IT Services & Consultancy: Knowing what you Pay for

Posted By: Claire Monday 6th March 2017 Tags: , , , , , , ,

Today we are looking at IT Support and asking the question, ‘Do you know what you are paying for’? Based in Stockton, our team of IT experts work across Teesside and the North East. Whether you’re based in Middlesbrough to Newcastle, we can help.  

During our feasibility studies for various businesses, there has been considerable emphasis on ‘knowing what you are paying for’. It may come as a shock to many businesses, but from our own experience, we have come across numerous instances where the client is paying for IT  support services that they are not receiving. Unfortunately they are often “getting ripped off”.

One of the major obstacles when running any business is fully understanding and appreciating what the fees charged by a service provider are associated with. Unfortunately, while successful business owners are skilled within their own area of expertise, they need to rely on colleagues and other professionals to facilitate many of the other services required.

The IT industry itself is a minefield. It’s currently bursting with products and services that confuse most decision makers into using them. Below you will find highlighted some of the most recent exploits we have discovered in the past year. Can you identify with any of these?

Reduced IT Support Contracts to Save you Money
This is the most common route into all businesses. Promises are made to provide substantial savings on IT support throughout the year. Every contract is different and it is therefore essential to read this thoroughly. Appreciate what is covered and what is not. The small print will invariably show that all callouts, backup monitoring, dealing with virus outbreak and resolution, system updates and other important services are NOT included in the “reduced” price of support. In fact, when all the costs are added up, in most cases it will prove more cost-effective to go for a more expensive but all-inclusive support contract.

I stand by my views that if your current IT company is providing the right service and support, with a reasonable price then why change?  Always take into account how any potential savings on support are offset by any indirect time that you spend looking into changing suppliers and all the additional services that your current IT supplier provides as part of support compared to a competitor, then ask if that 10% saving is really worth it?

Your Website & SEO
This industry is becoming oversubscribed whilst evolving to a sector that brings in over $65 billion a year. That said, with the right SEO in place the benefits are fruitful. As a business you need to look at why you need SEO. How will your website be affected if you choose not to go ahead with this strategy? Get this right and you will rank well for converting terms. Get this wrong and you could potentially be penalised by Google. Website marketing has evolved into many areas and one of the most influential is Social Media. Determine your strategic marketing plan and approach a SEO meeting with some knowledge of what you wish to achieve. Some important factors to bear in mind; ensure your SEO company sends across regular ranking reports. When potential new clients get in touch, ask how they found you. Above all, ask to see a breakdown of the work carried out on your website. A good SEO will never withhold this information.

Website Hosting & Domain Name Purchase
Always be aware of how much website hosting is costing your business. Ideally you will own your domain as opposed to the website designer.  It may prove costly and complicated if you were to move away from the website company without owning your domain name.

Advertising your Business on other Websites
Cross platform advertising on small websites that claim to guarantee business is old school especially in contrast to marketing techniques which have changed considerably in the past 10 years. People are not going to look for an accountant/ solicitor within another website; they would just do a search on google or approach a social media website such as Facebook and ask for suggestions. Investment in your website appearance and social media activity is likely to be a better investment.

Cloud Solutions
The market for cloud solutions is very competitive giving options for everything and anything. Business owners often fall into the abyss of constant expenditure to make their cloud solution more efficient and cost effective. Regrettably, they are frequently bedazzled with all the positive aspects of cloud solutions without the due consideration given to all the potential downfalls. Having a full feasibility study prepared by an independent IT consultant is advisable, as they will look at the full picture and present the cost effectiveness over a 3 year term. When most decision makers enter into a cloud based contract, they only see the cost savings over an in-house server, rather than also take into account the effect and limitation of Broadband connectivity, Support for the in-house IT systems, Monthly cloud server solution rental and any other relevant considerations that have an impact on the viability of the cloud solution.

Michel Lane