Computer Service Myths

Ever been burned by one of these computer service myths?

[+] Our computers don't need regular maintenance… they just run!
Computer equipment, like anything else with moving parts, needs regular maintenance to run well. Those who neglect having their systems serviced usually end up having to replace failed hardware or reload systems that eventually become too unstable, constantly crash, or perform improperly. With proper maintenance, your computer systems will last longer and run better and you can avoid the costly emergencies and lost productivity that would otherwise result.
[+] Our network is just “slow” and there isn't really anything that anyone can do about it.
This is one of the great scapegoats of computer troubleshooting. Another example along the same lines would be "Just reboot it. It's normal to have to reboot your computer all the time." When technicians may not have the skills or desire to deal with certain problems, they write off the problem as some great mystery. If there is a problem, there is obviously a source to the problem and an accompanying solution. True professionals don't offer excuses and true businesspeople don't accept them!
[+] Technology can't really help my business or impact our bottom line.
When implemented incorrectly, technology can end up being just another expense to maintain and a "necessary evil" of doing business. But when technology solutions are implemented correctly as calculated and measured solutions to improve your business, technology will cut costs, improve performance, and put you miles in front of your competition. Technology solutions can address all areas of business including communications, the storage and exchange of information, scheduling, inventory, accounting, research, operations, management, and marketing.
[+] Upgrading computer hardware and software is just too expensive to be worth the cost.
While it doesn't always pay to be on the bleeding edge of technology, it can also be a costly mistake to get too far behind. Many major network problems can be solved or simply avoided by not letting software and hardware become out-of-date. For example, software incompatibility issues with new printers, scanners, or other devices are much less likely to occur if you are running the latest version of Windows. New technologies that can address your business’s growing needs usually depend on the latest versions of software and compatible current hardware specifications. When you get too far behind on software versions, new updates create problems and performance issues with older hardware because software developers expect you to be on newer hardware. By keeping your systems up-to-date, maintenance and troubleshooting costs of your computers are greatly reduced and technology opportunities are opened to your business as you don’t fall behind technology demands.
[+] The primary job of the computer guy is simply to keep the computers (and server) running.
As a business owner, you don't always have time to keep up with the latest technology trends and emerging products that might be an asset to your business. Who should fill this position? In a large corporation it would be the CIO (Chief Information Officer) or CTO (Chief Technology Officer) who would help determine a vision and roadmap for the use of technology in meeting corporate goals. In your organization, this role should be filled by your computer service providers. Unfortunately, too many technicians remain largely uninterested in learning about your business goals (or even your business in general!) and feel that their primary capacity is just to keep the computers running smoothly.
[+] The advanced technology solutions that would really impact our business are out of our price range.
Many would be surprised to discover the powerful solutions that are packaged into software that they already own! Other solutions that may appear to be too costly at first may quickly become more attractive when a cost-benefit analysis is performed against the solution with your specific business model. With emerging technologies such as Open-Source software and the Cloud, there are many more low-cost options which compete to help your business try out the solutions that can really make an impact without killing you on the investment.
[+] It is less expensive to just hire “Uncle Bob”, a student, or a “bargain” computer technician.
It seems these days that everybody dabbles in computers. Sources of seemingly inexpensive computer services range from using college students, computer hobbyists, or even computer technicians who moonlight for extra money. They may (or may not) charge substantially less than professional consultants to accommodate for their learning curve and unfamiliarity with your network. While this may at first seem agreeable to your wallet, consider the following points:
  • Your network becomes a test bed of trial and error and any savings are quickly eaten up by the costs of lost productivity or having to fix problems.
  • Professionals who specialize in servicing networks like your own are able to identify and fix problems much more quickly than others, saving you both time and money.
  • Those who are inexperienced with servicing the computer needs of the Small-Business sector are usually unaware of the popular cost-effective technology solutions that could benefit your business. Thus, the options that they present are limited by their experience and not usually the best use of your budget.
  • Only professionals keep abreast of the changes (and specifically the technology improvements) in your specific industry and become invaluable in helping you make informed decisions that give you the advantage over your competitors.
[+] Nobody in their right mind would spend “x” amount of dollars on computer services!
Some businesses maintain meager technology budgets while others seem to spend vigorously. Those that maintain a generous technology budget and invest it wisely continue to improve their bottom line and outpace their competitors. Meanwhile, those that have been burned in the past by technology usually look at the "insane" spending and simply dismiss it with the thought that "if we were doing as well as they were, we would be able to afford those luxuries as well."

Experienced technology professionals can help you determine whether a solution is "too expensive" or whether it will be an investment that will pay for itself many times over. There is no substitute for performing a proper Cost-Benefit Analysis of each business project to help determine which solutions will boost your business.

[+] If they charge less than “x” dollars per hour, they must not be any good.
One of the great myths that some computer service providers would have you believe, is that if they charge a lot, they must be worth it. A less-obvious manifestation of this is when computer consultants charge more for their services because they have, say for example, over 20 years of experience. So how much of your specific technology is over 20 years old? Let's say you are running Windows XP on your network. How long has Windows XP been around (it was released in 2001)? How many years of experience could someone possibly have on Windows XP? So do you still feel benefited by "over 20 years of experience"? Probably not enough to justify billing rates that have been inflated simply because someone feels they should be getting their due for having been in the industry for so long.
[+] All computer guys/technicians are created equal.
The "computer industry" is a vast and diverse place representing everything from programmers to web developers to networking and telecommunications and more. Of all the various job descriptions that may fall under "computer engineer" or "computer consultant", there is probably none more demanding and more challenging than the job of the consultant that supports the SMB (Small to Medium Business) sector. Not just anyone can do it well. For example, take your typical network technician from, let's say, Boeing. They never need to touch or fix the telephone system. There is a special department for that. They never need to troubleshoot or support the accounting software. Another department deals with that. They don't need to perform a Cost-Benefit Analysis on any given solution. Upper management has already done that and made the decision. Yet an SMB Consultant needs to be skilled enough to be your entire Information Systems department and more.

Avoid the consulting firms who are constantly focusing on "the big fish" and simply serving small businesses to regulate cash flow. And certainly don't leave the fate of your network in the hands of amateurs or hobbyists. Go with experienced professionals who will focus on your business and get the results you deserve! Contact us at Locke Systems for a Network Analysis or a Free One-Hour Consultation to get past these myths and on with improving your business!