Monthly Archives: February 2010

Notice of Office Closure

Due to traffic restrictions resulting from Carival celebrations, please be advised that our offices will be closed on February 15th and 16th.  Remote support will be available and ongoing for all our clients.  We will reopen for business as normal on February 17th.

SMB Services Limited wishes you and your loved ones a safe and enjoyable Carnival.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

TSTT Edge Service Outage

SMB Services Limited wishes to advise all our clients using Blackberry devices with a plan from TSTT, that their EDGE service has been down since yesterday evening, resulting in the inability to access the internet and the non-delivery of emails to your mobile phones.

TSTT has issued a notice advising that they are working on rectifying the problem with their international partner, RIM.  However, no indication has been given as to when this service will be restored.

12.30pm

TSTT has advised that this service is once more functional.

Rating 4.00 out of 5

ICT – Common Outsourcing Mistakes and How they can be Avoided

The best perk that comes from outsourcing in ICT is that it’s a great way to get professional services for a fraction of the price of a full time staff member.  At some point in your business’s growth cycle, outsourcing may become a possibility and may not only be limited to your ICT function.

The main reason for outsourcing, as discussed in an earlier issue, is because it allows you to focus on the expertise of your business while the ICT professionals you have outsourced focuses on theirs.

In recent years, outsourcing, especially ICT outsourcing has gained popularity, especially amongst small and medium businesses. You can choose from outsourcing your entire function, or just a specific project.  Whatever your reason for outsourcing, you must ensure that your choice of ICT professional was the right one.  Here are some tips to guide you:

1.  Price versus Practice: When you are looking for the right ICT consultant, your first instinct will be to go with the cheapest. However, this is one area where trying to save might cost you a lot more.  Before you hire someone, you should do some research, and not just hire a person but a company.

You need to ensure that your professional will always be there, or have someone available to tend to your company’s needs and that their support is 24/7.  You should want your professional to be just that, professional, complete with all the industry qualifications and experience.  You should demand quality, consistency and delivery and by choosing an ICT support provider including a support staff, you have a better chance of having your needs met in a timely fashion.

Look at the whole IT support package before you commit, ensure that the one you choose has the infrastructure of accountability, certifications, training, experience and personnel even if it costs $20-$40 more per hour to hire them.  Making the wrong decision will be costly and time consuming, distracting you from your core business and ending with you having to find another support provider.

2.  Don’t just hire someone who can speak ‘geek’: When you are experiencing problems with your network and your Support Professional discusses it with you, the finer points of the problem may just sail over your head.  Remember, IT support providers who lack the ability to communicate in a non-technical manner and that don’t have a long term strategic view of your company’s business goals will cost you time and money while frustrating you and your employees.

Remember, there are support providers that can communicate technology so that you understand.  It is important to find someone like this, and that you are comfortable with them, because you and your company will be spending significant time with them. They will also be advising you on future technology directions that your company can take, so ensure that you can communicate well together.

3.  Be Prepared: Once you have hired your IT support provider, do not think that once your existing problems are fixed, that there will be no more.  Remember that computers are machines, and as discussed earlier, will break, as all things inevitably do. Not only that, but they may fall victim to human error, become corrupted and encounter hardware or software failure.

You need to be flexible to these problems and have regular maintenance done so that you can nip any problems as they arise in the bud. You should be involved, get an understanding of what went wrong and the steps that your ICT support provider is taking to correct it.  Once the assessment of your IT network is done, be prepared, and remember that your ICT support provider is there to help you.

Formulate a plan, have a long term vision of your network to save nay disappointments and be prepared to make changes as recommendations made will be to the benefit of your business.

4.  Keep the lines of Communication open: One of the most common mistakes business owners make once they’ve found and hired their ICT support provider, is to become uninvolved in the process for which their provider is employed.  Problems arising out of this unconscious decision include a poor relationship with your support provider, your strategic goals being ignored and future technology budgets being compromised.

You must be involved in every step, stage and part of the process of having and managing a functioning ICT network and department.  Exhibit interest at every turn, schedule meetings to follow up on implementation and delivery of goals.  Share your vision and direction with them so that this is kept at the fore of each decision and recommendation being made.

If you cannot be as involved, designate an employee who will be the contact between your company and that of your support provider.  Ask your provider for a plan, so that you always know where they are in getting the job done.  Ensure that your provider has a centralized process for handling and prioritizing problems as they arise with your employees.  Know that your support provider is not infallible and there will be mistakes, even on your end as well, and be willing to apply the appropriate remedies constructively.

Get a report from your Support Provider after each visit and review.  You can use this to measure their performance based on where they are to where they are supposed to be from the plan that they supplied you.

When looking to outsource your ICT function, have a mindset that they will be an extension of your company and so avoid the mistakes discussed above.  Ensure that they are dedicated to you, with all the necessary qualifications, training, experience and infrastructure to make the process a satisfying and hassle free one.

February Quick Tip: Delete an Address from the Outlook Auto-Complete List

To remove an address from your auto-complete list:

  • Create a new email message in Outlook.
  • Start typing the name or address you want to remove.
  • Use the down arrow key to highlight the desired (undesired) entry.
  • Press Del.

Rating 3.00 out of 5