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The True Cost of IT Support

The True Cost of IT Support

First up, I need to apologise in advance to the many hardworking and professional IT Administrators who are keeping many Aussie Small to Medium Busineses running. This is not targeted at you!

Many SMEs rely on what I call “Accidental IT Administrators” to keep their systems afloat. We all know them - the keen hobbyists, the advanced Excel users, the Marketing girl who is a champion at running mail merges. Quite often, the responsibility has nothing to do with interest - it comes with the job. For some reason Accountants and Office Managers seemed to be automatically endowed with some of that mysterious “computer knowledge”!

It might be a broad generalisation, but in our experience these guys rarely have any meaningful skills, experience or knowledge. They're just a bit better than the rest of the team. They are also employed to do something else - so every time there's an IT issue they are distracted from the main role. It's a sad fact, but we often get calls from prospective clients after they have been off the air for three days while the CFO has been poking around trying to fix things. (No, we not sure why three days is the magic number either!) The tragedy is that generally we could have got them back up and running in minutes or hours if we'd been allowed first crack at the problem. Usually it takes us as long again to locate and undo the damage that dozens of “maybe I'll try that's” have inflicted on the system.

Let's analyse this. A total of six days of company downtime. If you have 20 staff on an average salary of $75k that's around $6,000 in costs. How much business did you lose during that time? How much credibility did you lose with your customers? There could be an revenue impact of around $60k if your company does $3 million annually. Our costs, depending on whether we only worked office hours or we put on a 24 hour tiger team could range anywhere from $4k through to a whopping $60k!

That's painful. And it might be an example of what happens when business owners don't understand the risks they are exposing themselves to.

So what's the alternative I hear you ask? There's two obvious ones employ a strong IT Administrator or engage an IT managed Services Provider to look after you. What you need is dependent on your requirements - how many systems and desktops you have, how much downtime you can afford, whether your hardware and software is up to date and so on. What we can say with some confidence is that a good quality systems Administrator will cost more than $100k per year. You'll need to have enough work to keep him or her busy and mentally engaged otherwise they'll seek career fulfilment and development elsewhere. You'll need to work out how you'll cover for leave and other absences.

Alternatively, engaging a good managed service provider could be a strong option. Depending on your size and needs it might be cheaper - but you'll get access to broader and deeper specialist skills. Response times will be subject to formal service level agreements. Your “IT Team” can be available to you 24x7x365 if that's what you need.

And either way, your CFO will be able to focus on his proper job for five days of every week!

Why not give us a call on 1300 22 48 48 (or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) to discuss your IT issues. Quite often five minutes of advice can prevent a lot of heartache later.

If you'd like to talk about your IT Adminstration strategy please call us on 1300 22 48 48 (or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). We'll be more than happy to help you work through the issues confidentially and with no obligation.

And if you want to get a feel for the way that we may be able to help you directly please jump across to our tech support page.

 
The Accidental IT Administrator

Ever built a house without a tradie?

I don't know about you, but when I watch a good tradesman it looks easy. Surely I could build that frame, tile that floor or pitch that roof? In fact, I probably could - if I had 10 or 20 times as much time to spare and I was willing to compromise on quality!

But when it comes to our business - managing and supporting corporate grade information technology - it's amazing to see how many “weekend warriors” create issues and problems that end up in our lap. I think the trouble is that most of us have PCs and wireless networks at home - which makes us all experts!

 

The reality is often different and can be expensively so.

 

As far as I'm concerned, IT is one place where a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous. Arm a CFO or Office Manager with a systems administration password and access to Google and problems won't be too far away.

Ask yourself what would happen if your team couldn't work for an hour, a day or a week because your “accidental” systems manager made an inadvertent mistake? And what if your IT provider had to spend a heap of time finding the small fault because your guy didn't even realise that he'd created a problem somewhere downstream?

Yes…. This is a bit of a plug for our Managed IT Services practice, but more importantly I want to raise the profile of the risks that many small to medium businesses are exposing themselves to.

Why not give us a call on 1300 22 48 48 (or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) to discuss your IT issues. Quite often five minutes of advice can prevent a lot of heartache later.

Thanks for reading this far - next time I'm going to take a look at the true cost of IT support.

 
3 Biggest IT Trends of 2013

There’s never a month, let alone a year, without changes in the IT industry. So what should you expect from 2013?

More Phones!!!
Yes- that’s right! Sometime in the next year, smart phones will overtake PCs as the number one way of connecting to the internet. So you are probably wondering, what does this mean for my business? It mean employees will increasingly use tablets and phones to complete work tasks. As this process is becoming more popular, the lines can sometimes be blurred, therefore, IT managers should ensure they have made sufficient preparations and put policies in place to be ready for these changes meaning the business impact is minimal. 
Standardised software won’t be as easy to enforce in the next twelve months, since competition between the three major mobile operating systems is fierce, and neither Apple, Google or Microsoft look like adopting their competitors’ OS or products. The engagement of mobile devices into corporate life will be accelerated by web-based apps that allow users to work from anywhere and store their data on the cloud.
IT departments should be ready to begin supporting multiple operating systems and be formulating sensible and secure policies around practices that businesses and staff will inevitably require to deal with the shift in technologies and processes.


Cloud Storage
Storing your information on remote servers and accessing it either through the internet or private networks is nothing new. But 2013 might be the year you decommission the server and make the move to cloud. It makes sense to outsource at least some of your storage needs to the cloud as the need in businesses for more storage increases and budgets get tighter.
In order to deliver these cloud based solutions, businesses and IT departments will need to enlist the help of a suitable managed IT service provider. Every business has differing needs with the cloud, some have non-sensitive data that can be stored publically whilst others may need a stable, private network to fulfill their objectives. 

A managed service provider will help a business to assess their own needs, and determine how best to use a combination of public and private cloud services as an extension of their own IT department. With managed services, a company can select the pressure points that need additional skills and support, the level of assistance they receive, the manner in which this assistance is delivered (be it helpdesk, remote or on-site) and a choice of payment methods to best suit the company.
Additionally, managed services offers a proactive approach to IT through live system monitoring which allows the service provider to identify any potential problems which may arise, and remedy them through maintenance before they become an issue and have an impact on the business. This eradicates system downtime, and the costs and demands on resources are decreased.


Big Data
The next year will see a shift in the way organisations and their IT departments think about and deal with data. The focus will shift from data for individual projects to questions of the overall shape, type and amount of a company’s data, and how it can be arranged, analysed and stored to best serve their business.

 

 
An Introduction To Cloud Computing

By Dwi Oetomo

Today the business world is very different to what it used to be. Size isn’t everything when it comes to economies of scale. Today, network solutions that are available to the largest companies on earth are now available to everyone through the cloud.
The best parts about small-medium business IT outsourcing is that the smallest businesses can take advantage of capabilities that large businesses dominated for a long time.

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Defining An IT Strategy

WHY DEFINE AN IT STRATEGY? Many small to medium size organisations often don’t see the need for a well balanced, practical IT strategy until it is too late. This often results in expensive system replacements that could be minimised over time through an effective IT Strategy.

Read more...