The outsourcing of support functions is traditionally done by businesses because it is cheaper to do so than have the skills in house. For a small business with only a few persons it usually doesn’t make sense to have an IT department and in any case a single IT person is unlikely to have the time to learn all the skills needed in today’s complex technological environment.
Some technology vendors pitch their products only at larger enterprise customers because the complexities of what they are offering demands a skilled IT department. The rapidly changing pace of communications technology now even leads to large FTSE 100 organisations outsourcing support and management of IT networks.
The case for partnering with a company that can handle all aspects of a business’ communications technology needs is made even stronger when a company is operating across multiple locations, helped to no small degree by the continually increasing costs of travelling to these sites.
Multiple locations needn’t what might be described as branch offices. They could just be the company sales force working from their home office. The problems are the same.
A home worker having problems with his or her broadband connection is potentially going to consume just as much of an IT person’s time as if it were a major IP connection coming into the corporate headquarters building. Is it actually a broadband problem or is the analogue line faulty? Is it a router problem? Has the micro-filter stopped working?
The list of problems that could happen is a long one and not just limited to broadband. Here is a typical but not exhaustive list of the standard type of problem encountered by the Timico Technical Support Team in its day to day support of remote locations and networks.
- What about when a mobile phone stops working or someone has bought a new car and needs their mobile car kit changing over, or they are having network problems with their mobile data card? What do you do?
- Email stops working – is the vpn connection running properly? Has a setting been changed on the corporate firewall? Is remote (or corporate) IP connection running slow and therefore dropping VPN sessions? This leads on to other network latency issues such as access to corporate applications such as billing and CRM platforms running slowly.
- Is the security at the remote site as good as the one at the main office? For example are they running an insecure wireless LAN? Is the remote virus checking software up to date? Are you opening up the corporate network to security holes by allowing remote users with less stringent internet access policies to connect in to the HQ?
What happens when there is a problem with a remote PC? Printer? local network?
Are you incurring call charges for site to site communications (you shouldn’t be)? Can you dial by extension user to user on different sites (you should be able to)?
Business continuity at each site – what happens if a certain functions at remote site go down? Is your phone system covered by a maintenance contract? Is it the phone system or the phone line that is actually broken?
Got any hair left?
These problems affect all business but the more sites a business have the greater is the level of complexity that is introduced. The sensible solution is to find a partner that can help deal with any problem that comes your way.
This doesn’t mean that someone is going to be spending all their time travelling. The only sensible approach to support is to be set up to be able to do it remotely. This means having access to a professional suite of network monitoring and diagnostic tools. It also means having access to multiple skill sets of people who have seen these problems before, many times, and know how to go about fixing them.
Enter Timico stage right…