Have you seen AT&T’s “Just Okay” commercials? They’re hilarious. The premise is that some things are too important to accept less than the very best. You wouldn’t want an okay babysitter for your kids or a just okay surgeon when you’re about to go into the operating room. Whether you’ve got an internal IT team, managed IT services, or break/fix support, your business’ technology support is one of those areas where you can’t accept just okay.
We call it the “Good Enough” or “It’s fine” syndrome, and it scares us. Technology permeates almost every process, procedure, and system within a business. Maintaining and supporting that technology is not an area where you want to dial it in or set it on autopilot. Good enough support can cost a business money and valuable time.
I liken this to the cars we drive. Do you drive a “good enough” car?
- One that starts up with the key is turned, or the button is pushed?
- One that changes course when you turn the wheel?
- One with working brakes?
The answer to that should be YES! That’s baseline expectations. That’s the definition of a car. But is that all you drive? Do you also drive a car that:
- Gets good gas mileage?
- Has airbags, seatbelts, and/or all-wheel drive for safety?
- Includes some perks like navigation, Bluetooth, or even heated seats?
Many of the companies we first meet with say their IT is fine. Or good enough. My response is, “Awesome—what makes you say that?” Some of the common things they tell us about Good Enough IT include:
- They show up when we call them.
- They are always here.
- We don’t go down that much.
- They give us good guidance when we ask for it.
That’s all well and good, but again… it’s baseline. It’s the “me too” that all technical support provides. But doesn’t your business deserve more than that?
Beyond Good Enough
Technology should do more than support business operations. That’s the starting point – it’s a given. In today’s business world, technology needs to and can do so much more to help a business realize successful outcomes. Technology enables new opportunities and helps businesses transform to stay competitive and reach their goals.
To do that, your IT support must keep pace. We encourage businesses to expect more from their team or service provider. Don’t get caught up in buzzwords. Of course, your managed IT support is “proactive”… that’s why it’s managed. And your virtual CIO will provide “strategic” direction. Get specific to really gain an understanding of where you stand and where you want technology to take your business.
Great IT support should do more than the basics. It should also help you
- Reduce technical issues for your team (not just respond once it happens)
- Create processes to improve efficiency
- Train your people to be cyber savvy and reduce your risk of falling prey to a phishing attack
- Protect your business from cyber threats
- Ensure that your technical actions are in line with your business goals
The two main pieces that differentiate good enough from great IT support is visibility and alignment.
Visibility - How do you know IT is working?
I’m a big believer in data and metrics. It may take some time to gather the right information, but it will provide you with powerful insight and understanding. Like any other part of your business, IT should be measured and analyzed to make sure it’s working for you.
Some of the questions you should ask are:
- How many technical problems do your employees report each month?
- How much time is spent addressing technical issues each month?
- What are the biggest sources of technical problems for your business?
- How many employees were adversely impacted by technical problems last month?
- How many cyber attacks did IT thwart last month?
By tracking and reviewing this data, you gain an understanding of how efficient your IT support is, what issues are trending, and its impact on your people and business. You can then make a plan to improve those numbers through employee training, new processes, or, if warranted, new technology.
Alignment - How do you know IT is working on the right stuff?
Proper alignment helps you ensure that you’re driving in the right direction. Technology is complex and vast. There’s bells, whistles, and lots of shiny things to distract you. The technology, systems, and processes you implement should contribute to your business’ goals and objectives. Understand the “why” of the technology you implement and what you use.
- Do you have a strategic technology plan? How often is it updated?
- Do you understand the business impact of your technology projects?
- Do you have an up-to-date written information security policy?
- Are you protecting your data from your biggest risk - your people - with training and testing?
By incorporating more visibility and focused alignment, you can move your good enough IT to great IT support.
It’s true that perfection is not always attainable or needed. Not everything has to be the best. It may be vanilla, but it’s still ice cream; and not every degree requires an Ivy League education. But anyone who’s ever bitten into the pinky cream chocolate in a box of Russel Stover’s knows that “good enough” chocolates aren’t always acceptable, or edible. Likewise, when it comes to your business’ technology systems and support, good enough just isn’t good enough.
For more information on the benefits and drawbacks of different types of IT support, read our Managed IT Services Handbook.