Getting the Best in Tech Support

Getting the most out of your support plan means constantly reviewing and prioritizing your help needs.

In the context of shrinking budgets, limited resources and constantly shifting business needs, companies have to actively review current support services contracts with an eye toward gaining maximum value. Only when an IT organization identifies where it needs better support, the gaps in internal knowledge and the opportunities to save money can it go out and get the best possible deal.

The first step in prioritizing support services needs is to examine the entire infrastructure to determine all points of failure and system interdependencies. Companies then need to assess which of those systems—including hardware, operating systems and applications—currently and for the foreseeable future provide business-critical functions.

With hardware prices constantly dropping, IT managers have new opportunities to add redundancy to systems that at one time could have been viewed as single points of failure. These include network and Internet connections.

IT managers should explore how increasing the number of systems for redundancy could mean scaling back to less expensive service options. When the failure of a single system will not result in widespread loss of service, forgoing the expense of dedicated on-site vendor support can be an option.

Systems and software arent the only areas where companies should consider adding redundancy, however.

Getting the most out of available staff through cross-training and defined backup roles will help IT organizations better serve their customers. Improving an IT staffs skill set can be easier to accomplish from a budget perspective when training is included as part of a support contract. However, managers need to pick the right training options in the context of the business climate.