You’ve heard of cowboy builders, what about Cowboy IT Support?
Recently I’ve been noticing this more and more. I have seen customers who have put their complete trust in an IT support company and they have been taken for a ride, either by getting unexpected invoices or being recommended to install a solution that is completely wrong or under specified and doesn’t meet the their requirements.
Even though I am in competition with some of these other “IT Support” companies, I have a professional pride and quality in what we produce and I have to say I was shocked with some of the things I found.
If IT support companies provide shoddy solutions and rip customers off it gives all of us a bad name. I have to say that over the past month, my eyes have been opened as to the quality of some of the solutions that have been installed for businesses and then left for some-one else to pick up the pieces and I am really disappointed.
Builders, accountants, lawyers and mechanics all have a body that oversees their work and are an escalation point if something should go wrong. There is nothing for IT, for something so important and crucial to the success and continued prosperity of small businesses, there are no standards, there is no regulatory body. Basically anyone can profess to be an IT professional, walk into a business and tell them that they can support them, do a shoddy job, walk away and unless the business wants to take them to court there’s nothing they can do.
Businesses need to perform due diligence on IT Support companies, the same as they would do on any other major services they would buy. IT is not a “dark” art as some people would portray. If your IT support person blinds you with “tech” talk then they aren’t right for you. They should be open and explain things to you in terms of what you understand and need for your business.
The easiest way I find to explain their computer systems to business owners and decision makers is to get them to think in terms of a car towing a boat. The size of the boat is how much data the company has. The weight of the boat is the performance that is required from the car to tow the boat efficiently.
What businesses and many IT companies forget about is the weight, they look at the size and specify a solution to fit that and in many cases this is where the problem is. You can’t just specify a solution on dimensions you need to take into consideration weight as well. A boat may have large dimensions but be a light load, made of fibre glass, alternatively the boat may be small but made of steel so it’s heavier and takes more to tow it. You wouldn’t buy a small car to tow a 3 tonne boat but yet in the IT support world that’s what many companies end up getting. It just doesn’t work.
Some businesses have got to think of their IT systems as an investment rather than a cost. It is the crucial part that keeps the business going and the wheels turning. Without the IT systems what happens to businesses? How much productivity is lost when people can’t work or they experience computer issues? If you start working that out then you will see actually how valuable the IT systems are and how much the “true” costs really are.
Unfortunately in IT as in most of life, you get what you pay for. If it’s cheap then you need to see why it’s cheap. What services are being provided? What else will I have to pay for down the line?
About the Author
Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled Technology Director at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.
Surety IT can help you create the right system to enhance your business, ensuring you know how it is right for you and how to use it. We will tailor a solution to suit your needs with leading systems, local support and more, building your vision for a more flexible and capable business.