Commonly perceived as a smart & convenient, pay-as-you-go, IT management model, many people underestimate the limitations of Casual IT Support and overlook the true costs it can have on their businesses.
While there is no denying that Casual IT Support can play a good role in helping some businesses (predominately: micro-businesses or start-ups, that are less than 2 years old, rely on consumer driven transactions, have less than 3 staff and have easy to generate/replicate business data), its limitations can expose many other businesses to unnecessary risks or complications.
If you are considering Casual IT Support as an option for managing IT issues, you should consider, the following, not so obvious, limitations.
Casual IT Support is typically offered by independent contractors, sole traders, or small businesses of less than 2-3 people. In such situations, workloads, leave or illness, can easily affect the availability of support personnel when you need them, and lessen the overall reliability of a chosen provider. Constantly changing from one provider to the next to overcome such problems is never ideal.
Limited Knowledge & Expertise
While there are some shrewd operators out there; the fact that Casual IT Support lends itself to smaller businesses with limited staff or casual contractors, means that in serious situations the pool of knowledge or experience is smaller, and the ability to escalate matters is lower – potentially leading to a brick-wall situation when a major issue arises. This in turn means problems will take longer to investigate and longer to fix. They may also require third party resolution, which results in additional layers of complication and cost.
Limited Supporting Technology
As a cost-sensitive IT support model, Casual IT Support is rarely ever backed by complementary technology. Casual IT Support providers are not inclined to adopt expensive technologies such as IT monitoring and IT ticketing software. As a result IT support is purely reactionary, rarely proactive, and highly inconsistent. This can create an unstable IT environment characterised by uncertainty and unpredictability.
Limited Visibility of Issues
Under a break/fix, react/respond mode of operation, every IT issue tends to arise without anticipation. More often than not, little documentation is recorded before or after a resolution. A business with regular or recurring IT issues may hence be unable to determine the nature of IT issues, their origins, their remedies and the degree or duration of impact. Amount of downtime, number of staff affected and overall business disruption is left unclear. This limitation is in part amplified by the absence of supporting technology, such as an adequate IT issues ticketing system. When the time comes to re-evaluate IT systems and management models, limited access to reports or statistics, and a limited understanding of network configurations and credentials, will not help with decision-making.
Limited Services Features and Standards
Under Casual IT Support an IT service provider is not obliged to support you in your time of need. A Casual IT Support provider generally does not have to respond or resolve your IT issues within any predefined timeframes. A provider does not do any additional tasks to ensure you are protected from any further failures or disruptions. They can choose to delay or ignore your problem if a better project comes along. They do not have to monitor, maintain or manage IT systems, hardware or software. Also, they do not have to ensure ongoing support, periodic upgrades and patching. They take no responsibility for IT as a whole system, instead focusing on select issues after they arise. As a result many critical IT functions may be neglected and the early detection of IT problems becomes almost impossible.
Limited Incentive or Motivation
A casual IT support provider makes its money only when it responds to an IT issue raised by a customer. The more issues raised, the more money made. And while there are plenty of honest people out there, the real problem with casual IT support is: there is no real incentive for the provider to look beyond the issue raised and solve problems from a root-cause perspective. Casual IT Support providers may address a lot of different little IT symptoms noticed by their customers, but with blinders on, may miss the essence of where the problem begins. Recurring problems, handled casually, equals more regular business disruptions and repeated loss-of-productivity costs.
Limited Advice & Accountability
The IT advice given to a casual customer is likely to be swayed by a Casual IT Support providers’ limited technical capabilities, reactionary response and low-cost service model. Casual IT Support providers view their customers as ‘price sensitive’ and won’t always recommend the best long term IT solutions; especially when an easier to sell, quicker to perform, cheaper or more economical solution is available and can be implemented without the help of any specialist third parties. But when things don’t pan out, the excuse is: you only get what you pay for. This doesn’t help if you business loses its business data, cannot operate for days, or cannot find a solution to a problem that could have otherwise been prevented, repaired or mitigated.
Thankfully, there is an alternative to Casual IT Support; which, reduces network inefficiencies, cuts issue response times, assists with business continuity and perhaps most importantly; preserves your business reputation – it is called Managed IT Services.
Read more about that here, or contact us on: 1300 797 888.