You’ve invested in the best tech money can buy for your business, so you can stand out as a difference maker and innovator. But how do you keep everything backed up, secure, and running well? And, whom do you call when something goes wrong?
Hardware, Without IT Support, Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen
“Hardware” describes the physical products most of us rely upon every day to do our work. By way of example, tech company Lenovo offers everything from servers to desktops and laptops to peripherals, like VR headsets--all part of their ongoing effort to push beyond what’s expected to surprise and delight their customers.
“A hardware provider is a transactional provider or business partner, and an IT provider is focused more on the needs of the customer and providing a solution for that customer,” says Rob Cato, Executive Director, North American Channels at Lenovo. Lenovo strives for excellence in both roles, from initial and post-sale support for your hardware investments to workplace efficiency solutions. “A good hardware provider will offer multiple options for their customers, including different models and configurations, but also different purchasing options, such as online or over the phone,” he says.
Once the hardware has been purchased or leased, it’s all about the customer service that supports it. It’s not enough to have state-of-the art equipment, because that equipment needs regular maintenance, and any software and data stored on it needs to be securely stored and managed.
That’s where an IT provider comes in. The type of IT support you need depends on the size of your company and the complexity of the software your business uses. For example, Lenovo is an IT solutions partner offering customized business support, including security solutions, artificial intelligence, big data, and analytics.
Eric Burge of Rocky Mountain Tech Team, which offers IT support for midsize businesses in the Denver metro area, cites a rough rule of thumb for smaller companies: Go with an IT firm until your company reaches 50 to 60 employees, which signals that it’s time to hire an in-house IT staffer.
Make the Smart Investment
Some business owners are either reluctant to lay out the cash for IT support or don’t plan for it in advance. “They have to have a business plan to run their company” says Cato, “But they also need to have a great tech plan.” He suggests adding a tech investment--including IT support for that tech--to any modern business plan.
Burge offers a relatable analogy: “It hurts the pocketbook to put money into expensive maintenance on your car, but can you imagine how you’d get around without that car?” As it does for a vehicle, regular maintenance (security and software updates, backups, and equipment repairs) extends the life of your tech investment. “Over the long term, you end up paying less,” he says, “and the people who don’t want to put up the money end up paying more because their servers blow up.”
Tips for Finding the Best IT Support for Your Business
- Think like Goldilocks. Look for an IT firm with adequate staff to service a company of your size.
- Seek out tailored services. Find a provider that can understand the unique needs of your company and offer solutions based on those needs instead of presenting one-size-fits-all services.
- Don’t forget the hardware. Some IT firms are also hardware providers who sell, lease, and install hardware, which can be handy when you need a quick replacement item.
- Determine if you need to have on-site or remote technicians. Many IT firms work remotely, but some businesses prefer having technicians who can repair or replace hardware or update software on-site.
- Insist on service. Customer service should be the cornerstone of any IT company’s offerings.
- Establish turn-around time. Ask about response times for everything from minor requests to critical fixes.
The equation is actually a simple one: World-class hardware plus first-class IT equals peace of mind for business owners.
Lenovo is dedicated to providing the technology, services, and support Small Businesses need on their journey to make a difference. For more information, click here.