explain areas of concern, provide answers to your questions, and present our proposed plan.

Even if you don’t elect to begin a partnership with our business, you will have greater insight into areas of need for your IT infrastructure. (Learn more about our simple process on our website.)

Finding the right business partner to support and align your technology with your business goals advances your business.

  • You’ll be able to budget for IT spending and eliminate unexpected and hidden costs of IT.
  • You’ll have happier, more productive employees.
  • You will find that everything simply just works as it should so you can focus on reaching your business goals.

Contact success@rspn.com to schedule an initial conversation with us.

In the meantime, you may also enjoy this free resource we are offering – The 7 Most Powerful Keys to Preventing IT Failures. You can download that here.

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