Don’t Wait Until It Breaks

A properly managed network saves businesses time and money.

We all know that, with respect to our physical health, maintaining a healthful lifestyle—from exercise to diet—is more preferable than fixing problems that could have been prevented or greatly reduced. The same is true for your company’s computer network (which likely includes a server and a number of individual work stations, plus peripheral equipment like printers).

It’s nearly impossible to think of a single business that does not rely on technology on a daily basis. Therefore, it is crucial that business owners carefully consider how their IT budget is put to use. A properly maintained network will result in less downtime and higher productivity from employees.

Consider the following facts. Employees spend, on average, 30 minutes per week trying to fix computer-related problems or helping a coworker with computer problems. When all IT expenses are factored, businesses spend roughly $700 per user per month. The average small business spends 6.4 percent of its total revenue on technology; for businesses with revenues up to $50 million, that amount slightly increases to an average of 6.9 percent.

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These statistics may not surprise you, but did you know that 80 percent of the cost comes after the initial purchase?  So, for example, if your business’s annual revenue is $1 million, you’re likely spending $64,000 annually on your technology, and most of that is on fixing problems. Clearly, acquiring new technology isn’t nearly as expensive as keeping it performing well.  Your computer network should be an investment for business growth, rather than a drag on profitability.

Traditionally, business owners (or office managers or the like) would call a computer repair company only when there were problems; in other words, a computer — or the entire network of computers — breaks, an IT technician eventually arrives to fix the problem, and this cycle is repeated over and over again. It’s obvious that this causes significant downtime, which costs you money! It is a known fact that it is much less expensive and less time-consuming, for many reasons, to simply maintain computer networks on an ongoing basis rather than reacting to each isolated problem. Business owners have a choice: You can either respond reactively to your IT needs, or you can partner with an IT firm that offers computer network management.

We at Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. do not recommend reactive IT solutions. This method is often coined the “break-fix” method. When something is broken, tech support arrives on-site to fix it, making this approach reactive. Therefore, this generally results in misguided support and even more billable time to resolve the issue(s). The business suffers a loss in productivity, as employees affected by the outage experience downtime and cannot perform their jobs as effectively without their working equipment (or possibly, they can’t do anything at all).

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If you rely on a computer to process orders or payment, you may quite literally be unable to finalize sales, thereby truly losing money for every minute that your system is down. This leads to missed opportunities and lower productivity—all of which cost your company money. A seemingly simple IT outage can add up to a large, unexpected expense very quickly!

We believe that network management — just like preventive medicine — is the best choice for business owners. Regular maintenance prolongs the usability and performance of computer systems. Automated security patches and software updates protect the network from many threats and issues. Maintenance and updates are performed after hours, meaning you’ll experience fewer business interruptions, less downtime and better employee productivity. And, when there is an issue, your IT service provider knows right away, which should foster peace of mind for the business owner.

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Further, remote technical support can reduce costs by eliminating transportation for most issues. Frequently, your network specialist will be able to “remote in” to your business’ system and fix the problem—sometimes you won’t even know there was a problem in the first place! Proactive monitoring and early detection can pinpoint issues for resolution before they cause downtime.

Thorough documentation and network maps give technicians a precise overview of your business’ IT needs. This assists your IT partner in providing you with the optimal level of service and also provides a roadmap for expansion, as the need arises. In addition, reporting and tracking can segregate troublesome devices for replacement. This allows a business owner to plan when and which server, computer, or other device should be replaced, as opposed to believing that the entire system isn’t working correctly. Isolating problems leads to lower replacement costs.
Progressive IT firms provide modern IT methods—managed services, generally via a monthly contract that can be customized for each business, based on needs and budget. This relationship is much more of a partnership, as both parties strive to keep the system working harmoniously. 

Top 10 benefits of network/computer management and maintenance:

1 – You can truly think of your IT service provider as your outsourced IT department, but without the overhead. You are now fully supported in the manner in which much larger companies—with their own designated IT departments—are, except that you do not have to find office space for this department or even pay their salaries and benefits. But you still get the benefit of round-the-clock maintenance!

2 – Early issue detection leads to fewer problems that actually affect the end-user.

3 – Remote technical support reduces overall IT expenses with shorter response times.

4 – Having a trusted IT consultant means your business won’t need to rely on vendor support (such as software support calls that last for hours and leave you more frustrated than before).

5 – The “break-fix” practice forces you to pay when you are down and already losing money.

6 – Flat-rate IT management is easy to budget, reduces hidden costs, and promotes IT expense planning.

7 – You get a powerful alignment of your IT and business goals. Your technology works for you!

8 – Businesses that manage and outsource their IT properly greatly reduce overall IT expenses.

9 – Your business can take advantage of enterprise-level solutions for small-business costs.

10 – Remote maintenance and management allow your business to free up resources and focus on core business objectives. You should be focusing your time on your business, not your computer network!

Charlotte and Darrin Piotrowski own Rent-A-Nerd, Inc., the IT company that he founded in 1997, which focuses on providing local businesses with top caliber service. He is the firm’s president and she is the director of marketing and community outreach. Charlotte previously practiced law and is an award-winning author.



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