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Choosing An IT Person
by Mike Dauphinee - CTS Team



Finding an IT Person

Every now and then, everybody needs a little help with something. Sometimes we are afraid to call out and get help. There can be many reasons for this, it could be time, cost or perhaps embarrassment or pride.When it comes to computers, a lot of us just don't know who to trust. We know things are not working right, but they seem to get work well enough so it is not the problem of the day.


So we put it off . . . and things get progressively worse. And worse, and worse until one day your computer just no longer works right, if it works at all.  We all procrastinate. We all postpone, we all prioritize.  But put off computer problems long enough and you might reach the point of no recovery!

You may be forced to just start over!


Starting over, on a computer system, is very time consuming and time is money. If your computer has important data on it, it is more costly than taking the initiative to get it fixed by a professional.You don't have to wait until you need help to start a relationship with a computer professional. In fact, the best time to start that relationship is when things are working well. You don't have to shy away from calling or writing a computer professional and beginning a professional relationship. There are plenty of competent people out there. But, like doctors, they often specialize. They have general knowledge in some areas, but are experts and focus on certain aspects of the computer or technology that supports the computer.


There are email specialist, security specialists, server specialists, networking specialists, hardware and software specialists among many others. And like doctors, there are other who are general practitioners. They understand all of the above and even perform some of it, they are the ones that you want to see on a day to day basis to keep your costs low and to help you when you do need a specialist. They are the ones you trust and have a relationship with. They serve your best interests.


So how do you select this person whom you will trust with all things geek? How do you know the person is qualified to work on your computer? Doctors are licensed and tested, do geeks get certified too? Yes! There are certifications in the computer world that demonstrate that someone passed a test on computer knowledge, but this alone is not enough.  All the certifications in the world are useless if the professional lacks communication skills or business knowledge.  If they're brilliant but undependable, unresponsive and not punctual -- they're not a professional.


Communication & accessibility is important.


When your computer has problems, you may be under a tremendous amount of stress. You need someone that can bring the technical down a level to something meaningful to you. You want competence, but you also need communication.


You also need someone who is accessible. Using the doctor analogy again, what good is a doctor that requires you to make an appointment 3 months ahead of time when you have the flu and need help now?  Your business is not going to wait a week without a critical system working. Downtime is money, money is lifeblood for your family and the families of those that work for you. Do you have the cell number of your IT guy? Do they answer when you call and do they respond to your needs?


What about cost?  Aren't computer professionals expensive?  Can I afford this?


Costs these days are a big factor in every business decision. We all want to save money. Money seems to drive everything business, but it does not have to be everything in life, other values are important too. IT people normally charge by the hour, their time is how the value of what they provide is monetized. Which brings us to another important point, value. Rather than shop by just the hourly rate, put in place the above factors in your evaluation. (Competence, Communication & Accessibility) These things will bring you to a true cost and value of your IT person. Will they have the above factors and then will they bill you fairly. Some folks charge less, but bill you for every minute they think about you and your problems. Others charge more, but only bill for time they are in front of you. Some allow free phone support and only charge when you have them doing a project. There are many variables, but cost is a product of time. Establish up front what is billable and what is not and plug it into the other factors to determine the value of the services.


Last, but most important, is results.


You can find the nicest, most accessible and cheapest IT person, but in the end, what you really want is results. You don't want to pay someone just because you like them. You like them because they deliver the results you want for a price that you can afford and they make the process palatable if not even enjoyable. How do you determine results? Don't you have to actually get them to do something before you know? Well, yes and no. You can work through find someone who is accessible, valuable, and candid by just reaching out and talking to them and trusting your own judgment. But how can you tell if they get results and quantify the type of results? There are a multitude of ways, online referral services, word of mouth, length of experience and old fashioned references.

 Your IT person should make you comfortable such that either, they will perform and get you results in an efficient (timely and with minimal business interruption) and cost effective way, of they can bring in and manage for you outside services that can complete that special project with the same criteria they perform under. Remember, the IT person is your interface to all things technical. They will do the general duties on a regular basis and call in (with your consultation) and direct the specialist when necessary. If the IT person you select has been doing their profession for some time, you can probably gather that they have been successful at pleasing others the way you want to be pleased. They will be more than happy to share with you information about what they have done and how they have done it. Use your judgment as IT people are not immune to embellishing or overstating their accomplishments.


Start the relationship before the crisis hits!


When you find the right IT person, you tend to want to keep them around for some time. You will trust them with critical and often sensitive information. You will want to develop a strong relationship. You would benefit to share the visions you have for your company. Technology is a foundational thing in business today. I t also takes time to build a strong foundation. As such, it should be not be an oversight or taken for granted. In fact, the cost effective way is to create a foundational vision for technology and work towards where you want to be and making adjustments as you go according to changes around you in your business. The foundation you set forth will support that and not require a rebuild every time you change something on the surface. This way you can spread costs and be flexible to changing trends. Like medicine and doctors, there are many practices in technology that will yield results in cost effective ways.

Establishing this relationship before an emergency is essential!  Your competent computer professional needs time to get to know your system, your business processes, your needs and other critical items that sustain your business. Getting the right practitioner of these is a task worth undertaking. Keeping them is a valuable asset to your business. This will help insure your success.


We hope you choose wisely and we hope you choose CTS.  Call, text or email us.

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