Wow! Just when I thought I'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 - their backup that was missing key, critical information let alone not running consistently? The Anti-virus was old, missing, or different across their workstations. And their firewall had all sorts of open ports! Unfortunately, this seems to be par for the course out there.
Because IT is such a "black box", people think that "working" is fine. Or "good enough" is good enough. Everything's working, right? So what's the problem? Unfortunately, good enough ends up as a HUGE, painful event causing a re-evaluation of their approach to technology. What we preach is "good enough isn't."
Again, because IT is a black box most people think because things appear to be "working", everything's fine. When, behind the scenes, things are really a scary mess. The analogy I use most often is this: your technology is like an airplane. You're sitting on the runway and the engines are running, so everything appears fine and you're good to go. However, knowing what we know - this is never the case. And too often, there's no way I'd go up in your airplane.
To continue the analogy, failure in a car is not that big a deal (as long as it's not the brakes). If you run out of gas in a car or get a flat tire, no big deal. Just pull over to the side of the road. Maybe a bit inconvenient, but not an existential threat. However, if anything like this happens in a plane, you better have a parachute because there's no pulling over in midair. And this is why "good enough" isn't when it comes to your IT.
Technology is literally one of the few aspects of a business that runs across all departments. When done well, the business not only succeeds but thrives. When done poorly, the business struggles.
Over and over and over again, we see mediocre work. This is one of the reasons we feel our driving purpose is to lead the charge in "Redefining what it means to be an IT Service Provider." Just because someone's website portrays them as a "Managed Service Provider" or an "IT Service Provider" doesn't mean they really are. This is the unfortunate truth about our industry - there's no regulation; anyone with some technical knowledge and a good sales 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. Seriously. It's this 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. No integrated approach to cybersecurity. Certainly no proactive management and no maintenance updates in any way.
Unfortunately, because technology is this black box, too often simply "working" is the baseline for success. Anything above this seems to be over-spend when the opposite is actually true. The better your technology is run, the less it actually costs your business over time and the better your business performs. This has been proven over and over again.
Again, most companies who do what we do know how to talk the talk, but simply don't walk 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. We're providing mission critical service and support, let alone strategic guidance. On the one hand, it certainly fuels our growth. But, on the other, it actually makes things harder for us in too many ways because IT services have become 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.
For businesses who get it, it's a no brainer. They see the results.
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, can you say for sure that your technology is running the way it should be and propelling your business forward faster and better (and securely)? Do you have evidence to back this up? If not, it might be time to consider addressing this gap. I'd certainly recommend it before stepping onto that plane.
As we like to say, we deliver "IT The Way It's Supposed To Be!". And this is what our clients have come to expect.
What do you think? How do you view your technology? 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.