As technology is rapidly evolving, so are the many ways in which IT support can increase business productivity and growth.
Despite creating economic, health and workplace challenges, the pandemic has been a springboard for change in many areas of life and work.
Millions of people adapted to agile working, with the first national lockdown forcing the hand of many to do something they may have first thought as scary, challenging and unachievable.
The same could be said of IT support. Many businesses are ‘comfortable’ with the way they have always done things. But as the working landscaped has changed, most probably irreversibly, so have some of the ways IT support is delivered.
Think of the way your business now operates; perhaps you have staff working from home, attending virtual meetings and communicating via a new-style telephone system.
Is an on-site server still relevant to your business in 2022? Not only is it likely to be expensive to run (whether in terms of technology upgrades or manpower) but it could present data security risks.
A 2021 report from market analysts Gartner revealed that worldwide spending on security and risk management technology was due to almost double last year to 12.4 per cent (from 6.4 per cent in 2020) – fuelled by two key drivers; working from home technology and cloud security.
With up-to-date applications, instant access to your data and local 24-hour support from anywhere, on any device, cloud technology is the definition of the modern office; tailored to a business’ individual needs.
Having a technical support team at the end of a phone can help businesses solve their commercial problems quickly, safely, securely and efficiency. Read our blog on the range of IT services we offer to find out how Boldfield can assist you and your business.
Why and how has business IT support changed
Modern IT support is about much more than calling out an engineer or logging a ticket. It’s about trust, understanding, collaboration and care.
We have come a long way since the birth of IT services back in the 1980s, where consoles and computers were supersized, and many IT companies provided a ‘break/fix’ service.
As explored in this TechTarget article, break/fix is a method of resolving IT issues only when support is required. Break/fix usually works on a time-and-materials basis where the contractor charges an hourly rate plus the cost of parts.
But as workplaces began using more technology to help them work faster, companies needed multiple IT specialists to fix a range of issues.
As offices grew more reliant on evolving technology, computer networking arrived – offering increased ways of connecting systems to ‘talk; to each other, increasing the need for more specialist technicians to fix issues with everything from photo copiers, computers, account systems and telephones.
Fast forward to the mid-1990s when computer operating systems Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X dominated the market and offices needed fewer specialists.
Throughout the Nineties and early 2000s, IT firms moved to a model referred to as ‘managed services’, a comprehensive, holistic approach to advising on, deploying, and servicing business technology.
What are the consequences of not embracing modern IT support?
With ever-evolving technology, office culture having undergone an irreversible change and some businesses still on the economic road to recovery following the pandemic, it could be argued that companies cannot afford to ignore the many benefits of modern IT support.
For many businesses, the security risk could be huge – perhaps even more so for company’s which have a predominately remote workforce or a higher turnover of staff.
Data protection is key, and a lack of IT support could leave your business unprotected and at risk of cyber-attacks or other breaches.
Technical issues, whenever they occur, can lead to disruption, time-wasting and financial loss for businesses.
Through their expertise and know-how, an IT support partner can give peace of mind; with businesses safe in the knowledge that no technical stone remains unturned when it comes to the very latest trends, threats and important changes that could impact your company.
So having talked about how important it is for businesses to embrace modern IT support – let’s take a closer look at seven ways in which it can help support and improve productivity and growth.
Many make the mistake of assuming that modern software and technology that offers automation is exclusively for large corporations, and that’s simply not the case. One of the basic objectives of automation software is efficiency, and this is a huge benefit to smaller businesses with a limited work force. Often used for mundane and repetitive tasks, automation helps to improve productivity, ROI, collaboration and accuracy in plenty to tasks too.
What’s more – by removing tedious tasks from employees, its not uncommon to see staff morale improve too.
What’s more, offering an automated support system is not only more cost effective than human customer support but offers 24/7 support by directing the inquiry or task to the appropriate department for a quicker and more efficient solution.
