SME survival guide: How much should I pay for IT support?

Managing Director

Fav thing about the office

It’s an office full of creative geeks with great banter, what’s not to love!

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

An actress

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Trash reality TV

Favourite Holiday

Walking in Wales if I am feeling energetic, Crete if I need a rest!

If I had a superpower it would be...

Mind Reading

Describe yourself in three words or less

Fun, nurturing, efficient

An interesting fact about me

My first car was a Humber Sceptre, which started my obsession with cars

Likes

Thai food, long walks with my dog, creating ideas with post it notes!

Favourite Band

I’ll listen to pretty much anything I can sing along to

Karaoke Jam

Islands in the stream, Dolly Parton

What I do at Q2Q:

My role is to provide the overall direction and “eye on the compass” as to where we, as a team are heading, setting the overall business strategy and financial budgeting.

I work with the team to ensure that there is continuous organizational performance improvement that is always customer focused, ensuring they are working collaboratively and efficiently, coaching them individually and as a team to bring out their best performance in supporting our customers.

Whilst always having been involved with systems implementation throughout my career, I have an operational background and no specific IT experience. However, if anything, I believe this makes me more qualified to ensure the team deliver great service, drawing from my operations experience, and having been on the wrong side of poor IT support in the past. I can relate to how crippling this can be to a business, making it paramount that we ensure that IT issues are as invisible as possible, leaving the customers to get on with running their businesses smoothly.

Background and Achievements

The majority of my career has been in the mad world of Fashion, on the planning and operational side. In my previous role as Operations Director for a Heritage Menswear brand, I was responsible for the end to end journey of the product, from range planning, through sourcing, production, quality control, logistics, warehousing and customer service. Some of my key achievements in this role were improving on all delivery and service KPI’s, improving quality performance from 10% rejects to 1%, and delivering a significant number of process improvements across the team, whilst also delivering a saving on costs of 10% on overheads.

• As this role spanned so many disciplines, it enabled me to focus on my true passion, which is process improvement and people development, so my proudest achievement was introducing a Continuous Improvement Project Team to the wider business, bringing a positive change culture based on a combination of ideas including Appreciative Inquiry and Solution Focus tools. The workshops we developed empowered people to solve problems cross functionally, and considerably improved communication, collaboration and efficiency, whilst making savings to the bottom line. These workshops have formed the basis of the tools I now incorporate into Q2Q, and offer as an additional consultancy service to Q2Q customers.

Hobbies and Interests

Walking with my dog, and eating out with family

When SMEs are looking to invest in IT support, many will be sold exclusively by the bottom-line cost – which isn’t always the most accurate judgement call.

We understand that any external expenditure has to have a solid business case and be able to successfully demonstrate a positive return on investment – and rightly so! That’s why business owners need to meticulously weigh-up the pros and cons of each provider – not just the pound signs – and ensure they are the best and most supportive ‘fit’ for their organisation on a much greater level.

Find out more about why we believe IT support goes above and beyond just the numbers…

The service you never knew you needed

When it comes to IT support, we want SME owners to view it in the same way they do business or home insurance. It’s the background safety net you ponder over ever month – questioning: “Is it worth it?” and “Do I really need it?” But, you know deep down that it’s a necessary cost, in case anything were to go wrong and you did need the cover.

From slow systems and hardware issues, to data back-ups and cyber-security, there are one-million-and-one problems your systems can encounter. And, in an age of increased data breaches and online threats, having that second or third-line support tool can really come in handy for businesses looking to keep their staff and company information safe.

But, with so many IT providers out there, it can be a minefield of information to navigate for SME owners without any technical background. That’s why we keep our tech-speak jargon-free, and our pricing models transparent.

You get what you pay for

This age-old saying has never rung truer than when applied to the topic of IT support.

Now, this doesn’t mean that the more expensive the service, the more comprehensive, reliable and value-adding it is – if only it were that simple. Rather, if one provider is astronomically cheaper than the other – but both claim to do the same thing on the face of it – then caution definitely needs to be taken.

Sometimes the most expensive service doesn’t live up to expectations, while the cheaper alternative can exceed it. Yet, because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach where IT support is concerned, it really comes down to which company’s values align greatest with your own, as well as whether they’re taking the time to get to know your wider business model.

So, what does ‘great’ IT support look like?

Don’t worry, this isn’t a sales pitch. Speaking from experience, we know that poor IT support can cause lots of damage – to both IT systems and overall business productivity. This is because the more issues underservicing creates, the more you’ll have to look to the firm for support.

It goes without saying, this is a vicious circle which can be utterly detracting to your business, and that’s why proactive, efficient and forward-thinking teams are the ones you really want looking after your infrastructure.

It’s easy to think – if your budget is infinite – that you’ll opt for the costliest, all-singing, all-dancing option to make your life easier, but this can be as equally damaging as not having enough protection and monitoring measures in place.

Every SME has its own mountain to climb

At Q2Q, we liken the concept of IT support to a mountain hike. Each business’s journey to reaching the peak is a different one – as each start-up, scale-up and established SME is at a different stage in its corporate journey.

If you set off without the right gear, you’ll likely come unstuck and be unable to proceed. While, if you overpack at the start – taking every item you’ll need for all stages of the journey – your chances of buckling under the pressure also increase. This is where the phrase, ‘all the gear, no idea’ comes to mind.

So, how can you keep a steady pace and ensure your climb is a steady and sustained one?

It’s simple - by keeping your firm’s IT support in the ‘what-I-need’ zone and not overstepping into under or overprepared territories.

With this in mind, when you’re next thinking about: “How much should IT really cost?” don’t fixate on the numbers, because – while they’re important for the budget – if they generate wider issues that detract your focus away from running your business, it’s definitely cheap and uncheerful, and ultimately, not worth it.

We pride ourselves on doing IT support well – and so you don’t have to – so if you’d like to get in touch and chat with us about your individual business needs, please drop us a line!

SME survival guide: How much should I pay for IT support? SME survival guide: How much should I pay for IT support?