IT and the after sales support conundrum
3rd July 2012
No IT system is 100% fool proof or self-maintainable. No website is 100% manageable by a non-technical person. Whilst certain solutions are more reliable than others and certain content management systems offer more flexibility than others, there will come a point when everyone will need to call upon their technical provider, guaranteed!
Investing in an IT or Web Solution brings with it a new relationship that needs nurturing and maintaining as does any other relationship, and if paid lip service, or entered into without asking the right questions or knowing enough about each other, will come back to bite you!
When investing in Web or IT solutions many make the common mistake of seeing cost as the primary deciding factor. Often factors such as choosing a supplier who is reliable, has the required technical expertise and most importantly is able to offer continuous support once the system goes live, are not taken into consideration.
After forking out quite a sum for the development of a solution, many tend to skirt around the support issue for fear it will increase cost. However after investing in a solution the last thing you would want is to get caught out with any down time and have no-one to turn to to quickly resolve the issue! Having quick and reactive support on call could mean decreasing downtime and idle staff, saving face and money!
Problems which are beyond the control of IT and Web solution providers such as new browser versions or system updates do crop up and can cause major glitches in IT solutions. When it comes to websites, the content management system or CMS can be as flexible as they get, however there are always limitations. Certain changes, updates or fixes will need to be addressed by the technical team who have developed the website to begin with.
It is important to have a good working partnership with your IT providers. They should be flexible and understand your company's needs and not just set up things their way.
When investing in a web or IT solution it is important to plan in advance and list the requirements which you expect the chosen suppliers to upkeep. Ask about the support package and technical ability to support the website or solution. What type of support is covered and included in the price? How long until the provider can see to an issue? All of the above is incredibly important when deciding whose proposal is the best match and which provider to work with.
Buying an IT or Web solution is not an impulse buy, it is an investment that is to last typically for a couple of years and more in the case of certain solutions. People buy people at the end of the day and this relationship is no different. It is important to go for a supplier you feel you can maintain good relations with and who you can call whenever an issue crops up. It is never favourable to call for support and feel as if you are begging the supplier to fit some time into their busy schedule. In order to maintain such a healthy relationship both sides need to play their part. It is important that communication lines are kept open, expectations are set and healthy dialogue maintained. If any of the parties start neglecting this relationship then it turns sour, fast!
Kristoff Zammit Ciantar is a Director at InFusion Solutions. A Business Analyst by profession, Kristoff has years of experience in bridging the gap between the business requirements and the technical deliverables. InFusion Solutions provide custom IT and Web solutions.