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Using Virtual CIO Services to Get The Most From Your Managed Service Provider

By Steve Tylock

We interrupt your regularly scheduled post to share this advice – LET US HELP YOU!

Our Virtual CIO Services are the center stone our MSP message. We offer this for every client – typically included in our monthly package.  In other words, there is no additional cost.  We do this because we feel it’s vital to the success of our client partnership.  We’re here to help, and most of our clients tell us this tops the list of reasons they value us.  We aren’t just here to fix things or even maintain them.  We’re here to help our clients make good technology decisions. To help them maximize current technology for their business.  Yet, every once in a while, we have a client who makes a technology decision without bringing us in.  Sometimes it works out fine, but often times not so much.  It makes us wonder, why?

Interruptions

First on interruptions. Our lives are built around getting interrupted, we’ve become quite good at it.  So, please…interrupt us!

Trust us, even if it sounds embarrassing, we’d rather hear about it sooner than later.  The sooner we hear about it, the quicker we can take action.  And, the more likely a big problem is avoided.

Planning Happens First

We understand you can’t plan equipment failure – but you can plan equipment replacement. A quietly successful operation starts with planning. That planning minimizes disruptions, and that includes replacing equipment that’s past its prime. (and frankly, if we’re doing our job, there are hardly ever any emergencies – in a strange way, you might question our effectiveness because we don’t have to jump into action that often…)

And, what about changes – adding new software, automating tasks, jumping in with some new technology?  Please send us an invitation to the party – you know – when you start thinking about <whatever it is>, that’s the time to start sharing your thoughts with us.

It’s our livelihood, and we can help make sure that the hidden needs get brought up. We’ll keep you from heading down some sketchy roads. Sure, it’s still your choice to decide how to travel, but you’ll have a better evaluation of the options.

That’s My Job

You are much better at your job than I would ever be, so please – allow us to do what we’re good at. When we start talking about this great new thing that is going to happen, please humor me and let us take the requirements, cost figures, and the existing state of affairs as a starting point for a design.

If we start with the design you’ve already undertaken, things might get wonky. Did you:

  • Really capture all the requirements?  It might be awkward to go back and ask…
  • Have a complete grasp of the technology being used? If you say “It’ll work” we won’t have an opportunity to evaluate it…
  • Understand the failure points, those places where things could go wrong? It’s our job to check those…
  • Consider the full technology life cycle and the ability to manage this solution for the next several years? If we have to complete a manual task every day at 10 AM, one day it will get skipped…
  • Recognize all of the costs of the solution – hardware, software, licensing, implementation, monitoring, and maintenance? It’s not unusual for a “free” service/software to cost quite a bit…

I’ve certainly been in situations where I was told “just do it”. Sure – you’re the boss, we could. But wouldn’t it be better to bring our expertise in early, take our advice under consideration, and come out on the other end with a better environment? If you really have completely solved the problem, a little scrutiny will only take a little extra time and provide confidence to everyone involved.

Trust

If you trust us enough to help solve your problems everybody ends up a winner.

We’ll definitely go to bat with you against all comers. We know it’s tough out there, and we’re on your side.

First there’s the multitude of technology partners. You’ve got your internet provider, email host, desktop/laptop/server hardware vendor, telephony, printer, and software vendors – especially the software that manages your office. Our specialty is making sure everyone plays in the sandbox nicely. We can’t fix software code to make it do something that it doesn’t, that’s just not possible. But we can take responsibility for getting a report of an issue, understanding it enough to get the right vendor(s) involved, and shepherd the process through to completion.

If you bring us in.

Picking Up The Pieces

We do need to cover this – sometimes we’re not in the loop. Mistake or intentional, we may not have been part of the process. It doesn’t make the job impossible, but it’s probably harder.

We’re starting out with a handicap when:

  • The movers are packing up the boxes and you haven’t made arrangements for the internet and phone systems…
  • Six new employees start Monday and there’s no equipment for them…
  • You’ve found out today that the new three-year contract for internet service doesn’t include access to your NYC office…
  • The cloud-service you’ve moved yourself to doesn’t work with the PC based software you planned on…
  • The PC you picked up on Black Friday needs to be upgraded…

Sure, we’ll get things going – but it’s a lot easier (and less expensive) when you get us in at the beginning.

Your Choice

As a partner, it’s always my job to make sure our clients get the benefit of our combined experience, training, and wisdom. At the end of the day, it is your decision … we just want to help you make an informed one.  A little planning does go a long way.  Let us help.

It’s just easier on the employees, keeps them productive, and shows you have us working a great plan.

PS – planning infrastructure changes is important – especially since everyone depends on it…

GOT QUESTIONS?

We can help. Whatever your technology problem is, chances are, we've seen it before.

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