Who’s Your Technology Partner?
Most large businesses will have their own technology department; however, if you own a small to medium business, you may rely on a local technology service company to provide ad hoc or break-fix computer services. If you are really ahead of the game, you have partnered with a local company to be your “tech department,” providing emergency tech services as well as maintenance and planning. If you do not have a tech partner, let’s discuss a few reasons why you should consider one.
Hardware and software compatibility
The first step in purchasing new technology and computer hardware is not only determining what you want, but also what you need and if it will work with what you already have. Before you can determine what you need, you must know what you have. Your technology partner can provide you with a network diagram and inventory and even provide a compatibility matrix which tells you what will work with what.
We often field calls from companies that have already purchased hardware and found numerous difficulties integrating it into their network. Corrections often include additional hardware, software and extended downtime. These issues can be avoided with some simple planning.
Many companies use technology partners for emergency situations only, but as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Working with a technology partner to develop a simple technology plan can save you considerable money and downtime when it comes to managing your business’ technology.
This applies to planning your emergency response plan, or how your business is positioned to handle everything from a small problem to a large disaster. The federal government has said that one in four businesses never reopens after a disaster and this can be prevented with proper planning. Proper planning also applies to upgrades to minimize the downtime and to enforcing acceptable use policies.
Your business works with other partners, like your accountant or legal team to develop a plan for your business. You do not make important decisions without consulting these professionals first. The same should be done with technology.
Support and maintenance
A good technology partner will be there to support your business and be there when those emergency situations come up. The partner should be as concerned about keeping your business up and running as you are. Equally important, they should be preparing you and your network to avoid emergency situations. This could include routine network maintenance, patch management and insuring you have adequate backup policies and procedures.
A network can be described as a living, breathing organism. Like any living, breathing organism, it needs care and nurturing. Your technology partner should be caring for your network through maintenance and support to ensure optimal health and productivity. This includes making certain suggested updates to the operating system and virus protection are run as scheduled.
Lastly, your technology partner is a locally owned business like you. When you work with them, the money you spend with them stays in the community and keeps local people employed. Capital Area Local First cites that when you purchase from a locally owned partner, $27 of every $100 leaves the community and $73 stays. If you purchase from a non-locally owned business, $57 of that $100 leaves the community and only $43 stays here. Clearly, the more money that stays in the local economy, the more money we have to spend in the long run.
Most importantly, your technology partner should be someone whom you trust and who will be there for you. They should have your company’s growth in mind and be willing to work for and with you to achieve your goals.
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John Hoesli is business development representative with PTD Technology. He has more than ten years of experience in the information technology field. PTD Technology is a technology partner to many businesses, organizations and government agencies in the mid-Michigan area since its inception in 1978.