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Mistake # 5: Using Un(der) Qualified People for IT Service

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While on the surface having a friend, neighbor, relative, or someone at work in charge of your IT may not seem like that bad of a move, I would think only when it comes to dog walking would you think this is ok in any other aspect of your life.  Imagine having your nephew who's "really good" at math do your tax returns for you.  Or imagine having your butcher giving you a second opinion (or a first for that matter!) on the best way to remove your gall bladder (remember, he's really good with knives).  Or imagine bringing your mini-van in to your local bike shop to fix your brakes (they're just brakes, how hard should it be?).  All of these scenarios may seem far fetched, but in reality the comparison's not that far off from your nephew building your website, your receptionist installing your ERP system, or your office administrator being "responsible" for patching and upgrading your workstations and servers.  Assuming someone is capable of such responsibility just because they can download and install software is a bad move.  An under-qualified person is never a good move both in the short term or the long term.  Certainly they're not qualified to give IT advice. A good IT person is always trained, certified, and experienced enough to work within the complexities of a business IT environment.  The fact is while technology is sold over and over again by the big boys (Microsoft, Cisco, HP, etc.) as being easy and no different from a home appliance, in a business setting it's really so much more.

It's clear that people who use under-qualified people for their IT a) sometimes don't really know they are and/or b) are thinking they're saving money by doing this.  In actuality, this couldn't be further from the truth.  Because they've fallen into this trap, most small businesses who do this actually end up spending more money just to correct the mistakes of this approach.  Every "best in class" business I've ever seen or heard of takes their technology seriously, allocates appropriate resources to it (ie: quality and quantity), and invests in the long term.  Rich people get rich by investing - not cutting corners.  The same is true when running your IT.  Cutting corners will always cost you more in the long run and take you to places you really don't want to be.  And having under-qualified people providing your IT service is one of the fastest ways of getting there.  And as they say, "Don't go there".


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Home > Our Company > Blog > What's in Store for 2009?

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What's in Store for 2009?


2008 was one of the worst years for the economy in a long, long time. I think we're all ready to put it behind us and look forward to 2009. But what's in store for 2009?

Here we are at the most technologically advanced time in the history of the world and yet while also in one of the deepest recessions since the 30's. We're already seeing companies holding back rather than looking forward. Unfortunately, this mindset will prevent many companies from taking advantage of all that technology now has to offer. Some of the hot topics that we look to see more of in 2009 include:

cloud computing
managed services
virtualization
increased storage requirements and capabilities
disk vs. tape backup
online backup
web conferencing
video conferencing
VOIP / unified communications

These all have their strengths and weaknesses, but the bottom line of most of these is how they can help companies become more cost effective in how they utilize technology.
Posted by Brett Schoneman at 1/16/2009 8:24 AM

I think that you are right about the amazing future for cloud computing. This is a topic that I had heard as a buzzword for some time now, but as I really start to understand the implications of it I am excited for the future. Of course along with these exciting technologies come the darker clouds of privacy and security, so we need to trust in the higher power of working together and shared resources, but also need to lock our doors just in case.
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Palm says they're not looking to take over or cut into Apple's dominance in this area. Their approach is there's still plenty of room for a competitor.
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It's one thing to aim to be "better" than our competitors, but it's another to be seen as "Best in Class". This not only goes to the services we provide, how we deliver those services, the value we provide, but ultimately to the performance of our company as a business. Being in business for 17+ years, we've seen a lot of trends come and go.
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It's one thing to aim to be "better" than our competitors, but it's another to be seen as "Best in Class". This not only goes to the services we provide, how we deliver those services, the value we provide, but ultimately to the performance of our company as a business. Being in business for 17+ years, we've seen a lot of trends come and go.
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Before you ask yourself - Do I have an "IT guy" or a "Trusted Advisor"? - first you have to ask yourself, "do I care?" If you don't, then there's no doubt that you have an "IT guy". Regardless of what he's capable of, if that's all that you're ever going to see him delivering, then that's all he's ever going to be. If you do care, then even before you ask yourself what you have, you have to consider what you want.
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For example, as I discussed in my previous blog, everything requires ongoing maintenance and administration - so there are always related costs to anything you implement. This (ongoing maintenance and administration) is one of the most significant components of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).
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This mistake is one of the hardest for some clients to get past. Some don't get past it until they get burned by it themselves, while others may never get past it. I'm a big believer in "you get what you pay for" and this turns out to be no truer than when spending on technology.
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Way too often we've seen clients pushing the envelope on how long they keep technology in production (see my blog post on the Really, Really story). These are usually NOT the Best in Class performers in their industries.
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Where I was going with this is - it's ok in almost every business owner's eyes to spend $200 - $400 a month on health insurance per employee, but spending even 1/2 of this to make sure THE most important tool EVERY one of their employee uses EVERY day to ensure up-time and consistent productivity is too much to ask.
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About the Author
Craig Pollack
Craig Pollack Blog Profile Image Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, their business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology most effectively to achieve their business objectives. Craig focuses on ensuring that the technologies implemented by clients are "business centric" and key components of their businesses' success, and that this approach is shared by every staff member of FPA.
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