365 Technologies has been active in the Winnipeg market for just over a year now. Next week, we’ll take some time to thank our clients, partners, and friends at an appreciation night.
It’s funny – things never quite turn out exactly as you expect, and this past year has been full of learning opportunities as we set out to change how technology is managed for small and medium-sized (SME) businesses in Winnipeg. In the past 13 months we’ve spoken to hundreds of companies, and met face-to-face with over 100 decision makers. Here are 3 lessons that stand out from those conversations:
Lesson 1: Poor technology performance is too easily accepted
As we’ve taken the time to understand their respective businesses and the role that technology plays in supporting their growth, we’ve been surprised at what owners consider to be ‘ok’ when it comes to their IT. Slow computers, unprotected servers, uncertain backups, and cumbersome workarounds to name just a few. The reality is that there are few other areas in a business operation where this performance level would be accepted – not from employees, suppliers, or accounts.
This doesn’t have to be the case. Today, solutions that were once restricted to large enterprises are fully available to small and medium sized businesses. Cloud-based service delivery models allow companies to benefit from enterprise-class solutions under a monthly subscription, saving significant upfront hardware investments. Where hardware is required, manufacturers are increasingly offering solutions targeted to the SME market. Having a network that is robust, reliable, and budget-friendly is entirely possible.
In the same way, companies have settled for less-than-ideal support from their IT service providers. Slow response times, erratic billing, and a reactive approach to technology management are widely accepted. We believe Winnipeg businesses can do better.
Lesson 2: There’s a LOT of data still at risk
We’ve posted some of our data loss horror stories here previously. While the businesses we meet withunanimously understand how vital their business data is, we still encounter companies weekly whose data is unprotected, and who stand to experience significant business disruption if a data loss occurs. We believe that this is the single biggest issue facing small businesses, which is why we’ve talked about the business risks involved, and the need for building strong routines.
Lesson 3: A different understanding of IT costs is needed
It’s never easy to convince people to look at something differently. When we talk to prospective clients about their IT costs, they inevitably refer to the bills they receive from their current break/fix service provider – and we are almost always more expensive. It is only when we start to look at the impact that technology has on employee productivity that a truer picture of IT costs comes to light. Downtime, productivity loss from slow systems, and use of internal staff are all elements that need to be considered when evaluating a company’s support costs.
It’s been a great first year! If you’re already a 365 client, thank you – we look forward to a continued partnership that supports your company in the pursuit of its goals. If you’re not, we hope this blog continues to bring you valuable insights, and we welcome the opportunity to work with you.