I became unintentionally emotional emailing a prospective client this week and it moved me to share something on here. During the process of tendering for the business I discovered the current outsourced IT support operate under a pre-paid model, where works are billed against a credit of hours. The client then dutifully emailed me a list of jobs completed in the last 12 months. What I saw was a list of perfectively standard helpdesk tickets. What I didn’t find however was a single proactive action.

I can’t stand that way of operating, in fact I think it’s irresponsible. I know there will be people who say the model suits their business and budget but it’s a false economy. My ire is not for the client or the current support, it’s for the model itself. An outsourced support desk should never simply react to things. Yes, you are outsourced but that doesn’t mean you are disconnected, far from it. IT support shouldn’t be just someone on the end of a phone who knows how to fix your printer. Outsourcing is a great model for many reasons but it does not mean the service you receive should be anything less than comprehensive and attentive.

 Take a moment to consider your IT and just how important it is to your business. It’s the lifeblood of most organisations and let’s be absolutely clear on this, there are people out there whose sole purpose in life is to attack it, to break the boundaries, to steal your data, disrupt your connectivity and profit from your misfortune. Your IT support team are integral to the way you work. I could throw some buzzwords at you now, terms like Ransomware, GDPR, Data Loss Prevention or Disaster Recovery but it goes much further than that. Your network is in a lot of ways very similar to a finely tuned machine. It’s needs proactive attention to keep it running smoothly. You need security patches, your core equipment needs firmware upgrades, your users need their endpoint protection monitored, the staff need education and training. Let’s not forget your backups or your firewalls or the age of your equipment.  I could list a hundred points of attention and action.

We can go beyond the mechanical need even. Your business processes need analysing regularly. Is there a better way of doing what you do? Technology is an ever-changing landscape both in feature sets and in application to business. Your IT can save your company valuable time in efficiencies and process improvements. If your IT support company’s only interaction with your technology is to fix a problem with Outlook every few weeks you are setting yourself up for a fall. You can’t just pop sticky-plasters on things as they go wrong and then expect your company is protected and working at maximum efficiency.

The pre-paid model of reactive support means the provider only earns when things go wrong, just consider that for a moment. That is why we will never operate in that way. A solid contractual obligation between the client and support company with a fixed fee monthly commitment means that we earn money when things go right. That’s the sweet spot. When things go wrong, the margins disappear and it costs us, both time and money. We are incentivised to ensure our client networks are working to maximum efficiency. It is in our interests to ensure things are patched, oiled and humming away. Furthermore, because of our vested interest in the smooth running of your technology we are engaged in the user experience and attentive to better ways of achieving goals. Put simply we are rewarded for doing things well. Sounds obvious doesn’t it?

“Don’t be penny-wise and pound-stupid” my grandad used to say when he bought his shoes, it’s time to apply that to your outsourcing!