What do IT support companies do, anyway?
As someone who has played a customer facing role at local IT support company here in Calgary since 2007, I’ve had my fair share of conversations with business owners about the best ways to handle the IT function of their businesses.
After all of these conversations, one thing I can safely say is that a lot of the people I talk with – whether they already work with some type of IT company or not – are usually totally unaware of what we as an IT support company actually do. If they’re not sure how we spend our time, they’re not sure about the value that we’re able to generate – and that’s exactly what I want to talk about today.
In this article, I want to explain everything that an IT support company does, from top to bottom. That way, you’re in a better position to decide whether or not working with one is the right decision for your business in the first place.
What IT Support Companies Do
IT support companies are responsible for a lot more than just running an occasional virus check or making sure that you’re always using the latest version of Microsoft Word. We assist with a wide range of different functions, all of which are critical and not all of which are obvious to the health and future success of your company.
Just a few of the common things that IT companies do includes but is certainly not limited to things like:
- Help Desk Support. If something “breaks,” you have someone who you can call to get back up and running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
- Hardware Acquisition and Setup. Instead of researching computers, servers and other pieces of hardware, you can let someone else do that on your behalf.
- Vendor Management. Instead of working with dozens of companies on all of your hardware and software needs, work with one – your IT company – who will manage everything on your behalf.
- Line of Business Software Management. These are the applications that are specific (and critical) to your core business – the ones you can’t live without. You can’t afford to have anything happen to them and with the right IT support company, you won’t have to worry about it again.
- Network Management or Cloud Integration. Do you want to enable your employees to work remotely? Do you want to overhaul your network or embrace the cloud in a way that significantly empowers productivity and collaboration? Your IT support provider can help.
- Cyber Security (Including Patches and Updates). Cyber crimes like ransomware are becoming more common (and costly) all the time. The chances are high that at some point in the future, you’re going to become the target of cyber criminals – you can’t change that. Your IT support company can help make sure you don’t become a victim.
- Backup and Disaster Recovery. Even if your entire network crashes and your most important client files are gone, your IT support company can create the infrastructure needed to allow you to pick right back up again without losing so much as a kilobyte of data.
Basically, a good IT support company gives you all of the benefits of having your very own IT department, without having to actually hire any employees to fill those roles. Because an IT support company can provide a full team of experts working for you in fractional roles, it can be a very cost effective solution as well.
Finally, IT support companies can take on the accountability in your business for managing and making IT strategic decisions. Having an experienced IT manager assigned from your IT support company on your side can allow you to rest easy, with the knowledge that your technology is exactly where you need it to be so that you and your people can get back to focusing on doing the work that is actually in your job description.
Who is an IT Support Company Right For?
Once you know the “what” of IT support companies, you can begin to focus on the “why” – namely, “why should I consider working with an IT support company at all?”
Generally speaking, these types of organizations are best suited for businesses where the current IT solution – be it a tech savvy employee or an “IT guy” that’s called on when needed – is causing a negative effect on your organization.
If you’re like most small business owners in particular, your descent into the world of technology probably started small. A new point of sale system here, an updated tool for file sharing there. Maybe you bought a laptop, and then you bought one for every employee, and now you’re facing a situation where if any one of those machines went down – or was configured improperly – your business would cease to function.
That point right there – the one where technology starts to feel more overwhelming than beneficial – is where IT support companies enter into the conversation.
If you tried to manage everything described above yourself, it would quickly turn into a full-time job – which is a problem, since you’ve already got one of those you should be focusing on. You would have to not only research and buy new hardware, but pay people to install it and train people to use it. You’d have to proactively keep it maintained and patched for security fixes and then, just a short time later, you’d have to start all over again once your current investments reach end of life.
A D-I-Y approach can work in some situations, but when it begins add unnecessary stress to your employees and your business, that’s when it’s time to re-think your options. Many of our clients have learned this lesson the hard way, when that tech savvy employee who has been doing all of the IT work in addition to their own responsibilities finally comes forward and laments the feeling that they’re “working day and night trying to do their own job along with running the company’s IT infrastructure.”
If you’re the owner of the business and you’re spending too much time on IT-related tasks, then the reality could be much worse, as you should really be spending your time on the tasks that are going to be driving your business forward.
It’s my belief that every company deserves to know the benefits of having their own IT department. But the truth is, most small and business are not at the point where they can afford to set up their own in-house infrastructure, and that’s where organizations like ours come in.
In the best case scenario, when you engage an IT support company, everything works flawlessly and you’d never even know they were there. In the worst case scenario, they’re the partner who is proud to stand by your side when you need them the most.
Either way, you win.
Now that you know exactly what an IT support company does, you’re in a better position to determine how (and why) you could integrate one into your own business. At Frontier Solutions, we’ve been helping businesses throughout Calgary make these types of decisions for 23 years, assisting them in leveraging the best that modern technology has to offer along the way. That’s precisely what we’d like to do for you, too, and we’d be honored to have the opportunity to do so.
When we made this shift in our thinking, in truth we only "tacked" about three degrees, but the results for our clients were massive. What is the three degree shift that your firm needs to take in your approach to IT in order to gain the type of leverage that can propel your business forward? That’s a conversation that I’d be happy to have with you – feel free to reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can schedule a getting-to-know-you phone call and start to figure that out.
Chantale Benoit is the CEO of Frontier Solutions, a Calgary IT support company that has been helping small businesses get the most from IT in a way that allows it to drive their business forward for the past 23 years. Learn more about Chantale and Frontier Solutions here.
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