IT Support Dallas
5 Tips to Keep a Bad IT Infrastructure from Eating Your Business
Last week I was visiting with a regional dental
practice about their IT infrastructure and how
they were leveraging their technology investment to improve their dental practice.
They looked at me like I had a horn growing out of my forehead, so I backed up and tried again and asked…
“Why did you buy all of this computer stuff that I see around the office?”
“That is how we schedule our patients and bill insurance across all of our office” was the response.
So I asked “How would you work if there were no computers or printers?”
“We go back to paper today and call customers back when the system starts working again.”
“So, how do you get things working again?”
“We have a guy that comes in from time to time.”
“How long are you down while you wait for him to show up?”
“It has been up to a couple of days.”
The conversation went on for over an hour. When they experienced IT outages, they could not transmit their medical images, use their EMR package or manage their bookings very well or at all.
Ultimately, their IT infrastructure was not helping them build a better business, it was one of the problems because of its inconsistency and the impact that inconsistency had on the business.
Productivity could be cut as much as by half when they were experiencing serious IT outages. Up to 30 patients per outage day could have their appointments canceled or rescheduled, and the issues continued to build with morale issues and unhappy customers.
For this one customer, the root cause of the problem came back to IT support. Or the lack of timely IT support in this case. Their current IT support provider had added more customers and was too busy to take care of the dental office properly.
The dental practice was losing revenue on a monthly basis not because of any direct action they had taken, but because of a lack of action on the part of another business. I wish I could say this was the first time I have seen this, but it is not by a long shot.
So how do you fix this type of situation?
- Understand what IT support really costs you. It is more than what you pay your present IT support provider or your internal IT support staff. How many hours/days were you down last year? How much revenue did your business do last year? Divide revenue by the number of hours you were open to get a rough understanding of what one hour of lost productivity costs your business. This quick math will give you great perspective when asking the never ending question of when is it time to replace my old hardware/software. Answer: When average downtime and repair costs per year begin to get out of line with the cost of a replacement. To calculate your revenue per hour/per employee, divide total revenue by total hours open. Divide total hours open by total employee count. That will give you an approximate amount of revenue that is generated per employee with the company.
- Understand your IT support needs. Where are you strong? Where are you weak? Pick a partner that matches your weaknesses.
- Understand the financial strength of your IT support partners. Request financials of your IT support providers. Banks and many other organizations do this annually in efforts to confirm their partners will be there when they need them.
- Have a Plan “B.” What happens if you IT provider goes away tomorrow? What would that do to your business? Consider finding another IT support firm to develop a relationship with so you have someone to call if you find your IT support line suddenly disconnected.
- Managed Services might be a good option. If your business lacks IT expertise on staff or a reliable pool of local IT consulting firms to pull from in your community, look to Managed Services Providers (MSPs) to fulfill your technology needs.
Good Managed Services firms get small businesses out of the IT business. Perhaps more importantly, well run MSPs have an incentive to be a good technology partner for a small or medium business baked into their support model. Good MSPs are models of efficiency that make their money when everything is working. Businesses, by the same token, are more productive and make more money when their IT systems are working properly.
When aligned properly, where your IT support company is pulling the exact same direction of the business, productivity gains can multiply because both firms are doing what they do best for one another and each other.