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When Satisfactory IT Management Just Doesn’t Cut It – Q&A With Sam Card

Cards Technology

As seen in The Maryland Coast Dispatch

When it comes to your company's technology, what does satisfactory mean to you? Maybe you're not constantly fighting downtime, but when it happens, it takes a toll on productivity. Sam Card discusses the risks of not knowing when something will go wrong or what it will cost to fix it.

Q: How does a business owner recognize when "satisfactory IT management" isn't benefiting their organization anymore? 

Sam Card: There are some definite, measurable signs that you can look for when evaluating your IT partner. Inconsistent response times is an important one. Let’s say your network is down and you're not sure why, so you call your current IT provider for help. They prefer to come on-site to diagnose the problem. Sometimes that takes a few hours and other times a few days. There is no consistency of service and every minute of downtime is costing your company money.

Lack of software automation is another. Software is constantly changing. Updates, bug fixes and newer versions require time and expertise to navigate. Without standardized templates and scheduled installations, a large chunk of your budget could be spent on repetitive activities that could have been automated.

Q: Isn’t the break-fix route of IT services cheaper?

SC: It may seem so at first, however, there are risks of not knowing when something will go wrong or what it will cost to fix it. While hourly, ad hoc or as needed services may seem like the more affordable solution, the costs are open ended. This makes it practically impossible to stick to an IT budget and downright scary when the invoice arrives. Hourly billing also gives no incentive for a break-fix provider to find a permanent solution to an underlying problem.

Have you ever heard the phrase, prevention is better than treatment? That same advice applies to your IT environment. It's certainly important to fix what isn't working, but without proactive maintenance, you could incur the same issues over and over again.

Q: Can you give us an example of how a managed service model is a better fit for a small business?

SC: Recently, we were asked to assess the IT of a local construction company where the CFO manages their technology. When problems occurred, the CFO contacted their break fix provider. They were experiencing inconsistent response times that caused downtime and delays, and billing by the hour to fix their problems was costly. Software updates were also considered additional billable items and therefore there was no predictable budgeting.

The construction company moved over to our Cards Complete Managed IT Services package, where proactive monitoring was implemented and software templates were created for automation. With downtime practically eliminated, the CFO now focuses on managing the business finances instead of worrying about IT problems. The entire company saw a huge productivity increase.