One of the biggest challenges you can face as a small or medium-sized business is how to manage scalability and growth. However, strong levels of growth can often place an inordinate amount of strain on your IT systems and resources – which need to keep pace with the changes happening in your business.
And it is not a problem you can choose to ignore. Failure to upgrade your IT support and adequately define your IT requirements as you grow inevitably leads to problems with staff productivity and effectiveness. Which has a knock-on effect on everything from customer service to the financial health of your business.
If your IT is being managed for you by a 3rd party IT support provider then they should have all of this in hand as part of a regular IT Risk Assessment. But very often that isn’t the case and not all IT providers are created equal.
So how do you know if you have outgrown your existing IT support arrangements?
We think there are 5 tell-tale signs as follows:
You are experiencing increasing issues with your IT infrastructure
Advances in technology in recent years mean that staff are capable of performing key business tasks at a fraction of the speed they used to take.
But the flip side of that is when technology doesn’t work – including everything from slow internet to apps and data being unavailable – it can have a hugely detrimental effect too. In fact, research estimates that workers lose an average of 46 minutes per day or 24 days of work time a year when technology doesn’t work for them.
These types of issues might be subtle at first. But if you are spending more and more time reporting the same type of issues to your IT provider – and the same old issues recur time and again – then it should be a red flag for you.
Constant complaints from employees about poor IT
This one is closely related to the issue above but the people implications run a little deeper.
The reality for your business is that there is no business without effective technology. Your employees rely on technology daily to get their jobs done as quickly and as effectively as they can. And they are tech-savvy due to huge increases in the penetration of technology in their personal lives.
They bring this high level of expectation to work and if tech doesn’t work for them you are going to hear about it more than ever before. And when things don’t work then motivation and morale are the two first things to suffer.
So, if tech-related issues are top of your “fix” list – and staff complaints are “on the up” -then you need to dig a bit deeper into the causes. And really assess whether your existing arrangements meet your IT needs.
Your IT support isn’t worth the money you’re investing
If you are struggling to reconcile the investment you are making in IT support with what you get for your money – then it can often be a sign that you have outgrown your existing IT support set up.
Like any other budget line-item you need to make sure you are getting value for money for the spend allocation you are committing. One of the benefits of the outsourced IT support model is that, by definition, it requires a very clear description of your it requirements and the IT services you are being supplied against a clear indication of cost – and service level agreement.
If the price you are paying and the value you are getting have gotten a bit out of kilter as your business has grown it could be the ideal opportunity to re-assess exactly what you need out of your IT. In fact, our Quick Guide to reviewing your IT support is a great starting point for this.
Your IT provider doesn’t proactively keep up with changes in technology
The level of expertise that your IT provider brings to the table is a crucial part of your relationship with them.
One of the key benefits of having an external provider take responsibility for managing your IT is the depth of knowledge they can provide you with. And part of the equation here is their ability to ensure that this knowledge is up to date. And that they are able to implement the latest techniques and approaches for you to effectively meet your IT requirements. In everything from productivity to IT security.
Technology moves at an incredible pace these days. And failure to keep abreast of changes that impact your business – particularly in key areas of compliance, CyberSecurity and Business Continuity can have penal implications for the health of your customer data, employees and ultimately the success or failure of your business.
So, if your current IT support provider isn’t showing proactivity in this area then it should set alarm bells ringing for you.
The absence of any Strategic planning from your IT provider
This one has been implicit in a lot of what we have discussed above but it is worth calling out because of the huge impact it has on the success of your IT outsourcing.
Your IT infrastructure has to be developed to support your business and not the other way around. And the job of your IT provider isn’t only to solve an issue when something goes off track. Instead, they should be taking a proactive, strategic and business-focused approach to supporting the growth and development of your business.
If they aren’t talking to you about a strategic plan for your IT, an IT risk assessment, quarterly business reviews and how the latest Cloud technologies can transform the way you do business then you might not be with the right company.
If some of the issues above have resonated with you. And you feel that you might have outgrown your current IT support arrangements then you may be interested in our Fully Managed IT support service. Feel free to contact us for a no-obligation chat with one of our IT experts.
We promise an entirely independent assessment of your current IT needs. And no sales pressure during the process.