In recent years, we have observed a high demand for IT support and managed services. The reason is obvious: businesses of all types and sizes now rely on technology and this sometimes means relying on experts who know a bit more about it than you do. This was not always the case many years ago. What we know today has evolved a lot and the services offered are constantly expanding. In this post I want to take a look back and see exactly how it has evolved and discuss some common IT solutions for businesses.
About 25 years ago, IT support services were almost always internal within companies. Computer repairs were a rare serviced and were not performed on a regular basis. They were done only when necessary: based on a break and fix model. When there was an issue, an in-house technician would rectify and fix it and if the technician could not repair it, then the unit was generally replaced and external support was not even considered.
There were some problems with the old way of doing things. First of all, it was difficult to find an experienced professional who could fix and manage any technical issue which arises. Secondly, if the specialists could not fix the issue then replacing important equipment could be an expensive task. There were also troubleshooting inefficiencies. The service providers always did not have the right tools to do the jobs. Human errors also caused significant concern. For all these reasons, the break and fix model was not good enough.
Computer technology was not everybody’s stuff in the early days. Only large companies could afford it, and those companies would internally recruit IT staff. Even those companies did not have easy access to software. So they had an army of programmers, business analysts and data entry personnel. The hardware pieces were handled by companies like Burroughs, IBM, NCR, UNIVAC, RCA and Honeywell.
The age of PCs and networking
When PCs came, small businesses saw revolution and many companies formed in order to make networking easily available. PCs became very affordable and businesses did not hesitate to spend on them. The demand for IT knowledge increased significantly. Larger companies shifted their services and started using custom software. PCs and networking became common.
But still there was no real maintenance and real budgeting. It was done on a pay-as-you-go basis. In fact, small businesses did not yet understand how to manage this new tool. Managed IT services were not a well-known concept.
The era of outsourcing
As technologies became widespread, small businesses began to rely more and more on it. IT specialists working for small businesses started ramping up their skills because there was a demand for new skills. If you look online today you will see that it's easy to access IT support services or call support experts such as the one found here who can help guide you through any technical issues you or your company may be having and unable to solve.
Meanwhile, PC companies have new competitors. The technology became more complex and the companies started to improve the technology of networking.
Small businesses noticed that remote workers had resources and they were reliable. As a result, outsourcing became more and more popular.
The break and fix model
Although small businesses were using outside companies to fix technological problems, the focus was more on quick response and quick fixing. Service providers were rushing from one company to another.
However, there was a lack of connection between the business and the IT provider. Service providers charged by the hour, and they learned many things on the job. Most technicians spent unusually long hours to fix a simple issue. Many businesses are still stuck in this mode.
For a host of reasons, the break/fix model was not sustainable. Businesses were not comfortable with billing by the hour. But when transition to prevention came, service providers started charging by the result, not by the hour. Now if it takes longer to fix the issue, your business is not negatively affected.
Now the IT service providers can fix issues before they get worse. For the customers, the results are much better if the service providers focus on preventing issues. Managed IT services providers now know the right procedures, processes and discipline.