Have you ever thought of your technology as an employee benefit?
What I mean by this is I see clients spending tens of thousands of dollars on technology infrastructure, software, systems, and recurring software license fees all the time. Yet when I talk to them about the need to proactively manage and maintain these very assets they've spent so much money on, they look at it me like I'm crazy. "Why do we have to pay anything at all to maintain them?" they ask. "I spent all this money on a new system. Nothing should go wrong. I'll just pay you when something breaks." We all know something will. It's just a matter of when and to what degree.
The reason I ask my initial question has as much to do with our approach (to managing IT) as it does to the view of IT that I see our most successful clients possess.
Rarely does a business owner think about IT in terms of what their employees think of their approach to IT. Think about it - every time something goes wrong with your employee's technology, it impacts their ability to do their jobs. What do you think is going through their minds when this happens? Knowing what I know about my staff, I have to tell you that they get frustrated and wonder what we (the business owner) is thinking when we haven't given them all the tools they need to do their jobs. Or they think we're not doing all that needs to be done to properly maintain their systems. They feel frustrated and hamstrung.
There are so many "hidden" costs when it comes to running a business. And one of the biggest is lost productivity due to inefficient systems and down-time. I seriously don't get how SO many business owners penny pinch when it comes to their technology. Do they treat their bodies this way? Do they even treat their cars this way? No way.
I posed this question to a recent client, "how do you value your employees?" When I asked this, they were perplexed by my question. I probed further and asked, "how valuable are they to you?" I asked, "what's it worth to keep them happy and productive?" Again, still perplexed. "Of course we want them to be productive and happy, but I can't really put a dollar amount on their value." (actually, you can - but I didn't go there). So, I simply asked, "Do you provide them health insurance?" "Of course I do", they responded. "I have to. Otherwise, I can't compete". The "aha" moment didn't fully come till I put it in terms of dollars and cents.
Where I was going with this is - it's ok in almost every business owner's eyes to "have to" spend $200 - $400 (or more) a month on health insurance per employee or some other employee benefit, but spending even 1/2 of this to make sure THE most important tool EVERY one of their employees uses EVERY day to ensure up-time and consistent productivity is too much to ask. Think about the bang for your buck if you publicized this to your staff. That is to say, you take their efforts so seriously and value their productivity so much that you're willing to spend what it takes to ensure their tools are "sharpened" and kept up to date. What a win this could be!
I've seen it over and over again with our most successful clients. This is a HUGE win. Literally a win-win. Personally, I don't see it any other way.
So, I have to ask - how much are you spending on health insurance for your staff? And then - how much is keeping their technology working worth to you? I think if you think about it in this context, it's a no brainer. Think about it.
Does your IT Service Provider approach things this way? Are they in alignment with your approach to doing business? Are they doing the best job possible for you? Or is something just not right? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments box below.