Part 2 of Maintaining Margin as You Grow – Streamlining IT Support

by | May 23, 2013 | jahlberg

Last month I talked about a Forbes blog entitled “3 Reasons Why Great Companies Stop Growing—And the Solution” which said, “When companies grow, they come to certain places where the things that used to work, the things that created that level of success, don’t work anymore. We call these inflection points.” I mentioned that there are at least two different technology-related inflection points in small to mid-sized companies.  The first is in the 10-30 person range, and then again around 150-200 people. In this blog, I’ll write about this second inflection point.

Companies in this size range are no longer asking the question whether they need dedicated tech support, but are now asking whether they have the right tech support team, the right technology infrastructure for their organization, and are paying the right amount for their company size.

Right Support Team? When we talk to companies in this size range, we typically hear a real frustration with their internal IT team.  Often the team has grown to 3, 5, or even more people.  They have a helpdesk person, a network guy, and a manager to manage it all.  Maybe they also need an application developer or two.  Probably they’re lacking any sort of visioning, and have or want to hire a CTO or consultant.  Pretty soon the IT department starts to have demands – bigger budget, more people – and maybe even their own agenda.  Executives may feel that they have lost control of the department, and are questioning the value equation.  They want the capabilities of a large company IT department, but not the headaches that can go with it.

Right Technology Infrastructure? At 150-200 people, companies often are at an inflection point with their technology infrastructure.  They’ve grown their budget with people, but often the infrastructure itself is outdated, and processes have not kept up with growth. For example, there is a lack of documentation, policies, and procedures.  Further, the business lacks real business planning with the IT team. Executives are always being told they need to buy another server or more equipment, but they are neither hearing the business case nor how it fits in to the long-term vision.

Right Budget? If the company has a bloated team, and are lurching from capital expenditure to expenditure without a long-term plan, chances are pretty good they are paying too much for too little.

Sounds depressing, right?  The good news is there is a better way.  Instead of having a full IT department, companies can tap into an expert team like Waident’s that delivers the necessary breadth of support without the costs of full-time resources.  One or two of those team members sit on-site and they are a part of a larger, virtual service team. How does this model stack up to the checklist of needs for 150-200 person companies?

I need to have some IT people onsite – You have people there, but not the headaches of hiring, training, providing benefits for or managing them.  You may also want one internal IT person, but they are focused on aligning technology with the company’s strategic direction, not day-to-day details of helpdesk and network management.

I need responsive day-to-day technology help for my users – While you have one or two people sitting on-site, often a call or email to the helpdesk will be seamlessly handled by somebody off-site, helping to manage surges in support requests, tapping into broader expertise, and eliminating your reliance on a few people (who could leave tomorrow).

My network needs to be managed and supported – Your virtual team has not only helpdesk expertise but also network and other system support experience gained from a broad client base. You get big company best practices as a small to mid-sized company.

I need support across different business systems – We act as your front-line support for all your systems, including custom or industry-specific ones.  We work with the 3rd-party vendors to get tough questions answered, documenting as we go.

I need documentation (OK, executives don’t always know to ask for this – but they should!) – Everything is documented – it has to be since everyone works in teams.

I need strategic guidance to ensure the business is using technology effectively – Again, the wisdom gained across dozens of clients comes in handy.  At minimum, expect quarterly strategic meetings to discuss your business needs and how technology can enable greater efficiencies.   Look for a partner that doesn’t sell, but can connect you to the right resources.

And I don’t want to overspend! – Right.  No paying for full-time resources when you have part-time needs.  And now you can afford to have proactive management to avoid costly issues down the road.  Plus you’ll have an advocate for finding the right solutions for you.  We’re not in the business of selling – we’re in the business of providing support.

Give me a call if you’d like to discuss how Waident can help you maintain profitability as you grow.  Whether you have 10 people or 500, we have a scalable solution for you

John Ahlberg, CEO, Waident Technology Solutions

John Ahlberg
CEO, Waident

CIO in the corporate world and now for Waident clients. John injects order and technology into business process to keep employees productive, enterprises running, and data safe.

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