Message from Owner
PC Miracles Introduction – Dan Izydorek
We're technology consultants, but technology is only a means to an end. So to move the needle for my clients, I focus on delivering three things.
- Better productivity
- Lower risk
- Guidance, strategy, and advice to help them create a long-term plan, a detailed roadmap, and budgets based on what their objectives are
Traditional IT Support Companies
Most traditional IT support companies don't do that. They aren't able to do that because
- They haven’t changed their business model to do it.
- They haven’t developed processes to do it.
- They haven't hired and developed a team of people with the skills to do it.
We used to be like that 14 years ago, but that doesn't make them bad at what they do.
They are good at what they do; it's just something different from what we do today.
It’s taken me years to get to this point and deliver a service like this.
Let me tell you my story because I know it will give you an excellent idea of how we operate and will be helpful in your decision-making.
I used to fix problems the old way Traditional IT Support companies did.
We'd rush around, deal with problems as fast as we could, and made sure the users were happy when we finished.
But I found there were two fundamental problems with that model.
Firstly, no matter how fast we fixed problems, it didn't slow down the flood of issues… because it didn't prevent any issues. It was reactive. And no matter how nice we were, clients were frustrated, and so was I because I knew that most of the problems coming at us could have been prevented.
But I realized my clients needed something more… and I figured out how to give them more.
The issue was that the role of technology in business changed. One of my clients described it well. She used to say that a strong company was like a stool in the past, and it needed three strong legs to be stable... people, product, and process. If anyone were weak, the business would be unstable… just like a 2-legged stool. But now she sees it as a 4-legged chair, and the 4th leg in a successful business is technology. So technology became a strategic senior management issue.
So I embarked on a journey to change my business in a way that helped clients.
- Reduce the number of IT problems dramatically
- Help them improve their productivity and agility
- Make sure the results they were getting matched their business strategy and were affordable for them.
This meant changing my business model.
The first thing I did was supplement our reactive support with a model I knew would prevent most issues from happening in the first place.
I analyzed the thousands of support problems reported to us. I discovered there was a way to do everything that either created problems or prevented them.
Over about five years, we created hundreds of best practices that standardized everything. They prevented problems… I expected that, but I got a significant bonus that I didn't anticipate… because everything was set up the same way engineers didn't need to spend lots of time understanding the setup. Instead, they could get straight to problem-solving and fix the problem faster for users. As a result, our clients experienced, on average, an 80% or better drop in difficulties.
But technology is in a constant state of change…it doesn't stay standard.
- Adding, removing, swapping computers & moving users
- Adding, upgrading, and updating applications and operating systems to get them on the latest version
- Changing and updating the networks and servers
- Protecting against the latest security risks
We moved three senior technicians into the role of Network Compliance Engineers (NCE) to spend time every month managing clients' networks and ensuring they were aligned with our ever-changing and improving standards.
And I assigned them to specific clients so that it wasn't a different NCE every month. That way, they got to know you, your business, and your networks. Everything was too standard and thoroughly documented on our client's network, so we never missed a beat if the NCE was on holiday or left.
Of course, I still have a helpdesk because it's not possible to prevent every problem.
But because we have a much lower ticket support volume and standards in place, the helpdesk engineers have the time to help the users, get to the root cause of the problem, prevent it from happening again, and give feedback to the NCE about any changes they should make to your network.
That took care of resilience. Clients had a stable technology platform that did not get in their way – it worked – that's the way it should be… the least you should expect.
That's a significant gain, but once you have that in place, you can take an even more critical step that very few businesses can take.
Then you can improve your team's productivity significantly by using technology more effectively and strategically. That's a massive needle mover for most businesses today.
I started providing the strategy and advice to our clients. I worked with them to understand their business goals, and I co-created a technology roadmap with them. This helped them control their budget, invest in the right things and make a big dent in productivity.
Effectively I became their part-time Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO), working with them to get the results they needed.
I found it was vital we met at least once a quarter to review progress against the plan and raise any significant issues that the NCE had found.
Then I hired specialist vCIO's to perform that role.
The NCE's & vCIO's are not helpdesk engineers with a different hat on – they can't do these roles.
Fractional Technology Management
Big companies that are getting great results from their IT have figured this out. They know a helpdesk isn't enough; they proactively manage networks and have a clear strategy and an affordable investment plan.
That's what we deliver for our clients – what my clients called the 4th leg of the chair in a modern business.
Of course, you don't need a whole NCE or a whole vCIO to do this. That wouldn't be financially viable. You only need a fraction of them and a management process developed from years of experience managing dozens and dozens of different networks.
I called this whole thing Fractional Technology Management.
LESS for MORE
Even though this is a model that works for companies where technology is critical to their business for various reasons, we may not be a good fit for you.
I completely understand if you want to…
- Stick with just a traditional helpdesk
- Choose a company that is cheaper than us
The key is to choose a service that matches the results you need.
The old-school helpdesk model might be all you need… and your guys are probably great at this… but I'd hate to see you make the mistake that I see people sometimes make in going with somebody less expensive, thinking they will get the results we deliver.
You can't do it.
There's an expense associated with hiring the senior people– NCE's and vCIO's. You can't use junior helpdesk engineers with a different hat on. It won't work. And you need to spend time refining and working on standards and processes… it never ends.
So, my customers, who face the same decision, decide to invest more because of how they view technology. They see technology as a business driver, the 4th leg of the chair needed to run a successful business today. It moves the needle for them and… the investment pays off five or maybe even 10-fold.
So, when they look at a couple of $$ a month more, they see the value… a 5-10X return on the investment. They look at it in the context of payroll and operating costs of a couple of hundred $$ every month. Spending a couple of $$ to make things run smoother, improve productivity, improve competitiveness and reduce risk seems like an excellent investment to them.
So, make your decision on the result you need.
Dealing with the issue that everyone says they are proactive
Proactive is an overused word… it's got such a broad definition, and everyone says they are proactive, so you've got to be careful about what it means… you've got to scrape away the surface and look underneath at the detail of what it means.
Have they documented hundreds of standards and best practices… have a look… ask to see them… look at the reports they produce on their clients to know that they have them and are correctly aligned.
The process of producing the standards, keeping them up to date, and checking client systems to ensure they are aligned with those standards is key to this.
Have a look at a vCIO review so that you know what you are getting. Then, ask for the job descriptions for the NCE & vCIO… because a frontline helpdesk engineer with a different hat on can't do this. In my business, 50% of my people are proactive.
Dan Izydorek, Owner