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Why vCIO services and a proactive approach to your IT can transform your small business

William Palfrey
June 02, 2020, Post a comment

Some surprises are great: like winning business deals you didn’t anticipate, discovering an extra digit on your bottom line, or finding $50 in your laundry. Others, aren’t so great.

Like unexpected calls from your IT guy letting you know that you’re up for $100,000 because:

  1. <technical jargon> is offline because it was hacked, or
  2. <this technical jargon> isn’t working because it’s no longer supported; or
  3. <critical technical jargon> failed, so they need to recreate planet Earth to get you up and running again.

OSIT Meme - System Down Again


Oh, and why $100,000?

Because research shows that is the amount of revenue small and medium businesses can lose from 1 hour of downtime (Source: Forbes Magazine: Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends).

This lack of foresight + Traditional aging IT systems = Serious impact on your cashflow.

For almost every small and medium businesses, that’s not feasible.

And the outcome? You fall back on what you’ve always done. Making ad-hoc decisions just based on what you can afford to get by. Inevitably taking you back to the beginning of that second paragraph.

 

Get ahead of the Nasty IT Surprise > Apply Band-aid routine

 

Many successful businesses realise that creating greater operational IT and financial stability means using the right mix of business intelligence, technology and expert guidance to get ahead of the incessant ‘Nasty IT Surprise > Apply Band-aid routine’.

And when they do, they free up more resources to invest in growth and more capacity to chase down business targets, instead of the IT guy – Every. Single. Day.

For others, the risks of indecision and inaction are real, and just the idea of investing your limited time, capital and resources into modernising your business IT is one that doesn’t make it over the first hurdle: “Is our team of 7, 17 or 70 even big enough to warrant the investment?”

Which means you’ll “just make do for now” and I’ll meet you back at that second paragraph.

But with the ease and affordability at which you’re able to access premium support, expert guidance and vCIO services to help you actively improve your business output, reduce your IT risk and free up resources for growth, ‘making do’ is no longer your only strategic option.

 

A value generator or a bottomless pit?

 

Let me ask you this: Is your IT generating value for your business?

(hint: Think efficiencies, cashflow friendly forecasting, feel-good-office-vibes, happy teams, productivity, road maps, scalability, security, cost savings and intelligent reporting on your business data?)

Be honest.

The truth is, it should be.

IT isn’t just a tool for tracking your billable's, scheduling meetings or delivering your daily summary of LinkedIn action.

Your IT is at the heart of almost every modern-day business process, transaction and customer acquisition.

A proactive approach towards your IT has the potential transform the way you do business. From protecting your assets and cashflow, through to improving your processes and customer experience, your IT is responsible for contributing value to every touchpoint of your business - not just your expense sheet.

And, unless you take action to:

  1. Create long-term roadmaps that will iron out the nasty IT surprises,
  2. Conduct IT Needs assessments to make sure your IT isn’t under or overpowered to meet your business needs
  3. Build strategic automated reports that feed you the right information to make better data-driven strategic decisions, and
  4. Hire a team of people to actively support your systems and improve your IT ROI

Transforming your business can feel harder than trying to pin down that unresponsive IT guy when all has hit the fan… Again.

The good news is, gone are the days when larger corporations held the monopoly on sophisticated systems, premium support and the resources to modernise your operational IT efficiencies.

The availability of outsourced vCIO services have levelled the playing field. Which allows even the smallest firms to tap into the wealth of clever cloud technology and talented people to actively improve your business operations, identify areas to free up resources and improve your IT ROI for you, at a fraction of the price it would cost to hire them in-house.

 

Introducing vCIO services

 

Outsourcing your IT services to the right partner allows you to focus on your own strategy, knowing a team of ridiculously nice people have your back to support your growth.

But freeing up the time and resources for you to invest back in to your business doesn’t happen by just fixing IT issues faster than you can say “industry leading resolution times”.

