When Computer IT Support Looks like Yellow Teeth, Search for Cancer

Article by Mike Chaput on October 07, 2014
Mike Chaput
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When a company decides to change to their IT support, it is often for the same reasons. Typically it’s because IT issues are taking too long to resolve, users are experiencing repeat issues, and the current response and resolution rates are slow. While these are valid reasons for wanting to switch, it reminds me of the mentality of a smoker..

Simply put, these aforementioned problems are mere “symptoms” of poorly managed computers and below the surface are far more nefarious issues.

Consider a young smoker. In spite of understanding smoking’s link to lung cancer, the smoker continues the habit. This is because the threat of cancer is too distant and part of an unknown future the smoker can’t quite grasp. There is a strong mental bias preventing the smoker from believing it will ever happen to them.

On the other hand, when the smoker starts to get yellow teeth (in the “here and now”) It has an immediate effect on self-image and self-esteem.

Running IT poorly vs. running IT properly

Just like smoking, poorly run IT has very little immediate side effects. Like skipping an oil change for your car, you are unlikely to notice the neglect of computer maintenance in the short run. Indeed, a business may actually feel good about their poorly managed IT because they are saving money in the short term. After all, running IT properly has higher costs associated with it. Over time, small symptoms will present themselves (yellow teeth).

If these “symptoms” are painful enough, a business may be motivated in time to prevent the IT equivalent of cancer. If not, poorly managed IT always ends in the same place: extended downtime, data loss, security breaches, which ultimately lead to the loss of profits, productivity, and brand equity.

Addressing the root cause

The real concern I have for firms is that they will try to rectify the “yellow teeth” problems without addressing the root cause. This would be like going to the dentist and whitening your teeth while you continue to smoke.

However, addressing the root cause as it relates to IT requires a firm to make a large philosophical leap at the highest levels of its leadership. Leaders must come to grips with the fact that IT has become more important than it ever was in the past and the whole business has grown dependent on these systems.

Leaders must come to believe on their own that underinvesting in managing these systems is too risky. Whatever savings they achieve is myopic and doesn’t pay off in the end.

Do you have “yellow teeth”?

Are you are noticing the yellow teeth of poorly managed IT (slow turnaround on IT issues, frequent problems, less than proactive IT systems). If so, set up an appointment with us. We’re always more than happy to sit down with prospective clients and help assess some of these root causes. It would be like the first appointment with your dentist, except we can come to you, and you’ll walk away with valuable knowledge specific to your network instead of a piece of sugarless candy.

Tags: IT support

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