Do you know without doubt that your business is secure? Is your technology running at optimum efficiency? Does IT stimulate growth or is it just an overhead? Let us help you benchmark your technology against how it should be performing.

Technology… You don’t care how it works or get excited about the latest software releases, all you want is a reliable system that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg or distract you from focusing on your key business priorities. By the end of this 2-minute read, you will come away with an idea of how your technology performs, how much it is contributing to your success, how it is protecting your interests and reputation and how to keep costs under control, compared to what is possible.

To outsource, or not to outsource?
Employing a member of staff on the payroll is a costly commitment. If they are qualified to the standard required to manage the many complexities of even an average business, you are looking at an annual salary of £30k+. As a general guideline, businesses with less than 100 PC’s would likely not benefit at all from a full-time internal IT staff and would save tens of thousands by outsourcing to a local IT firm.

Our IT “expert” says… we’re good
You have your internal or external IT person who knows more about technology than you, so immediately they’re an expert right? You ask them if your IT is good, secure, reliable and of course they tell you “Yes, everything is great”, is it? Are you willing to entrust your entire business, your security, your data, your brand to one individuals opinion that your IT is robust. We recommend you always get a second opinion from an unbiased external agency.

Embrace the cloud
Hardware costs for on-premises servers can mount up considerably, and with cloud solutions offering the same level of security and more, moving to a solution such as Office 365 can save huge hardware cap-ex costs and provide all of your email and Office solutions, including innovative collaborative tools to improve your efficiency for a very low monthly subscription cost. Companies like Microsoft and Google are piling all of their innovation budgets into cloud solutions, so it’s time to stop resisting and embrace the cloud.

Stop firefighting, right now!
This is a very important point and is one of the easiest to demonstrate whether your IT is good or bad. Do you find yourself, your IT personnel, or your IT company fixing problems on a regular basis? Does the internet drop out? Or the printer stops working? Or your PC runs so incredibly slow you just want to throw it out the window? That is NOT how your IT should be running. It should be effortless, not even a concern in the back of your mind. Efficient IT, implemented correctly will not cause you problems, but empower you and the people in your business to do what they need to do. If this is an issue, you need to reach out for an external opinion from an impartial IT advisor immediately.

Keeping you in the loop
Like we already said, you probably don’t care about the technicalities behind your IT, but it is very important that you are always in the loop as a business owner about how your IT is performing, and how it can be improved. That doesn’t always mean buy this and buy that (more expensive costs), but rather a sit down with your IT provider over a coffee once every quarter to hear The sales department have been complaining a lot about collaborating over email and messages being missed. Did you know that there is a central collaboration tool included free as part of your Office 365 package which we could set up for you, cure their concerns, improve their efficiency, and help drive more sales?. If you are not getting feedback like this on a regular basis, then you have yourself an IT provider who is happy taking a monthly fee to keep you running, not one that is focused on delivering you value and business growth. An IT provider adds value by improving business performance through innovation not by constantly fixing issues that should be preventable.

Hitting deadlines
Do you tire of waiting around for action when you need a piece of hardware setting up for a new starter. Does it seem that any problems that do arise takes days to even get a response, let alone a fix. With a professional IT support provider, you should be given a service agreement for these types of issues. A contractual obligation, usually backed financially that states how quickly these requests should be dealt with. If you are kept waiting, then you are not only paying for the fix but also for your staff that are not being productive. You may be also diminishing your service by keeping your own customers waiting.

Holistic management
How much time do you spend being the bridge between your CCTV company or telephony company and your IT department. Do you need to step in when one software supplier blames another for incompatibility? Ultimately, with correctly managed IT, this shouldn’t be your concern and should be handled with minimal input from yourself. IT managers and external vendors should be managing the system holistically and be a central point of responsibility for all of your integrated technologies.

Security
We are sure that you don’t need any reminders about the potential risks from the exponential growth in cybercrime, and it goes without saying that protecting your systems, data, money and reputation with adequate security hardware and software is a must. Considering how vitally important this issue is, when did you last do a real risk assessment of where you stand? Most only find out the real situation when it’s too late! Your IT provider should be constantly monitoring and updating you on risk management and most importantly by educating your staff as they are the true weak link that cyber criminals seek to exploit.

In conclusion
Now you have a basic overview of things to consider when deciding if your IT is in optimal condition and if you are getting the most from it. If you had to think about any one of those points or perhaps can’t answer them, then that may be an indicator that it’s a time for a review. A professional IT outsourcing provider should be able to provide you with an unbiased, evidence-based appraisal of where you stand. If it turns out you are optimised in all areas, that’s great to know, right? But if you can get more value, improve performance, reduce risk, make your team happier and reduce cost, then who would not want to know that?

It costs nothing to find out and all you are giving is a little of your time, so there is absolutely nothing to lose. It would seem like a no-brainer, but professional IT providers spend considerable amounts of their time engaging new clients with existing problems that are already having a negative impact on their business or reverse engineering poorly put together systems. We would advise that you don’t let that be you.

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