Increasingly, businesses are being seduced by bargain basement IT support contracts, wrongly assuming - as with, for example car insurance – that one policy arrangement is much the same as the next.
Most dangerously alluring of all, potentially, are the brand-backed services by the hardware equipment vendors themselves. To the customer, preferential terms being offered here appear easily explained by the supplier’s sheer size and economies of scale. Then there’s the argument that a hardware producer must surely be an expert in core technology. There is an assumption too that, with their heritage and reputation in the marketplace, their service offerings must be robust and reliable, among the best the industry has to offer.
More commonly, the reality is the opposite. I’d argue those that provide IT support services as a ‘bolt on’ to other, core business activities are least likely to invest in the quality and comprehensiveness of those services.
It’s not until something goes catastrophically wrong that the customer organisation finds this out. All too often, they find themselves having to wait days for spare parts so that a core system can be rebuilt (losing productivity and business in the meantime). In saving £500 on their annual service contract, they now find they may have incurred £5,000 in unforeseen ad-hoc costs, just to resolve a single incident.
It is only in crisis that customers realise what a false economy it is to skimp on IT services. If it’s a choice between spending £1,000 and getting a solid service contract that will deliver in a crisis, or halving that and leaving the business to chance, the decision should be a no-brainer.
* Paul Timms is operations director at Maindec