What is the history of IT support and where is it going?

  • Posted by Colin Pearce
  • On November 22, 2019

The history of “information technology” (IT) services as we know and love it starts in the 1980s. Many IT companies today provide “managed services.” Meanwhile, IT-as-a-service is also emerging. But in the 80s, a company needed multiple IT specialists to fix technology issues.

During the 1980s, workplaces started using more and more technology to help us work faster. At the time, IT professionals were specialized and worked for each individual technology company. You’d have someone in to deal with your copier, a different person to help with your accounting system, someone else fixing your phone system, and so on.

From many specialists to general IT technicians

Offices grew more reliant on evolving technology. Then computer networking arrived. Now we had various ways of connecting our systems to “talk” to each other. We still had specialized technicians for everything, and we added in network professionals on top.

Eventually, computer operating systems Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X dominated the market. Because of this, offices needed fewer specialists. Now, more general technicians could maintain office technology. When personal computers became the norm, even small firms needed “jack of all trades” IT professionals.

Throughout the 90s and early 2000s, IT support services were mainly “break-fix.” You’d hire someone to set up your systems, then call them to fix things as they broke (or needed upgrading). Offices generally managed IT the way they would an appliance or piece of production equipment.

As time went on and technology became even more critical to running businesses, IT firms moved to a model that we call “managed services.” This would be a comprehensive, holistic approach to advising on, deploying, and servicing business technology. This is how most IT providers operate at the end of 2019.

In practice this usually means IT folks charge a flat monthly rate to fix things as they break. On top of that they may sell upgrades and add-ons. At the end of the day it is mostly the same type of general IT support service, with a different payment model.

IT-as-a-service

Now enter the modern era.

With the ubiquitous availability of fast internet, “as-a-service” offerings are popping up everywhere. This usually means paying monthly for an all-inclusive online service. A comprehensive monthly IT package is useful because it removes the hassle of maintaining in-house servers and buying new equipment. In our case, we call this package the Cloud Office system. It includes all IT support services and infrastructure for one monthly price.

The most cutting-edge IT companies have embraced this “as-a-service” model. They are including ALL technology costs on a per-user basis. The business model no longer includes up-selling or sales meetings disguised as “vCIO consulting.”

Having evolved from specialized technicians for each piece of technology to comprehensive monthly service packages, modern IT support looks a lot different than when it started. Almost every business has a relationship with an IT provider. Now you know where we came from, and where we’re going.

Colin Pearce is Inderly’s CEO.

A 10-year veteran in the IT space, Colin has provided support and advisory services to hundreds of Canadian businesses employing thousands of staff. Having grown tired of selling businesses IT stuff they need, but don’t understand, he decided to create an easy platform that includes almost all required IT infrastructure. Now he can spend his time focusing on how to make business technology work for your unique situation.

 

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