Would you buy a car with bad brakes and drive it until they failed? Who would buy a home and ignore serious flaws by skipping an inspection? If not, then why would you partner with a technology services vendor that agrees to take on your technology “as is”?
During initial discussions with a prospective client, it never ceases to amaze me that other technology service vendors are willing to take over management of a network practically sight unseen. These vendors must be somewhat aware of the obsolete servers and unpatched firewalls in use. Yet, they forge ahead with a support offer and omit disclosing the security vulnerabilities, the data backup shortcomings or the fact that the server operating system has not been patched for months!
Instead of making knee-jerk technology investments, a true Technology Management approach starts with an in-depth inspection.
So what happens, soon after the sale, when network issues arise requiring significant attention and investment? You may find yourself facing a complete outage or sub-optimal performance due to component failures. Or, you may face large, unanticipated bills to replace equipment at the most inopportune times of your business cycles. And then of course, the repairs are often outside of the scope of the “cheaper” agreement so the labor will be billed in addition to the monthly support costs.
I recently visited a business that still uses an Ethernet switch at the network core that has not even been manufactured for 10 years! Two different vendors continued to “support” it and never advocated for proactive replacement. It’s a matter of time before this device stops working (let alone its security vulnerabilities) which would bring business productivity to a screeching halt. A vendor who agrees to provide support without a deep dive into the current state of technology is likely to ignore obsolete components. Device failure can provoke costly disruptions to the business. It may seem like their approach is a “good deal” by being flexible but they do not have your best interest at heart and, together, you may be in denial.
True Technology Management is all about proactive recommendations to produce better results. Think of it like an ongoing wellness program. A healthy computer network creates business value through happier, more productive staff; fewer customer frustrations and increased returns on investment. Instead of making knee-jerk technology investments, a true Technology Management approach starts with an in-depth inspection. It follows with discussions about long-term business objectives and includes details about the investments needed to achieve business goals. Like a gym membership and a healthy diet, once the upgrades are completed, monitoring and management continues the work of maintaining consistent health. Regular review meetings ensure that technology keeps pace with growth and changing objectives. During the business review meetings, the top-notch vendors will include detailed budgeting that removes surprises and assists in decision making well in advance of critical needs.
We’ve all heard the phrase “buyer beware” and understand that if we purchase a car or a house without careful inspection we may make a bad decision. The same rule should apply to the services you purchase for the business. So beware of the technology support vendor who is eager to accept the responsibility of supporting your technology “as is”.