Not all IT is created equal. Most IT firms are reactive – meaning they respond to your support tickets and keep your business’ IT afloat without a clear vision toward the future. This causes frustratingly long wait times for support and a never ending succession of IT issues.
At Thriveon, we approach IT in a different way. We partner alongside your business strategy to ensure the technology you invest in works for you. We eliminate the need for excessive support tickets in the first place. We think a zero-response time is the best response time and the way to achieve that is to eliminate frustrating IT issues all together. That’s the Proactive Managed IT Difference.
Let’s examine what an IT strategy is and the differences between a reactive and a proactive approach.
Define Your Proactive IT Management Strategy
What exactly is an IT strategy? IT strategy is a blueprint to guide decisions around technology in a way that ultimately helps your company succeed.
On the surface it may only seem like a roadmap of IT initiatives and budgets aimed at the next 1-3 years. More importantly, an IT strategy is a comprehensive plan, integrated with your business plan, that outlines how you’ll use technology to meet your business goals.
View strategic IT as an asset with a known return on investment. To get the best return for your business, adopt a proactive approach to planning your IT. Let’s take a closer look at what that entails.
Differences between a proactive IT and reactive IT strategy
A reactive strategy views IT as an expense that has minimal returns. As a result, it’s cost controlled and overseen by finance. You replace software and hardware on a refresh schedule or after it fails. Your internal or outsourced IT group keeps the technology running without much mind to how it affects operations.
If your IT team doesn’t have the time or skill to help your business, the burden falls on each department head to find new technology to help their unit. While their selections might work for them, they often aren't the right change for the company as a whole. The net result is that it takes more time and money than it should to keep your technology running. Internal groups ask for more people, and external groups become overwhelmed. Responsiveness suffers.
In a proactive strategy, IT is something you invest in and it’s often overseen by an executive team that ensures that your technology use aligns with your company’s mission and vision. This business value helps your operations run more efficiently and allows teams to do more with less.
A proactive approach means you make changes to software and hardware based on the hours of time they can save you each month. You remain focused on the right long term change for the entire business. The internal or outsourced IT group not only fixes disruptions but prevents them from happening. They provide guidance on the technology changes that make your business more efficient.
Adopting new technology to help your business involves collaboration between all department heads: CEO, Sales, Operations, Finance, and IT. Collectively you choose the right long term change for the whole business based on the return on investment. Following this strategy, you implement fewer but larger changes, allowing your staff to do the same work in less time.
Why You Need a proactive IT approach
Doing more with less is imperative for your business’ success. We know you need to keep costs down and remain competitive, especially when it’s difficult to find the right people to fill positions. Technology has the power to help your company improve efficiency but most businesses fail to maximize this potential for two reasons:
- 90% of technology approaches are reactive and focused on keeping the day to day running.
- IT is seen as a general and administrative area vs a functional area. Instead of treating it like an investment, it’s put under finance as an expense to be cost controlled.
When you make IT a fully functional area that contributes to all other functional areas, you need a proactive approach. Yet when operating a SMB, there often isn’t enough budget to bring on all the different people you need to cover:
- 24/7 support
- Proactive tool management
- Network administration System administration
- Security administration
- Strategic planning
- Implementing new innovation
SMB leaders may stretch those duties and responsibilities across a couple team members or a managed service provider but they won’t be able to deliver everything you need. This is why internal IT staff and outsourced providers last only 2.5 years on average. The net result is that as your SMB grows, it does so less profitably.
From Start to Implementation: What a Proactive IT Approach Looks Like
To give you an idea what a proactive IT strategy looks like, let’s break it into support, monitoring, audits, and IT planning.
24/7 Support Gets Users Back Working When There Are Issues
- Help portal (request support, view status, and request a change)
- Self-help center for instant instruction to common questions to keep users working
- Move or Add Changes to management
- Manage technology vendor relationships
24/7 Network Monitoring Identifies Issues and Implements Protective Patches
- Network and performance monitoring and management
- Predictive hardware failure monitoring and management
- Microsoft and 3rd party remote patch/ service pack management and remediation
- Realtime virus, spam, malicious content identification, and protection
- After hours workstation and server optimization
Proactive Audit and Alignment to Best Practices Prevents Issues from Arising
- Dedicated role and process for developing technology standards
- Continual audit and alignment to standard best practices
- Review areas areas outside of alignment for business risk and costs to remediate as part of CIO steering meetings
- Manage firmware and minor application releases
- Document: WAN, LAN, Applications, Passwords, Procedures, Remote Access, Virtualization
Guidance and Direction on an IT Plan and Budget Lets Your Business Do More with Less
- Named Chief Information Officer
- Monthly steering meetings with your executive team
- Known multi year IT roadmap, productivity initiatives, risk, and budget
- Guidance on all technology: hardware, software, services warranties, versions, and other important parts of proactive IT lifecycle planning and management
Align Your Technology to Your Business
The significant investments you make in IT should serve each of your departments and your organization as a whole. Plan and budget for technology changes that align with your company’s long-term plan.
Gone are the days where your systems don’t talk to each other. Thriveon can recommend the best technologies for your industry, and work to integrate them seamlessly into your unique business needs. We also support all systems and take the extra steps to call the 3rd party on your behalf when something doesn’t seem right.
4 Benefits of A Proactive IT Approach
1. Predict and Avoid Hazards
Just as safety is about predicting and avoiding hazards, proactive IT is about predicting and avoiding technology issues before they become big problems.
2. Guide Decision Making
When you invest with a proactive attitude, the goal isn’t to just solve today’s problem. The goal is to anticipate your needs in the future whether that’s to enable specific business goals, or scale with growth.
Proactive IT promotes sustainability not only by keeping your business processes up and running, but by helping improve those processes that impact on your place in the marketplace.
4. Shape Attitude and Culture
People who work in reactive environments go to work worrying about what is going to happen to disrupt their day. With a proactive approach, your team sees IT as a tool to help them do their job. Enabled employees are more likely to share ideas on how to use technology to better serve your customers.
Thriveon’s Proactive Process
Make Thriveon your partner in IT strategy and management. Your goals become ours as we work to manage and improve your network, support your employees with a help desk, and provide ongoing IT consulting that aligns your technology with your business goals.
Bring your organization into a modern workplace and discover the proactive managed IT difference. Give us a call or schedule a meeting to learn more.