Acting Big, Staying Small – Why the size of your technology support company is important

by Michael Anderson

May 13, 2014

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Technology support companies in Winnipeg come in all different shapes and sizes – from ‘one man shows’ to large organizations with dozens of technicians. Based on how often prospective clients ask us the question ‘How many technicians do you have?’ the number of employees is an important consideration for businesses seeking a new support provider. But what’s the right number? And is technician count the best indicator of how a support company will perform?

Too Small

Technical support seems to be one of those areas where everyone ‘knows a guy’, and there are certainly benefits to having a familiar face working on your company’s network. With all issues being managed by one technician, they are able to quickly build an intimate understanding of the company’s network, while the client has a single point of contact.

The challenge with very small support companies is that as their client base grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to deliver a high level of service and responsiveness. The result can be longer resolution times for issues, causing increased business disruption for the client.

The other risk with a one man show is the lack of redundancy or backup. In the event of an illness, holiday, or even a business closure, what happens? If all of the knowledge of your network is contained with one person, there is a significant impact to the business if that person becomes unavailable.

Too Big

At the other end of the spectrum, large support companies can offer significant resources – many technicians, with a wide base of knowledge. Having access to a larger pool of technicians can overcome some of the challenges faced by clients of smaller shops or one man shows – specifically, limited resources and lack of redundancy.

The downside, of course, is that a large team can mean many different people working on the same network or account. There is often regular turnover of staff, especially at the junior technician level, resulting in new technicians re-learning the basics of the client and the business systems.

In addition, with larger teams, technology support companies tend to diversify into different practice areas, moving away from a particular specialty or focus.

Just right (acting big, staying small)

As you might have guessed, we think there’s a better option somewhere in between. One that capitalizes on the benefits offered by both small and large support companies, while reducing some of the challenges.

By maintaining a technician headcount under 10, and supporting them with tools for automation, and processes for knowledge sharing, we are able to deliver many of the benefits of a large support team, while maintaining the intimacy of a smaller shop:

  • Our team size allows us to offer full 24/7 support to clients by maintaining an on-call rotation of technicians, and guaranteeing a 15-minute call back on after-hours emergencies. During the day, our phones are answered by one of our friendly Tier 1 (Dispatch) technicians. No leaving messages on someone’s cell phone!
  • Each day starts with a full team huddle to share the previous day, get input from the team on any issues, and share lessons learned.
  • Our remote monitoring and management system allows us to perform automated tasks on our 800+ managed machines, meaning that we can focus our technicians on more difficult issues that require a human touch.
  • Our best-in-class ticketing system ensures proper documentation and workflow on every service issue we receive.

By acting big while staying small our clients get the best of both worlds. A team of familiar faces who understand their businesses and networks while delivering timely, responsive support.

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