Proactive IT vs. Reactive IT

Sam Bloedow
managed it services worker

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 differently. 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 altogether. 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 for the next one to three years. More importantly, an IT strategy is a comprehensive plan integrated with your business plan outlining 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 considering 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 correct change for the company as a whole. The net result is keeping your technology running takes more time and money than it should. 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 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 fixes disruptions and prevents them from happening. They guide 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. You choose the correct long-term change for the whole company based on the return on investment. Following this strategy, you implement fewer but more significant 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 finding the right people to fill decisions is difficult. Technology has the power to help your company improve efficiency, but most businesses fail to maximize this potential for two reasons:

  1. 90% of technology approaches are reactive and focused on keeping the day-to-day running.
  2. 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.

You need a proactive approach when you make IT a fully functional area that contributes to all other functional areas. Yet when operating a small to medium-sized business (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 
  • Budgeting
  • Implementing new innovation

SMB leaders may stretch those duties and responsibilities across a couple of 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 of what a proactive IT strategy looks like, let’s break it down 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 third-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 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 essential 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 strategy. 

Gone are the days when 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 business needs. We also support all systems and take the extra steps to call the third party on your behalf when something seems wrong. 

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 anticipating 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 solve today’s problem. The goal is to anticipate your future needs, whether that’s to enable specific business goals or scale with growth.

3. Sustainability

Proactive IT promotes sustainability by keeping your business processes up and running and by helping improve those processes that impact your place in the marketplace.

 4. Shape Attitude and Culture

People who work in reactive environments go to work worrying about what will 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 using technology to serve customers better.

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. 

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