Wow! Just when we thought we'd seen it all, along comes another potential new client who had no idea how bad their technology was running. While I may be dating myself by saying it this way but, I feel like a broken record. Every time we take on a new client, it seems like the same old same old. To be sure, the most recent story is about a business who had some sort of "inkling" something wasn't right because they called us in proactively to give their network a once-over.
However, what we found (yet again) continues to amaze (and frustrate) me. Ultimately, we're righting the ship. But can you imagine - no backup for months? Anti-virus was different on different machines (let alone missing all together on some). And their firewall had all sorts of open ports!
Because IT is such a "black box" to most people, people keep "getting away" with this. And when I say "getting away", I mean it. Not only are they charging fees for doing mediocre work, they're instilling a false sense of security until it's too late.
I really feel for this client because they're really good people. They, like many of the new clients we're picking up these days, just don't know any different. It seems like they don't know that they can and should really expect more from their IT guys.
It's sad. Over and over and over again, we keep seeing such mediocre work. Just because someone's website portrays them as a "Managed Service Provider" or an "IT Service Provider" doesn't mean they are. This is the unfortunate truth about our industry - there's no regulation; so, anyone with any sort of technical knowledge and a good pitch can setup shop. I've seen way too many "IT guys" or even companies who call themselves this who don't do anything to earn the right of working in our industry other than they happen to do IT. Seriously. It's that bad.
And then as far as proactiveness goes, rarely is there anything meeting any sort of standard. No monitoring. No alerting. No patching. No documentation. No vendor management. No strategy. No planning. Certainly no proactive management and no maintenance updates in any way.
It seems that most of the companies in our arena know how to talk the talk, but are incapable of walking the walk. Because of their lack of process, procedures, and systems, they're still stuck with the mindset that fixing things is good enough, rather than preventing them from happening in the first place! And while nobody can blame them, too many businesses have come to accept this level of mediocrity when it comes to their technology - "It seems to be working, so what's the problem?"
While on the surface it may seem good for us (helping to acquire new clients), I believe in the long run it's actually bad for the industry as a whole. On the one hand, it certainly fuels our growth. But, on the other, it actually makes things harder for us in many ways because IT services have become so devalued in the eyes of too many business owners (because of this level of mediocrity). Between this and the consumerization of IT, it's an uphill battle every day for firms who provide IT services correctly and at the level it should be run at (and, of course, with the related cost structure).
For businesses who get it, it's a no brainer. FPA and firms like us provides the capabilities, experience, systems, processes, and methodologies that ensure we're meeting the highest level of quality and service. While we're certainly cost effective for the value we provide, at the core - we don't cut corners on how we do what we do - ensuring that our clients are well taken care of. And for some, it may appear that this approach "costs" more.
Sometimes it takes a little coaxing to get new prospects to really understand the approach. But, most ultimately see the light. From our Helpdesk and NOC services to our technology management and planning to implementing virtualized servers and desktops to hosted (ie: cloud) solutions to recommending ways to reduce internet costs, it's all about the client and ensuring that their technology (and ultimately their business) is optimized and protected.
So, if you're not an FPA client yet, can you say for sure that your IT is running the way it should be? Do you have evidence to back this up? If not, it might be time to consider calling in a true professional. As we like to say, we deliver "IT The Way It's Supposed To Be!". This is what FPA is all about.
What do you think? Have you run across this before? Are you in a similar situation? Let us know your thoughts or experiences in the Comment box below or shoot me an email if you’d like to chat about this in more detail.