COVID-19 has had an impact on businesses across the board – but the way that IT services providers have stepped up to help customer businesses during the crisis has varied widely.
So how do you know if your IT needs reviewing at this point?
We think there are 7 surefire signs as follows:
Reason to reassess 1 – Your IT response to COVID-19 has highlighted serious “holes” in current arrangements
The impact of COVID-19 has had a, more or less, consistent effect on businesses across the board – but the way that IT services providers have stepped up to help client businesses during the crisis has varied widely.
In fact, our own anecdotal research and discussions with prospective new customers points to the face that the way that IT services companies were able to respond effectively to the crisis was less than consistent.
Providers who had been proactive prior to COVID in terms of ensuring that their customers had the capability to quickly move businesses to remote operating models – through the use of remote team collaborations software, remote monitoring capability and even adequate disaster and recovery plans – and transition them quickly to remote working models that kept their businesses running effectively.
However, for a raft of other businesses the experience hasn’t been so good. And the pressures of COVID-19 have only served to highlighted flaws in existing IT arrangements that now need urgently addressed.
Including whether your current IT provider is really up to scratch.
Reason to reassess 2 – “Poor”. Or perhaps even “no” IT strategy
If you are thinking, “what’s an IT strategy” then this should already be a warning sign for you.
The very nature of modern business makes your IT a competitive weapon – and if you are not leveraging it to the full you can be sure that your competitors are. Or will be soon. Particularly in a post- COVID environment where remote working, customer support and product and service delivery are becoming the new norm.
Your customers are going to demand it. And they will be quick to jump ship if you can’t deliver effectively. So, if your current IT provider isn’t already talking to you about a forward plan and strategy for IT they should be.
One that aligns with your wider business goals to ensure that your IT supports your growth and development plans for the future.
Reason to reassess 3 – Increasing and unsustainable amounts of time spent on IT issues
At the most fundamental level IT is there to serve your business and not the other way around.
Technology should be an enabler for your business, not a roadblock. Whether you want to make your existing IT work harder, minimize IT downtime or define a migration path to the cloud. If you are increasingly frustrated with an ever increasing amount of time spent on costly and time-consuming IT issues – which includes everything from continually fixing recurring issues, supporting and working around legacy IT systems, to working across a raft of disjointed data silos – then there is every likelihood your IT set up isn’t fit for business purpose.
And if IT issues are beginning to get in the way of your more important work-related tasks you have probably hit a tipping point. Which is a big warning sign that it’s time to review your current IT support arrangements.
Reason to reassess 4 – Increasing employee – and customer – frustration with the impact of downtime
In previous times, IT downtime was an annoyance in your business. Something that you had almost come to expect due to the very nature of IT infrastructure and that your staff would grudgingly work around.
However, in a much more competitive business environment – and COVID-19 is serving to highlight this in across a raft of business sectors – it can also be a killer for your business. When your IT systems, computers, emails, servers, software and networks aren’t working properly your business will slow to a crawl. Which not only creates frustration and loss of productivity amongst your staff, it also means customers will quickly find alternatives to your products and services as your competitiveness is affected.
In short. Eliminating downtime for businesses these days simply isn’t optional. It can have severe financial consequences and you your IT support provider simply has to have a plan to mitigate against it.
Reason to reassess 5 – You are becoming more worried about IT security-related issues
One of the major impacts of COVID-19 has been how much more prevalent remote working has become for employees in general. As the situation has called for it.
On the positive side of things, the flexibility of Cloud-based apps like Microsoft Teams has enabled business to quickly allow employees remote access – across a range of devices including desktop, laptop, table and mobile. But the flip side of this is the trade-off in IT security.
And Cybersecurity incidents have become more and more common for small and medium-sized businesses, making it critical to know how to prepare and respond. Pre COVID -19 a study by the Better Business Bureau found that 23% of small businesses (≤ 250 employees) reported having been the target of a cyberattack, with nearly half of those occurring in the preceding 12 months. And COVID-19 has only accelerated this trend.
If your experience with your existing IT support provider has left you worrying more about the potential security threat from opening up your network than the business benefits of flexible working capability then maybe it is time to look around.
Reason to reassess 6 – The absence of a Business Continuity plan
If there is one thing that COVID-19 has highlighted, it’s the need to constantly be planning for any business eventuality. And the same applies to your IT strategy.
Leaving aside the immediate need to plan for additional Coronavirus “waves” and other potential future pandemics, your business can also potentially fall prey to a wide range of natural and man-made disasters. Ranging from cyber-attacks, to malicious data encryption, electrical storms or floods – or even employee inflicted disasters.
The actual source of the disaster itself very often can’t be predicted in advance. What does matter is that you have a plan in place to ensure your IT continuity in the face of the challenge. One that has you up and running again in a matter of hours – and keeps your business running throughout.
Business continuity is a key component of your overall business strategy. It is very often not pleasant to think about, but you are better off preparing proactively now, rather than scrambling to find a solution after it is too late. And if your current provider is talking to you about a solution – then maybe it is all too late.
Reason to reassess 7 – The realisation that the “new normal” post-COVID 19 calls for a completely new IT approach
If you have read points 1 to 6 above and your head has been consistently nodding as you worked through point by point, then there is every likelihood that the realization is dawning that you need another approach to your IT strategy and support.
If we can help, then please do not hesitate to contact us for a no-obligation assessment of what your business needs right now. Including a free network detective scan and independent report which you can keep regardless of whether you choose to proceed with us or not.