A single IT disaster can set your company back months. And that’s to say nothing of what it can do to your budget.
Your staff is trying to put out fires and pick up the pieces, but they keep getting more added to their plates. Customers are left waiting—or they simply leave. Your reputation takes heavy hits and it’s hard to get even the most basic tasks done.
Granted, that scenario is a rough way to start a post. Here you were expecting a nice, easy read and we’ve started with a vivid picture of a business owner’s worst nightmare.
And yet, that very kind of scenario more common than you’d think, especially for companies that take a reactive approach to IT management.
Why reactive doesn’t work
The problem is right there in the name: “reactive.”
If you don’t do anything to address a problem until the problem actually affects productivity, guess what? You’ll experience a period of lower productivity. And since typical IT project often exceeds the original budget by 45 percent, fixing an existing problem can end up being both inconvenient and expensive.
Proactive IT support, on the other hand, makes it possible to stay ahead of problems. You don’t lose productivity. Your reputation is safe. Employee morale doesn’t take a hit. And it’s (much) nicer on your budget.
You’re sold, right? Good. Let’s take a closer look at what proactive IT support entails.
Advantages of proactive IT support
Proactive IT support offers a few distinct benefits that make a significant difference for operations. Here are the areas where you’ll see the biggest boost.
Unscheduled downtime can throw everyone at your company off track. Customers can’t make purchases, phone lines go down, the network is inaccessible, and resources get locked up due to unresponsive machines. 24/7 monitoring alerts your team the minute something goes down so you can start working on a fix immediately.
Proactive updates and patches
Many cyberattacks rely on unpatched hardware and software. A proactive update schedule limits opportunities for hackers. The latest patch may also add new features or otherwise improve performance. Proactive upgrades are especially important for maintaining older technology that may be more susceptible to attack.
Future tech planning
Do you know the best areas to direct your IT spending? Adding new solutions piece by piece without a plan results in a bloated infrastructure that is rarely the best option. A proactive strategy allows you to adapt to a changing business environment and meet future challenges.
Is your company as productive and efficient as it should be? A strategic analysis allows you to identify problem areas that act as bottlenecks to optimal performance. Sometimes, broken software or hardware is the cause of the issue, while other scenarios require policy changes.
Implementing proactive IT support in your organization
Switching from reactive to proactive IT support doesn’t happen overnight.
The first step in this process is ensuring that your IT team has enough resources to handle the change. For many SMBs, this is can create a personnel issue. What if your in-house IT support (assuming you have in-house support) is already busy handling all the other technology-related concerns in the organization?
All that time spent handling low-level support tickets, provisioning and other basic tasks really adds up. You need to find a way to take that work off their plates so they can focus on proactive measures. Automation can help in some cases. For example, there are automated tools for basic things, like creating new employee accounts with appropriate permissions for their role.
But the best solution is a partnership with a managed IT services provider (or MSP). This is doubly true if you don’t have in-house IT support.
An MSP can take on all those support tickets and basic help desk calls, freeing your internal staff to get more strategic with proactive planning and revenue-generating projects. And a good MSP will even be able to assist with (or become an outsourced option) for projects and proactive care if you don’t have any internal staff.
A practical example
Imagine a situation where you need to put your disaster recovery plan into action. Outsourced IT specialists can really help improve your reaction time, even working with your on-site staff to get things back to normal.
And in those kinds of critical situations, response time matters.
Proactive IT support empowers your business to do more with your technology. You can get more out of your existing systems, bring in new solutions in a planned fashion, and create a long-term plan for business growth.
We highly recommend proactive IT support . . . and a partnership with a managed service provider isn’t a bad idea, either.