IT Support Providers – Profit Taker or Maker..?
“Increased productivity is the only bottom line contribution to your profitability your IT support provider can make…”
Most if not all owners of small and medium sized companies I speak to see their IT support provider as nothing more than a cost, a necessary evil, or a fact of today’s business life, constantly eating away at their profits.
Because they see them as a cost, they spend countless hours working out ways to reduce the use of their services, when in fact they themselves are the problem, because they have lost sight of the one reason they have IT support…
You have an IT support provider for one reason and one reason only – to keep your personnel and company productive.
Of the three factors that contribute to profitability:
Consistant or increased productivity is the only bottom line contribution to your profitability your IT support provider can make.
Forget about all the things they have to do to achieve this, that’s their concern, you want the sausage not the sizzle …their sole contribution to your profitability is continued productivity of your personnel.
Unfortunately many companies either fail to see or have lost sight of this, and actually engage their provider in a manner that almost guarantees they don’t make any contribution at all hence they are seen as only a cost!
There are two key factors to ensuring your IT provider can make a positive contribution to your productivity and ultimately profitability.
- How you pay for the services
- How accountable you make them
If you get these two correct you’re guaranteed of consistent or increased productivity, which equals profitability.
To get these two correct, there are three key area’s of your relationship with your provider you need to ensure are in place.
- Don’t pay for IT services based on time
Pre-paid blocks of hours, set weekly visits and the like are all just variations of Time and Materials. Don’t do it, negotiate a fixed fee for service based on unlimited support.
Being forced to control costs, by managing and authorising every engagement will be killing your personnel’s productivity.
Unlimited support means that you don’t have to be worried about who or how often you use their services. All your personnel are free to call as and when required, they don’t have to get authorisation, only the person with the requirement is affected.
I see examples of this almost daily, where a simple issue affecting one user, ends up requiring the time and management of someone completely unaffected. Two times the productivity loss.
It also means that your provider is empowered to do whatever is necessary, to ensure the systems are continually operational.
Remember, you have IT support for one reason only – to ensure continued productivity!
2. Don’t buy the dog and bark yourself
When you are negotiating your fixed monthly fee, make sure it includes unlimited Vendor Management. This means that your provider is responsible to manage issues or requirements with your other third party technology suppliers on your behalf. These include your Internet Service Provider, Telecommunications, Accounting and or CRM providers anyone that provides applications or services that run across the network.
If you are managing these providers yourself two things are certain
- In most if not all cases you will eventually end up having to involve your IT support provider anyway especially if it’s a fault as it will require technical expertise to rectify it.
- You will waste countless hours dealing with these providers on something you possibly don’t understand in the first place, and will end up back at point 1 anyway.
All of these vendors’ products traverse your network. You are paying your IT support provider to manage the network; therefore they are in the best position to manage all technical requirements or faults.
Remember your goal is productivity!
3. Tie your productivity to your IT support providers profitability
You’re paying your provider to keep your information technology operating, so your personnel stay productive and the company is more profitable.
Computers have issues, things stop working it’s a fact of life, that’s why IT services companies are in business. However you must ensure that when you have unexpected issues, it’s not a bonus to your provider because they get to charge you to fix it, they too must feel your pain.
It sounds harsh, but in reality your issues are their gain if you are paying on a time basis. However the pain is shared when issues affect both parties profitability. They must be motivated to be as dedicated to your productivity as you are.
This must also carry over to the management of your third party vendors, because it’s in this area that a lot of finger pointing and he said, she said arises. While all this is going on you will be losing productivity. So again, if your IT support provider is in the same position, they will be highly motivated to get to the bottom of the issue. Fast!
Finally always keep in mind the reason you have an IT support provider in the first place is to keep your company productive.
Everything required from your provider’s perspective to continually achieve your goal should for the most part be immaterial to you. So make certain you are engaging them correctly this will ensure that they aren’t profit takers, they are profit makers.
MSP Blueshift is IT Managed Service Provider; we understand that IT support and management is all about your productivity.
If you would like more information about our services, please do not hesitate to contact us on 1300 501 677 or email me directly [email protected]