This is the fourth post in a series about IT managed services for small and medium size businesses (SMBs). In my first post, I described how culture in the workplace can be unhealthy when technology continues to break and stops people from doing great work. Passionate engaged employees take pride in their work and expect their companies to invest in the best tools, applications and technology available. In my second post, I examined the breakdown of costs associated with operating a business as well as the costs from downtime in various sectors. In my third post, I described how a service level agreement could enhance and strengthen the working relationship with a third party IT managed services provider. In each of the posts, I highlighted the advantages – often viewed as proactive — in partnering with an IT managed services company versus the disadvantages – often seen as reactive – of fixing technology after it breaks and brings the business to a standstill.
Part 4 on the Series about IT Managed Services: Why does it make customers happy and give them peace of mind?
In this final post for the series, I wanted to share real world stories about customer experiences, where IT managed services agreements are in place. There are too many to count but I want to focus on examples where customers were pleasantly surprised and the service made a difference.
Story #1: The Business Person Technophobe
Jim (not his real name) is a co-owner of a successful business. He uses technology but is uncomfortable with it. He is convinced he is emits an invisible ‘force field of energy’ around him that consistently causes electronics to misbehave, malfunction and even crash sometimes. During one stressful morning, he was having difficulty logging into the server via the Internet. Since our managed services platform monitors activity including unusual activity, I was aware fairly quickly that he had tried and failed to login several times. I decided to call him and ask if anything was wrong. He was surprised and relieved to hear my voice. After explaining he forgot his password, which he changed before going on vacation, I quickly reset his password and let him know his predicament is a common one. I put him at ease. Jim now knows to contact me any time technology gives him a headache. He is satisfied that he is looked after and does not have to worry if and when technology lets him down. While this was a simple easy fix, it meant something to Jim because he could continue his day with confidence.
Story #2: The Project Deadline
Michelle (not her real name) was working on a Windows computer on an important client project with a time-sensitive deadline. In this company, she is a typical employee using a typical computer. But her problem was not typical. The managed services platform proactively alerted me of the decreased disk drive space in Michelle’s computer. If the space dropped below a certain level, her computer might become unusable and possibly start crashing and restarting. From my vantage point, monitoring the system remotely, I could see large troubleshooting logs were being created and written to the hard drives by an errant process. The problem as it turned out was almost no free disk space! To avert a stressful situation and possible disaster, I immediately contacted Michelle and requested to remotely take over her computer to resolve the threat. The issue was quickly resolved and Michelle was eternally grateful. She realized that if the problem deteriorated further, she would have missed an important deadline.
Story #3: The Overnight System Failure
The third example does not involve any one person but rather the entire company. In this case, having managed services in place allows for constant remote monitoring. At 11 p.m. on a Sunday night, when no one was supposed to be watching, the managed services client running on the server reported that the processor had been locked at 99% usage for some time. All attempts to remotely connect to the desktop of the server by various methods failed. Hints in the alarm logs received from the managed services client led to detection of the culprit. Another program responsible for running online backups had failed and was caught in an infinite loop. After I successfully terminated the offending process and application remotely, the server sprang back into action immediately. In this example, there was no disruption to the customer because no one was affected. If the customer did not have a managed services agreement in place, the entire company would have come to a standstill on Monday morning as people began arriving at work. I was happy to be masked hero in this case by proactive troubleshooting before the problem affected others. Customers in managed services agreements expect this kind of service as well as the peace of mind.
Where does that leave us? What’s the take away? What would have happened in these cases if managed services were not in place? A managed services agreement is like an insurance policy on steroids for your business. In the same way you protect your home, your car and your health, your information and technology systems must also be protected. Managed services allow for constant remote monitoring of the entire computer network, both in person and remotely, giving you the peace of mind and focus to do what you love and grow the business.