Understand your IT company: insights from the inside
- Posted by Colin Pearce
- On August 31, 2022
We want to help you understand how IT companies work.
Technology is famous for being full of words that are unfamiliar to most people. Take “IT,” for instance: it’s short for information technology. Companies like ours, who help people with their work computers and other technology, are often called “IT support” or “tech support.”
Here is some insight into the inner workings of tech support.
Why does technology still break all the time?
If technology keeps improving, and we are using more and more of it at work, you might be wondering why it still breaks. It can be so frustrating!
The truth is, while a lot of technology is faster, and looks fancier, and is moving to the cloud and so on, it always involves many layers of complexity. To put the scale into context, the Saturn V rocket, which took people to the moon in the 1960s and 70s, had 3 million moving parts.
The code to boot the Windows operating system alone has 50 million lines. And software is always being updated. Software “patches,” bugs, security updates: these are small changes that involves hundreds of thousands of lines of code each time. There are often glitches and errors.
How to trust you are getting value for money
When you’re running a smaller company, and you maybe have more time than money, you can “DIY” your own IT, or “do it yourself.” If you do this, make sure you are covering cyber security basics. But as your business matures, you’ll want to outsource your IT. If you’re not especially tech savvy, it can be hard to know how your IT company operates.
There are a couple of different models in the IT business. You may have full-time IT staff. Or, you call people in to help. Something breaks, and you call someone in to come and fix it. You may have IT consultants that work with you hourly. And finally, there are fully managed IT services that you can pay for on a monthly basis.
Here’s a breakdown:
A (very short) history of IT
Knowing where the IT industry originated can help us understand it today. Tech support started with the dawn of office technology in the 1970/80s. There were many different specialized experts, who became more generalized experts as people started working on personal computers. From the 2000s on, there are now also IT companies or “managed service providers,” who take accountability for technology systems and do proactive, behind-the-scenes work.
What we do behind the scenes
Our clients open “tickets,” or requests, when they have an issue or question. This “help desk” system keeps us organized. Instead of reaching out to a particular individual, there may be institutional knowledge that’s important, which is why we have a help desk team.
Here is how we spend our help desk and customer service time:
As you can see in the above chart, 30% of our work (“updates”) is done proactively, behind the scenes. These are updates, patches, security roll-outs, testing, analysis. The rest is help desk requests, with some administrative work to keep our systems running smoothly.
Understand IT and make it work with your business goals
Here’s where the magic happens. You want IT to make your life easier. As an IT support company, our goal is to make the lives of our clients easier at work. It’s important to have conversations with your IT provider that give you the confidence to know that IT is really working for your business.
Work with a transparent provider. Understand their pricing, and where your data lives, and how it’s being backed up and protected. Have regular meetings with your IT provider. When we do this we always leave the meeting with some things to do to improve our client’s experience. If you are building your business and expanding your team, your IT provider should be interested in helping with that.
And remember: behind the help desk, we are humans. We are doing our best to fix things and do our best job for you. Always be kind, and do your best to assist us when we are working on a solution for you.
We are passionate about sharing what we do, and demystifying the IT industry. Feel free to watch our 5-minute recap of a webinar we did on this topic, and to contact us at [email protected] with any questions.
An IT and small business expert, Colin has provided support and advisory services to hundreds of businesses across Ontario and Canada. In 2017 he created a simpler and more affordable tech support and virtual desktop system that includes almost all required IT infrastructure. He enjoys figuring out how to make business technology work best for each unique situation.