What makes a good IT professional for a small to medium sized business? (Part 2 of 2)

In our previous blog in this series we covered the first 6 parts that make up a good IT Professional. I will continue with the remaining parts of this list then summarize and offer my conclusions and observations on this topic.

  1. Speed – this relates to #6. If your IT professional spends hours at your business, chats with employees and does not seem to be focused on the job at hand this is another way they can gouge you. A true IT professional will evaluate the issue(s), give you an estimate then get the job done promptly.
  2. Looks to save your business money – hardware (computers, printers etc.) and infrastructure (network, routers etc.) are expensive. If your company is just starting from scratch or has all of this in place your IT professional needs to find the best prices at the highest quality and they should always give you three quotes one for the high, middle and low then choose the middle one. If your IT professional is constantly suggesting that you purchase new or replacement computers or some technology gizmo which may not be needed (a luxury) this is a red flag and it’s time to find a new IT professional. The usual life span of a Server is 6 years and workstation(s) is 5 -8 years. If your systems are working fine and there are no issues then don’t replace a workstation. However, when it comes to your server, stick to the 6 year rule as this is one of the most important pieces of your infrastructure and affects all users.
  3. Educates -  When we fix an issue that a user has while using a particular software or windows setting, we try to educate them so that they can perform these minor changes or know exactly how to perform a specific task (i.e. insert a date time stamp in a word document or sign into their web email account). This helps your customers by making their users smarter and not having to call the IT professional when another user has the same problem. They can get help from someone inside your business that knows how to do this.  This saves money and time for your business.

Conclusion:

Many IT Professionals refrain from educating the users because it lowers their bottom line by removing repetitive calls for repeat issues. They also refrain from giving you multiple estimates because they make more profit as they often have reseller’s licenses and set their own prices. If an estimate does not include internet based vendors for the hardware/software then find a new IT professional. Buying online for technology is usually cheaper for the same hardware/software that can be bought from local retail businesses and at tremendous savings.  If your IT professional charges you $100 for a 5 minute fix/install then it’s time to find a new one; especially if they access your computers remotely to perform this install/configuration. Here at Ocean Web Consulting, we give our customers a line item estimate so that they know how much time a job will take and the estimated cost. This allows our customers to ask us questions beforehand and there are no unexpected charges. We also offer monthly, quarterly and yearly support plans. During these periods the customer can call for unlimited support related to software use and computer usability problems.

There are numerous ways an IT professional can save you money and often it comes to working with your business manager and talk about tradeoffs versus the bottom line. For example, does your business really need that extra printer so that someone does no have to walk a few feet a few times a day to grab their documents?  Remember, every piece of equipment that is added to an office not only has the initial price tag but also long term maintenance, utility and replacement costs.

Ocean Web Consulting has 12 years of experience in web design, IT services, software integration/customization and customer support. We support the greater Los Angeles metropolitan region including Orange County CA, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County. Visit our web site to view our coverage map at www.oceanwebconsulting.com

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