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It’s Not About the Computers. OK – It’s Not Just About the Computers.

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Submitted by Shea Gordon on Thursday, December 02, 2010
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Entrants into CMIT’s first-ever technology makeover contest shared some of the scariest, most spine-chilling IT horror stories we ever heard. Hundreds of entries later, we had a winner – but we learned something from everybody who submitted a story. Here are a few of the major takeaways:

1. A bad IT guy can be worse than no IT guy at all. When you’re paying somebody to look after your computers, you tend to assume they’re … looking after your computers. This can lead to major surprises when your server crashes, you look for your backup files, and your slacker IT guy tells you, “Those backups haven’t been working for months. Sorry, I meant to tell you that!”

2. You have to make your computers a priority. Computers, unlike people, tend not to complain or ask for help, so it’s easy to ignore them. But ignore them for too long and they’ll remind you who the boss is. You’ll always be able to find some better use of your business’ hard-earned money than computer maintenance – until you’re stuck with an astronomical repair bill.

3. Success can be your own worst enemy. When your business is growing, you might feel too busy to come up with a detailed IT plan. The next thing you know, you’ve created an ad hoc monster of a network that’s hard to monitor, hard to secure, and difficult to add on to – instead of one that’s transparent, secure, and scalable.

4. If you have a stupendously bad computer setup, you aren’t alone. Every small business has computer challenges. If they say they don’t, they’re probably lying. (Or they’re CMIT clients.)

5. A simple change to your IT systems can have a profound effect on your workplace. A business running massive CRM applications or complex databases obviously depends on technology and will clearly benefit from a tech upgrade. But even those businesses and organizations that might not appear to rely on computers can benefit hugely from a technology overhaul… Which leads us to our grand prize winner:

The Monarch School of New England

At this New Hampshire-based school for disabled children, computers help kids interact with the world. “Technology is a huge motivator for our students; they love any opportunity to work with computers,” the school wrote in its contest entry. “Technology allows our students to function and to live in the world outside of school.  With it, they can communicate with others, learn about the greater world, and achieve functional skills important for day-to-day activities.” But with the school’s out-of-date computer equipment, “Some of our kiddos … have a difficult time sitting while the dinosaur computer loads (or doesn’t load) the program.  Our school is challenged by resources as are many of our families.  Most of our families don’t have computers at home; having these resources in the classroom would greatly help our students.”

CMIT Solutions, Dell, and Microsoft are delighted to award the Monarch School the $75,000 technology makeover prize. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Read the IT horror stories of other technology makeover contest entrants on the CMIT blog.

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