Not having an automated support system could not only lead to loss of valuable hours and productivity (eg if you are waiting for any length of time for a particular technician to become available or you / a staff member needs to be without their tech), but an increase in downtime could have a series effect on productivity and profitability.
Intuitive software is software that has been developed with AI, or has AI functionality, and can therefore understand or suggest responses or next steps to tasks. These programmes are easy to get to grips with, and often form part of our daily work lives already. One small, yet common example, are suggested text prediction provided by Outlook from the Office 365 suite – this is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the intuitive software than can be implemented.
Working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) will allow your business to be on top of IT trends, which will also include any potential cyber threats to your system – and be able to issue the correct protection. The MSP will use its expertise and knowledge to advise and guide on any important changes and act on them before they impact your business.
Modern IT support can keep your business right up to date with the very latest protocols and guidance on the best systems, which could lead to expensive mistakes if not monitored or acted on in a timely way. The same could be said of managing licenses and subscriptions which could lapse without support.
Collaboration is high on the agenda thanks to ongoing remote working that businesses across the world are adopting, and there are plenty of applications available to facilitate this.
The right IT support should be suggesting applications such as Office 365, regardless of your size or industry. Co-authoring documents in Word, Excel or PowerPoint in real-time through SharePoint, integrated communication options such as Microsoft Teams means that communication can be a mix of written, phone or video chat between one or many employees at the drop of a hat mean that collaboration isn’t restricted to email just because employees are working in different locations.
Technical professionals strive to take a whole-house approach to support, working in collaboration with each department in your business in order to align systems, software and processes wherever possible.
When finance systems are compatible with your latest sales system upgrade, company productivity, cultural and strategic aims all benefit.
Data is your most valuable financial and strategic asset. Proactive and predictive cyber security, reliable hosting and effective recovery means sensitive data is protected, monitored and can be recovered quickly.
This means minimising lost hours and costs and lets you can get back to focusing on your business and customers.
Many businesses also hold sensitive personal information on staff and customers that could be compromised if not protected.
Every business wants to attract the right talent to its workforce and having a robust IT support system in place means that location/ distance should not be a barrier – therefore optimising the workplace and giving you the best possible chance to hire the best people for the role.
The increased opportunity to work from home has arguably put many candidates in the driving seat, with technology enabling them to work remotely regardless of location or proximity to an office.
With this in mind, your business may be missing out on skilled and /or experience candidates looking for their next role if outdated systems do not adequately support remote working.
There is a case for businesses to remain competitive, profitable and productive – and embracing a modern IT support solution could ultimately give them the edge.
Implementing the right infrastructure and applications or software will allow a business to be responsive, flexible and capable to manage any growth.
Modern businesses are required to be flexible in order to be successful, adjusting to the changes in the business landscape – perhaps more than ever in a post-covid world. SaaS (software as a service) applications allow for flexibility, and scalability, thanks to subscription-based licensing, who can scale your resource quickly and easily, and don’t have to worry about the back-end infrastructure.
This means new team members can be fully integrated and deployed quickly, allowing them to get to work rather than waiting for outdated IT set-up.
Partnering with the right MSP means you will have the right expertise in place should you wish to grow your business in the future – either from an office environment, remotely or a hybrid of both.
There is a case for businesses to remain competitive, profitable and productive – and embracing a modern IT support solution that give your business the opportunity to scale up easily and quickly if required could ultimately give you the edge.
As with most other areas of business, you will want to know that your IT systems are being managed/organised in the right way.
In the absence of an internal IT team – having IT support through an MSP provides huge timesaving and peace of mind across many areas of your business, some of which you may not have considered; the result of which could be affecting your brand.
For example, some systems continue to block websites from a company’s network which could have a detrimental knock-on effect that you/ your business may not have been aware of.
If you company blocks websites like Facebook, how can your marketing manager monitor traffic, comments or use analytics to form a strategy for your business to attract new customers – or retain the ones it already has?