It happens by taking advantage of your IT partners inclusive vCIO advisory services, so you can minimise the issues in the first place.

 

What do vCIO services look like?

 

Here’s a snapshot of some of the vCIO services that you can expect from your IT Partner. Oh, and if you have a managed support agreement with your IT partner, you’ll be happy to know that these services are typically included in your agreement.

 

vCIO service: IT Needs Assessment

What you can expect: 

An IT Needs Assessment is where your IT partner will walk you through an interactive series of scenarios and value statements to determine your business priorities and provide you with a plain English report detailing how your current IT services match up to your requirements. You can also expect them to include the areas of your IT that need prompt attention, as well any areas that can be dialled back for now.

Business Benefits:

 

  • Identify services, capabilities and features that you thought you had, that you actually don’t
  • Identify services, capabilities and features that you’re paying for that you don’t actually need
  • Identify services, capabilities and features that are critical to your day-to-day operations that:
    • you’re not paying for, or
    • are not included in your support agreement.

 

vCIO service: Business Optimisation Architecture

What you can expect:

Your IT Partner can provide you with an analysis of the average costs and time required to support your current IT environment and compare this with a recommended combination of products that have been designed specifically for your business. (Think: Your current support expenses, downtime, hardware and software subscriptions vs an optimised stack of technology providing less issues, less downtime and less support).

Business Benefits:

 

  • The outcome of this analysis will show you precisely where you can save money, reduce your downtime and get more features, for less, across every aspect of your IT.

 

vCIO service: IT Quality Improvement Analysis

What you can expect:

Typically, this will be an annual report that dives into the cause of your IT incidents, recurring issues and long-term problems to review the performance and reliability of your IT systems.

Business Benefits:

 

  • The report will highlight what the financial impact of these incidents cost your business and practical recommendations on what you can do to reduce the quantity of incidents and your IT support expense.

 

vCIO service: IT Health and Security Check

What you can expect:

This is a regular check that examines the overall IT health and security of your IT environment (Think: security policies, security measures, software applications, hardware, etc..) and provides you with recommendations and a business vulnerability and risk score for each area of your IT.

Business Benefits:

 

  • Identify areas of high business risk and vulnerability before they are exploited and cause costly downtime, data loss or PR damage.

 

vCIO service: IT Cost Saving Review

What you can expect:

Your IT partner is best placed to compare your IT services expenses (think: internet, phone calls, printing expenses, etc..) to the average expenses incurred by your industry every year. This means they are able to create a plan to research alternative services that are offering more value and trying to negotiate a better deal for each service on your behalf.

Business Benefits:

 

  • Reduce your IT expenses

 

vCIO service: IT Roadmap

What you can expect:

A roadmap will layout the status of your existing IT system and the technological issues your business is facing. You shouldn’t be expected to invest in your IT unless you’re clear on the return you can expect to see. This is where your IT partners will include their 12-month recommendations, prioritised action steps, timeframes and business cases, so you can forecast the business outcomes you can expect from tackling each issue.

Business Benefits:

 

  • Foresight on upcoming expenses, so you don’t get any nasty cash-flow surprises.
  • Documented business cases and outcomes, so you can make batter data-driven decisions for your business.

 

Schedule your vCIO services today

 

Your IT partner can provide you with an annual schedule of the vCIO services that are included in your managed IT support agreement, so you’ll know when to expect the reports and insights, that you need, to make better data-driven decisions to help transform your business.

And if they haven’t done so, we’d suggest that you get in touch. After all, it’s precisely this proactive approach towards your IT that can be the difference between moving your business forward to hit your goals or back to re-visit paragraph two.

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Turn that IT frown upside down

IT isn’t supposed to distract you from the important stuff. It’s supposed to enable you to do more of it, more efficiently. And that’s our sole purpose at Office Solutions IT – delivering IT support services that take care of the complex business of managing IT, so you can focus on your business. Get in touch and find out more.