I’ve spent my entire career – 25 years and counting – in the SMB tech space.
Like most IT professionals, I love technology.
But I’ve learned something really important over the years I have spent supporting business leaders and their organizations:
Technology is not what ultimately matters to our clients. The performance of their business is what matters.
Most IT folks are technologists through and through. I was too when I started in this industry.
But I’ve evolved, and my company has evolved with me. We think business first, technology second. Because we’ve recognized that technology is not ultimately what matters to our clients – what matters to our clients is the success and profitability of their business.
Technology is just a means to that end.
There’s a big difference between an IT company that is purely focused on technology, and an IT company, like Proactive IT, that thinks business first, tech second.
A good, tech-focused IT company will likely provide you with good technology solutions. But they might not be the right tech solutions for your business. Because most IT folks understand technology but don’t think as a business owner thinks.
For example – a smart IT person knows that keeping computers updated with the latest patches to their operating systems is very important. So they turn on “Automatic Updates” to make sure that their clients’ computer systems stay updated and secure.
However, a businessperson who understands IT knows that while keeping systems up to date is important, they also recognize that having their clients’ machines inoperable during the workday while an update is “automatically” installed is a bad business outcome because it hurts productivity and morale. So rather than turning on automatic updates – which is the “easier” way to do this – they will manage the update process and necessary reboots so that they happen when they will not impact the productivity of staff.
That’s because the business-oriented IT professional understands that productivity is really important to the business they’re serving – and that losing access to their computers for updates during the day is a poor approach.
Tech-focused IT people think about technology. Business-focused IT people think about how technology serves the larger goals of the business.
At Proactive IT, one of our primary goals is to support the productivity of the businesses we serve. And we’ve developed a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to help us measure that goal. We refer to it as “Reactive Hours per Endpoint per Month” – or RHEM for short.
RHEM measures how much “unscheduled” work we do per customer computer we support.
And we want that number to be as low as possible – because reactive, unscheduled work on an employee’s computer means that they’re losing productivity.
A tech-focused IT company wants to be responsive to their customers when they have a problem. And that’s a good goal – it’s important to respond quickly when we’re needed. But a business-focused IT company understands that the best way to support their customers is to eliminate the necessity of the support call in the first place.
That’s why, at Proactive IT, we strongly prefer not to bill our customers by the hour. Billing by the hour creates the wrong incentive for an IT company. Because, if you think it through, it means that the IT company is making money when their customer has a problem.
Instead, at Proactive, we prefer to charge a monthly fixed fee. This aligns our incentives with our customers – we’re incentivized to prevent problems from occurring in the first place, so that our customers don’t have to waste their time calling our helpdesk and can instead focus on doing their jobs.
On average, we’re able to reduce RHEM from 1 hour when we start working with a new customer down to about 15 minutes within about 12 months. That’s can mean an extra 45 minutes of productivity, per employee, per month – which adds up fast!
And that’s because we’re focused on business outcomes, not technology outcomes.
Technology exists to support your business – NOT the other way around.
Does your IT vendor understand that?
If you’d like to have a conversation about your business IT strategy, please reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-464-3075 extension 3.
Dedicated to IT security and productivity,
About Steve Kennen
As an expert in information technology infrastructure management, cybersecurity, and cyber risk management practices for small businesses, Steve spearheads initiatives that keep his clients secure and their business operations running smoothly. His core message is that the details matter.