How do we fix our computers faster and reduce our carbon tax costs?
If you’re sick of waiting for your IT person to get to your PC to fix it you’re probably using the wrong team and technology to support your workplace.
When I started in the IT industry I was on a help desk before graduating to field support, initially running from place to place fixing computers in small businesses and spending hours on the road every day.
As I did more training I graduated to corporate environments and started to use complex management tools to remotely manage thousands of computers for large firms and the public service.
By 1998 that technology and the speed of data networks meant remote management technology had scaled down to sub-1000 computer companies.
Today there are companies referred to in the IT industry as managed service providers (MSPs) that offer remote support for individual PCs and to any scale of business environment.
MSP businesses still need to offer on-site support for some aspects of their work but they’re able to do more than 80% of troubleshooting and problem solving remotely, which has created big incentives for the IT companies which have adopted that technology.
They can cover significantly more computers from a central help desk because they don’t have IT staff walking around offices to visit individuals and they also don’t have cars on the road generating carbon emissions and creating hours of unbillable time.
With a carbon tax in place that is going to be more of a concern in the future than it was until this week.
Accountants have worked remotely for years, only visiting clients occasionally for account management and now it’s the same for IT.
As long as computers and servers are working and connected to the internet secure connections can be made quickly to troubleshoot, maintain and upgrade software.
Efficiencies created by remote management tools allow leading MSP companies to offer unlimited service agreements because the reduced time required to fix previously expensive problems allows a risk calculation to be run and a cap to be put in place.
It’s also driving the cost per repair down fairly quickly, putting pressure on our industry to consolidate and that is placing a lot of pressure on smaller service providers to grow or get out.
We’re seeing the creation of larger, more capable support organisations, which is good news for the SME sector but not if you’re running one of the small, inefficient service companies.
The solution is clearly greener because there’s less carbon used in a remote connection than there is in a site visit from a tech in a car who may have driven for 30 minutes to do a 15-minute job that is now done in 15 minutes or less remotely.
Jobs are done faster because there’s less formality and less social contact in a phone support call.
That’s not so good for the social atmosphere in your business but it’s much more efficient and productive, creating financial gains on both sides – and it’s a sad organization that relies on visits from IT people to create social influence in the office.
There’s also a positive effect for IT people. Instead of being an isolated individual on the road and in the offices of others they’re surrounded by like-minded technical people who they can share information and ideas with.
That is creating competitive learning environments and more rapid knowledge sharing than our SME IT support industry previously enjoyed.
We’re also seeing more technicians who don’t move from desk work to being road warriors.
So next time you’re having a face-to-face chat with your IT person about the footy scores or the weather ask yourself whether there’s a better, faster way to get on with business – without burning fossil fuels.
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David Markus is the founder of Combo - the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.