From the minute you wake up in the morning to the minute you fall asleep at night, technology is there.
It distracts. It streamlines. It helps, confuses, and simplifies. It can do a lot — but whether that “a lot” is for the good or bad is ultimately up to the end user.
This is especially true when you consider technology in the workplace.
The technology your team uses to manage day-to-day operations could keep your business competitive, ahead of the curve, and highly productive. But you probably know this much already. At this point, the impact technology can have on a company is well known across the globe.
However, if you’ve ever heard of The Paradox of Workplace Productivity, then technology doesn’t actually seem to be helping all that much (at least in terms of productivity). In fact, while we’ve been experiencing this rapid advancement in technology, we’ve only seen a 1-2% increase in overall labor productivity.
But what does this actually mean?
In simple terms, this idea covers how much value an average worker in the economy is creating in an hour of work.
Going back to the paradox, this means that even despite advancements in technology — advancements that are supposed to make people more productive — the average employee hasn’t experienced any noticeable burst in individual output. And then, when you consider that the average U.S. full-time employee also spends more than 40 hours a week working, things seemingly appear much worse.
So what’s the problem?
Well, in reality, there are a variety of factors that potentially contribute to this particular paradox. For starters, there’s the idea that technology has given us the ability to do more in less time. Because of this, our days are filled with more responsibilities, more stress, more stuff in general.
As a result, we have more distractions; we’re pulled in a million different directions at once, and we can never fully focus on one thing at a time (therefore, our productivity doesn’t ever improve on par with the improvements of technology).
On top of this, business owners and managers are focusing far too much on individual productivity as opposed to the productivity of an organization as a whole — and the overall results. In other words, they expect more out of an individual to “earn their pay” without making a clear connection to how this person’s input (and subsequent output) affects the “greater good” of the organization.
There’s also the idea that we’re using the wrong technology at the wrong times for the wrong tasks. To make matters worse, this technology isn’t always performing as it should perform. For example, you have antiquated hardware attempting to run cutting-edge software — cutting-edge software that might be a poor fit for you to begin with.
As you can see, there are a lot of mismatches going on. So naturally, the question becomes: How do you, as a working professional, attempt to fit things in the right places to generate the right outcome?
It all starts with the quality of your technology.
Back in the day, a company only had one option when it came to maintaining its technology — break-fix. In other words, something breaks and then you fix it.
A proactive mentality simply didn’t exist. As a result, things repeatedly broke down and companies suffered immensely from downtime to repair or replace technology.
However, within the last decade or so, the proactive approach to managing a company’s IT infrastructure has started to gain popularity. But before we get into what this proactive approach consists of, let’s determine the cons of working with a break-fix IT mentality.
5 reasons the break-fix approach hurts companies in the long-term
Downtime that can be avoided, won’t be avoided.
In many situations, downtime is unavoidable. It’s merely part of running a business. But when it comes to IT in particular, downtime can be avoided or, at the very least, minimized.
However, in the case of break-fix, this isn’t doable. This is because you’re reactively dealing with technology — you wait around for something to fall apart and then react to it, which naturally means downtime. As a result of broken down, inadequately performing technology, employees will be forced to find inefficient workarounds to manage daily tasks and ultimately, productivity will be lost.
Your reputation will take a turn for the worst.
Imagine how all this downtime looks to people from the outside looking in. It can’t exactly look good, and in all actuality, it’s borderline embarrassing.
But the look of it all isn’t what you should be worrying about. It’s how it will affect your team’s ability to deliver customer service and to maintain the quality of your product.
If your technology doesn’t perform the way it should perform, then this will affect your ability to perform how you should perform. Without the tools to do your job, then your job won’t be done — or it will be done poorly.
As a result, your team will underperform, customers will be angry, and potential customers will start to notice.
The stress will follow you everywhere.
So you have bad technology (or technology that regularly performs in a bad way), and then you have an ineffective team and angry customers. Together, those things don’t exactly make for good employee morale.
To be completely honest, this doesn’t just equate to a lack of on-the-job enthusiasm. It equates to stress — and a lot of it.
Bigger and better things will not be waiting around the corner.
As you can see, everything flows together. Bad technology leads to a soiled reputation and angry customers, which ultimately leads to declining employee morale and on-the-job stress.
So what’s next? Lost opportunities.
If your employees are struggling to do their jobs, your customers are starting to notice, and internal stress is on the rise, then there’s no limit to the impact this can all have on your current and future opportunities. Not only will it be much harder to find new opportunities, but it will be near-impossible to capture opportunities once (or if) they do show up.
An hour of downtime can cost you everything.
Not only are you losing money from the stream of opportunities you’re failing to capture, but you’re also spending massive amounts of money. And where is all this money going? Into repairs, replacements, and miscellaneous fees.
That’s what happens when you suffer from bad technology … you need to spend money to repeatedly fix that bad technology. But you have to realize two things here.
First of all, the cost to repair technology once it’s broken is astounding. The hourly rate of a technician can be upwards of $150. And depending on who shows up to fix it, a seemingly simple problem can take hours (or even days) to resolve.
