Is IT Support a Commodity Service ?

You might be surprised to learn that more often that you think I hear the phrase "Oh, what’s wrong today?" when sat at a clients office. Its usually said by someone walking past who doesn't know I'm there and who see's my presence as an indication there is a major problem. In their view why else would I be there ? But why should IT Support companies be seen by many either as 'the man in the van that turns up only in an emergency' or even the harbinger of doom about to rain down on their IT systems ?

Its the 21st century

A business PC purchased today will last for 3-4 years without needing any hardware attention at all. Most of the problems faced by people using a PC revolve around software and............ I'm sorry to say this .......... their own lack of understanding or training about the software or systems they are using. The number of times I have to look at a PC because its been infected with Spyware or Malware due to the users lack of safe internet browsing or the opening of a random attachment they received by email is far higher than the cases of a failed PC power supply or hard disk.

IT support contracts

The problem of this old fashioned view on IT support then extends to the person responsible for its purchase. They tend to see IT support as an insurance policy, or at worst a commodity they need to purchase at the lowest cost. Many businesses see IT as an annoying cost rather than the investment it should be, even though few can reconcile its importance to the pittance they wish to pay for it year on year. I think many people would like to see a 'comparetheitservices.com' website so that they can get the quickest response time for the lowest possible price; but that misses the point of what a trusted IT partner should be

For some reading this article I will never be able to change their view of IT, but I'd like to at least try and offer an alternative viewpoint.

The future of IT support

For me IT support is a 'Professional Service'. Its a service you would take very much like an Accountant, Solicitor; or an Architect if you were building a house. The service provided is both helpful, necessary and.......... this is the crucial bit............ it allows you to get the best possible advice to make what you are doing better, more effective or improving to your business. If you visit your Accountant annually for 'that chat' about the past financial year then they give advice about how to make your operations more tax efficient and they can help you to do things which will improve your business. Many businesses have a Solicitor they can use and who gets to know their operations and recommends how to be less open to legal issues and as a result you save yourself the problems that may come from out of date T&C's.

All of these services have an 'emergency element' in such that the Accountant helps out if you get a surprise VAT inspection, or the Solicitor is called if a letter arrives out of the blue taking you to court. The difference is that you don't ONLY see them as emergency service providers. They offer value to every facet of your business and all have the goal of making the end result better, more efficient, less costly or more productive. That's exactly what a trusted IT partner can do for you too.

What should it look like?

In the last few weeks I've visited a number of my clients and only 1 of them was for what many would consider 'traditional IT support' reasons. I've spent a lot of time assisting in the deployment of a new VoIP system for a client which offers them (for the first time) a phone for every user at a price they can easily afford. I've visited a client to help them swap out some old PC's which were slowing the Accounts team down and the new ones have transformed the way they work in terms of efficiency and speed. I've had a meeting with a client where we've looked at ways they can open a 3rd office in their company and how we can add that (with ease) into their IT systems, and I've had meetings with a client about Social Media, its benefits and some simple ways they could bring it into their marketing activities; You know what - that really excites me !

So I had better pose the original question............ Is IT Support a Commodity Service ? If you think it is and you buy it on the basis of 'cheapest' then perhaps Abussi is not the company for you; but if you are keen to work with a trusted IT partner then please get in touch

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