July 29, 2015

How We Improve Using Metrics Part II

Criteria to Consider When Changing I.T. Vendors

For the past 12+ years Digux has met with numerous business owners to try and help educate them about the different choices they have when buying I.T. support. Within this article we are hoping to teach those who are considering a change and or perhaps help someone who is in the process of meeting with us and trying to decide which direction to go to give them the ability to make a sound decision. None the less, whatever situation you are in, the buying process definitely gives a person a lot to think about so our goal is to help readers see the ‘forest for the trees’ per say and make it simple to understand because really at the end of the day most business owner’s just want to enjoy their business, make more money, be successful, and spend more time doing the things they love. Before we jump into the meat of things we want to share a few observations our company has made over the years to set the stage a little better during the buying process. On one side of the spectrum we have observed some business owners complicate the buying process and end up wrapping themselves around the axel so tight they paralyze their decision leaving them with no option except to stay with the same results and suffer. Whereas on the other end of the spectrum very intelligent CEO’s purchase the right kind of I.T. support because they understand the value in properly functioning technology and the correlation between this and how it drives better profit margins, more productive employees, and an overall better work culture. The point we are trying to make is: It’s really not that complicated to buy I.T. support when you paint the picture in broad strokes. You may have easier things on your to-do list but this is one that should not be overlooked. Below, we have broken down a few things to consider when changing I.T. vendors:
  • Some of the most successful companies ever built in the world for example General Electric, IBM, Nordstrom, Ford, Boeing, Johnson & Johnson all have several key similarities. It’s not that they all outperformed their competition, they simply great people and cultivated world class best practices & processes. If you hear an I.T. support company talking about best practices & processes then make sure to dive deep and learn what those mean.  This is what differentiates one I.T. company from another and is the main reason why you should buy from them.
  • Make sure to spend some extra time explaining what your business does, why you are successful, what your goals are, why people or businesses buy your products or services. Not only are you trying to buy I.T. support, but your potential new I.T. vendor is interviewing you as well. Remember, one of your core business decisions may be to consistently improve your I.T. over a long term relationship. These conversations are important as they forge the beginning to great relationships.
  • If you have major problems now, take a moment and think about why these problems exist? You may come up with a giant list and be surprised and think they are all good problems to talk about. They could be anything from the backup never working, the Internet going down all the time, the server is being rebooted once per day. We have heard all the reasons. The thing is: All of your reasons are not the reason you should switch. We call these tip of the iceberg problems because the main source of the problem in this analogy is under the water where the main part of the iceberg lives. What we are saying is: The issue is not the issue. The issue is a result of the issue. The existing I.T. support vendor does not have the correct best practices and processes to solve your problems or is not willing to continuously try to improve and create them.
  • When you think about the money aspect of the I.T. plan do you tell yourself you are spending too much? Well, the problem with I.T. support is you are probably not spending enough. Technology is brutally demanding and requires constant attention that is constantly evolving. If the managed service provider you meet with quotes you for double of what you are currently spending at the moment, then most likely you are under investing in your I.T. support by half. In other words, managed service companies have extremely organized operations and cannot charge companies any less to give them the end result they need. They are already saving you money by outsourcing rather than hiring an employee. So take that amount we talked about above (Remember, you are investing less than half) and multiply it by the amount of months/years you have been running your business. If that number is high which it most likely will be, then this is probably how much risk you currently have in your business that you didn’t know about. When companies tell us they are spending less than half of what we would charge, we raise an eyebrow and immediately know there is some serious problems to be done dealt with to get them up-and-running aligned with our company way.
  • If you think your existing I.T. vendor has the keys to the castle in regards to having all the passwords and knowing all the systems, you don’t have to believe this anymore. They don’t and moving in another direction is not that complicated. In the long run, it will be less expensive to change even if you’re spending more on the new I.T. support plan. Why not achieve better end results? There is that old saying “Fire fast, hire slow”. We all have let that one person go and a week later we were so much happier with the replacement. The process is not that painful. We have a great way to securely manage passwords and centrally manage all processes and best practices for your company that we share with approved end users.
  • Run your P/L report and add up your payroll for the month. If you want to really understand costs then add up all your fixed and variable expenses too. Compare this to the amount you pay to your I.T. vendor. Now with some quick math you can see how much it costs to have inefficient employees when a system is down for an hour. Typically, the I.T. support is a very small percentage vs. the payroll. However, I.T. has a large impact on employee productivity so it makes sense to invest in this area rather than let it suffer. For example, if you pay an I.T. guy by the hour to service your business and all he does is projects and reacts to problems, then you’re probably losing fists full of money. Essentially, every time you pick up the phone to call your I.T. support, not only are you paying for payroll but you are also paying for I.T. support with no work product being completed which is a double whammy. We call this the reactive cycle of death.
  • When going through the process of buying I.T. support, make sure all the decision makers get involved and go to all the meetings. Even if members of the company have nothing to do with I.T., they will understand the value and it will make the process go smoothly which will ultimately help the company get things under control faster. Plus when decisions are made together they usually turn out much better.
When interviewing, learn the I.T. support company's business planning process. This will tell you a lot about how they accomplish their own goals and get a sense of their culture and how fast things will change. Remember, this is technology so they should be versed in how to plan and deal with this question. This topic is so complex we could have gone on for pages and pages about some of the thought processes when buying I.T. Support. So to be respectful of your time, we picked the top 8 to make it simple.

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