Have you noticed that, recently, your IT provider isn’t replying as quickly as they used to? Or maybe it’s been taking longer for your provider to resolve your IT issues. In the IT service industry, these delays are likely caused by one or a combination of seven different factors.
For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped clients reach their IT goals and resolve technological concerns. We’ve compiled a list of seven reasons why there’s a delay in your IT provider’s response time.
We've all heard the term "The Great Resignation" by now. The technology industry, in particular, has been hit hard. IT providers must now offer larger salary and benefits packages to lure talent to their organizations. The demand for top talent has always existed in the IT services industry, which often has low unemployment rates (in some years, less than 1%).
High employee turnover and competitive hiring lead to a gap in service capabilities.
Poor onboarding process
The first 30 days of any relationship are critical to long-term success. Initially, the IT provider collects client information, assesses risk, and documents systems. This enables the provider to support existing systems and give sound strategic advice. This system sets everyone up for success. When the onboarding process is light or non-existent, results are less reliable. Poor onboarding leads to poor communication and a lack of knowledge.
In addition, if a key employee leaves the provider, they may take all the information with them. Losing vital information negatively affects service levels. The remaining employees will not know how to support the existing client systems and will need time to learn them.
This is probably the item with the most significant impact on the relationship between the client and the IT provider.
An IT provider who doesn't understand the cost drivers in their own business tends to undercharge for competitive pricing. Yet, this oversight often leads to poor service results. Based on price, the client may believe they are getting a bargain. In time, however, it proves costly through poor quality of service and long resolution times.
Labor is the greatest cost in a service business, and IT Services are no exception. Insurance costs have skyrocketed for IT providers in the past few years, along with the salary and benefit requirements of top IT talent.
When the IT provider doesn't charge enough for their services, eventually, they will be unable to hire and keep the right talent. This leads to a downward spiral of more talent leaving and new talent becoming more challenging to find. An IT provider who undercharges can't afford top talent. Without an adequate workforce, providers cannot serve clients promptly.
Reactive Business Model
You can spot if you're working with a reactive IT provider in a few ways. After the first 90 days of service, look at the monthly number of service tickets your company generates. If you do not see a reduction in tickets and problems, you are most likely working with a reactive provider.
If no one is making scheduled visits to review and update your software and hardware, you're probably in a reactive relationship. IT field technician visits that only occur due to difficult tickets or to perform troubleshooting are not proactive.
And finally, your provider should meet with you quarterly to review findings and risks, discuss strategic objectives, and adjust plans according to your changing needs. If they are not, you're probably in a reactive relationship.
Reactive service models are typically the most expensive way to do business. Reactive IT providers deal with more unexpected issues than their proactive competitors. In light of the extra workload, they need to hire, train, and retain more staff to meet client needs.
This is also costly for the client. If you're spending a lot of time dealing with unexpected IT issues, you're spending less time on your business and helping your customers.
This is a topic that isn't talked about a lot, but it is essential to understand the current IT services industry. Since 2020, there have been close to 2000 Mergers & Acquisitions in the IT services industry.
This, in turn, has caused some of the employees of these companies to seek employment elsewhere. As stated in our first point, this creates a gap in service response and resolution times.
This is another item that doesn't get talked about much, but it can tremendously impact service delivery outcomes. If an IT provider has an aggressive growth strategy (more than 30% per year), that strategy will strain resources.
Depending on the company culture and employee retention rates, an aggressive growth strategy demands new hire numbers that exceed availability in the marketplace. When top talent is unavailable, it causes a downward spiral in service levels.
IT Providers are a primary target for cybercriminals these days. If a hacker can breach an IT provider, they could theoretically access dozens or even hundreds of businesses in one attack. We saw this in full effect during the Kaseya Ransomware Attack in 2021 (https://www.cisa.gov/uscert/kaseya-ransomware-attack). Compromised IT providers can significantly impact their client base.
Suppose the IT provider is not following a recognized cyber security framework, and it suffers a breach or ransomware event. In that case, almost all their resources will be dedicated to response, remediation, and recovery. This will have a cascading effect on their clients over a significant period. With this in mind, knowing the security competency of any IT provider you engage for service is essential.
In addition, a lack of structure, planning, and workforce can lead to decreased reply time.
So how can we speed up reply times?
In the end, if you’re experiencing reply time delays from your IT provider, they may not have the workforce to meet client needs. This can occur due to one or a combination of the following factors:
- Employee turnover, hiring delays, or more jobs than there are employees to hire.
- A poor onboarding process, resulting in less familiarity with client systems and a lack of planning.
- They lack knowledge of the IT industry’s cost drivers.
- They have a reactive business model rather than a proactive one.
- Transfer of company ownership, resulting in employee turnover.
- They are growing faster than they can scale to meet client needs.
- They have poor cybersecurity practices, which results in focusing all their effort on repairing and resolving security breaches and events.
To avoid these issues and their delays, clients should seek a competent IT provider. These providers will know and manage their cost drivers properly. They will also understand their service’s value drivers and have value-based conversations to see if the client fits their model. They will adhere to recognized cybersecurity practices to protect themselves and their clients from damaging cyber threats. And they will create a long-term vision that drives a culture top talent is drawn towards. These providers may charge more for their services, but they will provide consistent outcomes. They will achieve business objectives with the lowest possible number of unplanned (reactive) IT events.
If you would like to discuss service delays and the factors driving them, you can speak with your IT provider.
If you’re looking for an IT provider, we recommend reading our tips for the Top 9 questions to ask potential IT providers. Asking these questions can help you find a provider who fits your IT needs and expectations and who can assist in a timely manner.
For more questions and insights, you can reach WEBIT Services here.