As a business owner of an IT Managed Service Provider company in the Dallas/Fort Worth area we sometime get pushback from new clients when they find out we want to replace certain hardware before its end of life. They would ask, “Why would I want to replace that now?” not understanding the real value of swapping out the hardware for standardized hardware.
The business owners simply see this as an added expense and don’t understand that ultimately by standardizing on hardware and technology they will increase productivity and in turn see an increase in the bottom line.
We all know in business time is money, and when you get right down to it, you’re either spending it or making it. Anything that decreases your productivity, increases your expenses and the same holds true for the inverse of that equation. Any increases in your productivity, lowers your expenses. Now we can take the same approach and apply that to revenue, meaning any increase in productivity help the bottom line of the business.
From a technology standpoint one of the ways we can increase productivity is to eliminate downtime, slowness or problem on the company network and if there is an issue, it needs to be fixed fast. So now let’s look two typical real world scenarios:
Company A: Hires an MSP in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to manage their network and computers but this MSP does not standardize their hardware and technology across all their clients. In-Fact they just use whatever equipment the client had in place at the time. Late one Friday afternoon, their internet goes down and the MSP jumps into action, quickly getting out to the client and after a while they believe the problem is with the firewall. This is your main piece of equipment that safely connects your network to the internet. However, the tech can’t seem to figure out how to reset the firewall because he not very familiar with this model and has to call the manufacture on the West Coast. Their standard support department is now closed and so the only way to get support is by having to pay for afterhours support on the device. After spending an hour or so with their support department, a reset does not work and it’s concluded the device needs to be replaced. Luckily the device is covered under warranty as it was purchased less than a year ago. However, the manufacture’s policy is that the firewall must be sent in first before they will ship out a replacement. So needing to get the network up and running the company reluctantly agrees to purchase a new firewall, but by this time the only way to get a firewall here and installed is to purchase it and overnight it for morning delivery. The following morning, the tech arrives to get ready for the new firewall and when it arrives, he struggles to get everything working the way it was before, but eventually after 4-5 hours he gets everything working.
Company B: Hires an MSP in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to manage their network and computers but this MSP has strict requirements on equipment and standardization of technology. Late one Friday afternoon, their power goes out and when it comes back on, no one can get on the internet, nor can anyone get to their network drive. Because their Firewall & Server do not report into the monitoring system, a ticket is automatically generated and opened on the MSP’s support system. The MSP contacts the client and goes through an assessment of their issues and dispatches a tech quickly. Once there, he determines while the Server is running, the network card is no longer working properly. So he quickly changes out the network card on the server with the one he keeps stocked in his car. Now that the office is able to access the server, he turns his attention to firewall. After a quick review of the firewall he is able to determine it’s not acting correctly and needs to be replaced. Again, because the equipment is standardized he is able to simply bring one in from the truck. Because the firewall is managed, he simply downloads a backup copy of the firewall’s configuration and swaps out the hardware and in less than 1 hour everything is back up and running (Server and Firewall).
Now, I realize that not everything is nightmarish as in Company A, nor am I naive to think that everything is as rosy as Company B. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Be we all know the age old adage that we get what we pay for and in business it’s no different.
The truth in the matter is that Company A, looks at the cost of equipment and technology as an expense and therefore want’s to limit his expenditures. While Company B recognizes that technology is an investment in the productivity of the company and is willing to invest in technology & standardization to maintain a higher level of productivity.
Is Technology & Standardization an Investment or Expense?
Which side of the fence are you on?
Daniel A. FitzGerald
Owner & President