Understanding the ROI of world-class managed IT

roiDuring the 1800s Sir James Goldsmith coined the idiom, “You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” The modern iteration is, “you get what you pay for.” 

Good thing Goldsmith wasn’t referring to elephants. Can you imagine paying peanuts and getting elephants?

You all know the phrase; you hear it all the time. 

And, it is true, you indeed get what you pay for. Perhaps it is a cliché, or nearly a rule of thumb that we can loosely apply to many things in life. Of course, it doesn’t always work that way. You can pay a lot for something and not get value out of it. That said, this rule does generally work better on the other side of that equation: it is very rare to pay a little and get a lot, elephants aside. 

For example, you can pay a premium price for a car and get a lemon. It is very difficult to invest a minimal amount in a car and get a premium, reliable vehicle.

IT Price 

These same economic rules apply to IT support. There is no assurance that paying a lot of money will get you a great IT environment. However, it is almost certain you will get IT mediocrity if you invest minimally in this part of your business. 

There is a rule of thumb in the IT industry (and in most industries): “You offer what you charge.” For the person who wants great IT, “You get absolutely no more than what you pay for.”

Our apologies if we did not adequately forewarn you of the habit, we employ of the turning of phrases.  

Smart Dolphins IT Solutions is a managed IT service provider (MSP) not a break-fix IT business. We care too much about our clients to not charge enough. This has resulted in some seeing us as expensive or as a luxury. We have heard the turn of the following phrase, “We need a Honda, not a Ferrari.”

That’s on us. We don’t offer Ferraris.  

For our clients, who rely heavily on their IT, we are their cheapest option. For example, for the busy insurance company, law firm or non-profit with say 30 users who are all using technology strategically, we leverage their IT investment incredibly well compared to a more basic service. We lower their problems and risks, help them budget and be strategic. We create a progressive IT environment. All this pays back so much more than the additional investment made to get out of IT debt.

I can also honestly say there are very few times through our various learning experiences as a company where we struggled to pay a return on an clients’ investment — but full disclosure it has happened in the past. We have also taken on a few customers that had previously spent a ton and got very little. You can’t just throw money at problems. 

More importantly, I can say with certainty that we could not lead our clients out of IT mediocrity (and technical debt) without asking them to invest in what it takes to get them there. 

Are you paying your IT support partner enough? 

Do you have new targets and goals that you are chasing? 

PR Newswire report that 56 per ent of small to medium sized businesses plan to pay more in compensation to employees. Smart Dolphins IT Solutions considers itself to be the IT department for each client we partner with. So, our own little phrase is we become a natural extension of their business. However, if IT rates are often the dominating line item in the list of requirements for businesses seeking better IT help, this is a conflict of intentions. 

Instead of acting as a contractor or providing just a break-fix level of support, we incorporate as much of a client’s business into our IT roadmap planning as necessary. This is an in-depth and resource-heavy process. Yet it’s necessary, so we can: 

  1. Fully understand each of our clients intimately 
  2. Ensure their technology and proactive approach makes it easy for them to hit their growth goals by aligning their IT goals with the business plan 

Picking an IT provider on price alone is a false economy. If you are paying too little, you are running into risks: 

  • Inability to truly partner with IT provider 
  • Security risks 
  • Technical debt  
     

How about another aphorism: “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is?” 

Paying too little just means that your provider is under resourced. This leads to mediocrity and worse, technical debt. And just like financial debt, it is more expensive to climb out of it than it would have been to invest appropriately to begin with.  

If your IT provider is not proactively doing what they should be to keep your business and its data protected you are putting your business at risk. This leads to your staff suffering decreased productivity and increased hassle, and to repeat security and technical debt. 

Staff churn and retention can become an issue with an unsatisfactory work environment. This is especially true with a skilled work force.   

The virtual chief information officer (vCIO) that we assign to you, creates a well-crafted and thorough IT roadmap. The vCIO, with your help, creates a long, medium, and short-term plan. We also consider your immediate needs.  

A great plan will reduce the need for tickets to the helpdesk. 

It means investing in the best available tools and technologies so to monitor what’s happening to every device on every part of your network against an ever-improving list of hundreds of industry best practices. Constantly looking for early symptoms of issues that can create problems and interrupt your staff. 

And then the attendant virtual IT manager solves those problems, often before anyone is aware of them. 

Smart Dolphins isn’t the right IT provider for every organization; not every company can or needs to prioritize their IT, however, most do. But what I will say is that nobody that invests “way less” gets the same results as — to turn a phrase — “Technology with Porpoise.”

Shall we, excuse the term, “talk about the elephant in the room?”

Over 72 per cent of our phone calls are answered by a live, technical person