There are problems in the IT service industry and like every part of business these days the problems are being caused by the rate of change in technology. To be blunt, no individual can possibly keep up anymore.
Many Australian businesses are reducing spending anywhere they can at the moment and IT, while it is attracting some spend, is getting squeezed hard at all levels in the industry. From the one man band to global players like HP, which recently announced a $500 million loss in Australia, the theme in the industry is cut backs, cost reduction and doing more with less. This is impacting staffing levels and training levels. This in turn is impacting the ability of smaller firms to keep up with the evolution of technology.
Today the IT solutions for many businesses require a hybrid of on-site infrastructure and cloud solutions. The cloud solutions are evolving and the on-site infrastructure is lacking investment and causing problems as it ages. Keeping a team of people up to date with the range of technologies is getting harder and with tight margins is becoming an expensive component of any tech company budget.
For the solo service provider it simply is not possible to keep up with the industry while servicing clients. This is forcing relatively small businesses to seek more capable support organisations with higher cost structures but a broader range of technologies under their belts. The alternative is to spend too much supporting the technology of a bygone era and miss out on functionality such as collaboration, mobility and more.
There is also a split occurring between the support organisations that have automated processes and streamlined remote support and those that have bought the tools but failed to implement correctly. Like any database-driven technology, firms will get it right and boom with faster response times driving down costs and improving performance, while others will create a black hole where problems go to die a death of lost in the system.
Many managed services providers (MSPs) have bought expensive tools for monitoring and management of client servers, PCs and devices but are now realising that it is a big commitment to move to this model of support. Many are now struggling to convert from running a break fix service to this pro-active methodology. Of course the advanced players who made this change several years ago are now moving to predictive maintenance and providing clients with advice on what is likely to need replacement and how to manage technology transitions before there is an impact on the business.
If you do love your IT guy, is it because he used to be terrific or is it because he is part of a larger team with great systems that enable him to provide an excellent service in a timely manner? Is he really driving value in your business when you need it most?
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for solving business problems with IT. How can we help?