If you’re not sure whether or not you need to make changes to your IT set-up, ask yourself the following questions. They, and the pages they link to, have been designed to make you look critically at your existing IT operations and to assess objectively whether you’d benefit from and/or solve problems by switching provider, changing your IT habits or a bit of both.
1. What have I got?
Your IT ‘assets’ will fall into the following four categories:
If your current IT set-up is not permitting you to protect your data properly (potentially affecting your ability to meet your data protection obligations) or store and back it up adequately, then we can help. We provide back-ups to hosting clients as standard and can organise test restores and tweak back-up schedules to suit your data. If your issue is to do with using your data to your best advantage, then there’s little we can do to help, beyond recommending open source data analysis tools.
If you lack the required in-house IT skills then we can help by providing those functions, features and benefits. Hosted services remove the need for advanced IT skills among your workforce, though we assume some familiarity with the nature of services and a willingness to engage with new concepts. If your issue is to do with staff/user behaviour then much as we would like to wave a magic wand, that is an in-house issue. However you might find it useful to read our article on user behaviour.
We don’t supply hardware, but we are happy to advise and provide a second opinion on your purchase plans. Bear in mind however that moving to hosted and cloud services can remove the need to buy and maintain servers, while extending the life of office desktops, which for many companies is one of the main benefits of making the move. Additionally we can perform an audit on your in-house set-up and contracts, the results of which should help you to decide what action you need to take, if any.
Many companies spend considerable amounts of money on licenses and support/maintenance contracts etc, and become locked in for years. This lock-in feeds on itself as companies are forced to use only software that will work with their expensive proprietary software, often software they depend upon for data access. If you would like to avoid beginning this cycle, or want advice on how to break it, our in-depth knowledge of open source software, the transition to adopting it, and its interaction with proprietary systems will be invaluable.
2. Do my online services work smoothly (eg email, e-commerce)?
If this is a no, then you need us. We have an excellent record on both up-time and security and are very well-used to working with companies whose business dealings are entirely dependent on a well-running website, smoothly flowing email and seamless syncing between myriad devices and locations.
3. Can I get on as I want to?
Would you like to have access to services and processes that you don’t currently use? Do you feel that using services currently beyond your budget, know-how or processing power would allow you to progress your business in the way you want to and meet staff and client expectations? We can help you make those changes by advising on and implementing the software for you. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements.
4. Do I know how much my company spends on IT, and do I suspect it’s not giving value?
We can definitely help. We can carry out an IT spend audit to break down all IT spending, and identify any services currently paid for that aren’t needed or that could be replaced by a fee-free service. Our own fee structure is transparent and annual. There will be no surprise bills or little extras to pay for, however we can undertake and price additional projects if required. Our regular hosting prices take into account everything we believe you would reasonably expect to see included.
5. Would I like a specialist to handle domain registration etc for me?
This is one of our specialities. We routinely register and renew domains for clients. It’s vital that domain registration is carried out correctly, as failure to do so can quite legally put your domains in jeopardy. Consider the implications of that on a domain your business relies on. You can read more about domain registration best practice here.
6. Do I want to grow my company?
If you have plans for expansion then we can help. Our services are designed to scale effortlessly with no need for expensive short-term changes to your storage space. In addition we can advise on and implement the tools you need to provide broader and more ambitious features for your customers and staff.
7. Will moving to the cloud benefit me?
Quite possibly – many commentators believe that SMEs are the group that will benefit most from access to up-to-date and scalable technology previously the preserve of only the largest companies – but we’d need to chat to you further before making that judgment. You can get in touch straight away to make an enquiry, or read through our Cloud section first.
8. Am I prepared to make changes?
We don’t advocate change for change’s sake, but moving your services will mean that some things don’t look or behave the same as they did. It may mean learning to use a new program or configuring an app differently. We offer advice and publish an extensive list of very popular syncing guides and walk-throughs.
9. Do I want a new website and improved SEO?
This is more of a specialist design and inbound marketing issue, and not something we handle directly. We regularly work with third-parties who provide these services as a core offering, as well as those in related areas such as photography and brand development.
10. Do I want desktop support?
This isn’t our department. We can’t offer this while maintaining the levels of service we want to offer our hosting clients, so we would ask you to look elsewhere for that kind of support. Instead our aim is to simplify IT provision so that the desktop is easier to maintain. As little as possible should be locked to a single local PC and it should matter little what OS, manufacturer or device is connecting to the services.