On top of this, you’re indirectly losing money from everything else already mentioned — the lost opportunities, the angry customers, and the unhappy employees. All of this combined with the actual downtime, goes well beyond a measly $150 dollars an hour. At this point, you’re talking thousands of dollars an hour (if not hundreds of thousands of dollars).
But what’s the alternative?
Well, the general idea is to avoid downtime. But to avoid downtime, you need to make sure that your technology is healthy.
One of the best (and perhaps only) ways to guarantee this health is with Managed Services.
What is Managed Services?
With Managed Services, you remove the “reactive” component of your IT relationship and replace it with a proactive mentality.
This means that instead of waiting around for things to break (or crossing your fingers hoping things don’t break), you take proactive steps to make sure your infrastructure remains in optimal working condition.
To do this, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) provides its clients with ongoing maintenance, support, and guidance to plan updates and detect problems before they can affect operations.
It’s comparable to when a person decides to eat multiple servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. That person doesn’t want to wait around for their body to break down, only to be forced to resolve their lack of vitamins and nutrients with time-sensitive surgeries and medicine.
It can also be compared to regularly changing the oil on a car and receiving scheduled maintenance for it. The owner of that car doesn’t want their vehicle to break down because they can’t afford to be car-less for any amount of time (just as a business can’t afford to be server-less).
Let’s discuss the top benefits of a Managed Services platform.
The top 5 benefits of Managed Services
Regular maintenance and automatic updates are key.
Like mentioned earlier, an MSP provides ongoing maintenance and support for its clients, and this is the key to that proactive approach.
The only way to make sure your technology remains healthy is to put in the work to make it healthy. If you aren’t going to put in the work, then who is?
Regular maintenance also involves a degree of automatic updates — because it has to. Imagine how vulnerable your hardware would be and how poorly it would function if it were running on obsolete or outdated software. In this case, it would only be a matter of time before that hardware no longer worked. And obviously, that wouldn’t exactly line up with a proactive IT approach.
Everything technology is at a flat, monthly fee.
The maintenance, updates, and support come to you at a flat, monthly rate. If it didn’t, then (in monetary terms) it would really be no different than paying for repair fees and labor charges as they present themselves.
This monthly fee gives you the opportunity to save money in a handful of ways.
For starters, that downtime is reduced to almost nothing — which means you can start to recover all that money that is forfeited to lost manhours, opportunities, and customers.
Secondly, you can accurately budget for IT-related expenses. Instead of wondering how much money your technology will cost you this month, you know — down to the cent — what it will be. And if you’re constantly cycling through hardware and regularly in need of IT support, then you’ll save money (not even considering the cost of downtime).
Permanent solutions are typical.
If you really think about it, a break-fix IT company makes money off of your problems. In other words, when something breaks down, that’s good for them.
However, since MSPs operate at a fixed monthly rate, they want your company to experience as few IT problems as possible. This is because they don’t make any extra money from your technology failures. They only make a profit if your technology works.
Ultimately, this means it’s a win-win situation. No party benefits from the failure of the other. It’s a true win-win relationship, with each party truly wanting good things for the other.
You receive nothing short of dedicated support.
Of course, all IT problems can’t be avoided forever. However, when things do pop up, it is the job of the MSP to make sure those problems are resolved quickly.
Again, they want — no, actually, need — things to be up and running for you at all times. The longer your problem sits unresolved, the worse it will be for both you and the MSP.
Sure, you might experience a small degree of downtime, but the typical MSP can resolve the majority of common IT issues within two hours. Imagine how much longer it would take to resolve your problem if you had to hunt down a break-fix IT company — especially one who knows nothing about your company or your environment.
Will they be available right then and there? Probably not. Will they need to spend extra time to understand how your infrastructure works? Yes. Will they have the experience and resources necessary to fix your problem? Maybe.
Strategic guidance is usually part of the package.
Technology isn’t just about the here and now. It’s also about the future. You need to be strategic with what you purchase, the renovations you make, and the paths you decide to take.
A bad decision today will lead to major problems in the future (mostly because technology can get expensive and it takes a lot of work to backtrack).
However, with an MSP at your side, this strategic take on technology is much more doable. You see, an MSP isn’t just there to address your current needs. They can also help you understand how technology can impact your future and help you make better IT decisions in the process.
In many cases, you can think of your MSP as your virtual CIO.
How does Immense differ from the typical MSP?
Here at Immense Networks, we run things differently than the average MSP.
Sure, we still provide all the benefits an MSP normally provides — but we take things a step further than that. We take things to automation.
As teenagers in high school, the founders of Immense were enthralled by the abilities of technology. They truly believed — and still believe to this day — in technology’s ability to simplify and improve.
This is why we’ve gone above and beyond the average MSP to custom-build a tool known as ImmyBot. This IT maintenance tool automatically monitors performance, handles maintenance, and sets up new workstations all on its own.
It’ll even regularly send you email reports detailing what’s been done, what will be done, and any suggested improvements. If you’d like to take ImmyBot up on any of these improvements, the email comes equipped with a “click-to-update” feature.
With the introduction of ImmyBot, things are handled quicker and very few items slip through the cracks (and all because of a little automation). However, this is only one of the ways we’ve managed to transform the everyday standard of Managed Services.