An Expert By Any Other Name…
In my 18 year career, I have been fortunate enough to work with many experienced professionals within the IT community. These experts range from college educated tech geeks to self-taught technical gurus with an OJT degree. I think everyone in IT has been viewed as an expert in some way from the perspective of another. I know many of my close friends, family members, and former colleagues would proclaim that I am expert in all things IT. While I do think I am an expert in a number of areas, I do not proclaim to be all knowing of all things IT. However, I am okay with the ones I love believing that I am! Parents love their children unconditionally (Thanks, Mom!) and might always see their children as experts, regardless of what they have accomplished. In my eyes, you are an expert if you have solved some problem that no one else could figure out. If a friend fixed your computer when you were in a bind, you might consider them an expert. If that friend is unable to fix it another time, or if they never fixed it right the first time, you might find yourself a new expert or maybe a new friend. This leads me to a key idea that labeling someone as an expert can be a widely subjective term.
What Someone Else Doesn’t Know Can Hurt You
When a small or medium business (SMB) goes shopping for an IT resource, they definitely want the most qualified professional at the most reasonable price. Many IT/technology service companies will provide a free consultation regarding SMB technology needs. A free consultation is great, but it can really end up being an extended sales pitch that does not result in any usable material. In order to deliver exceptional service, an IT provider should be able to call themselves an expert in your environment, not just another IT expert. This can be accomplished through a detailed assessment that includes information about the technology you currently use now, might need in the future, and how to utilize the assets you already own. Assessments come in many forms, with the documentation to the client varying from provider to provider. In a meeting recently with a potential client, an example was presented where an assessment could have saved both the small business and the IT professional a lot of time and unnecessary billing. My potential client walked me through a scenario where their IT “expert” brought down a critical service in their firm while attempting to complete a rather simple task. What ended up as duplicated static IP addresses could have easily been avoided with a thorough understanding of the environment before the work had even started.
Remember to choose an IT expert that is best suited for your business, but first make sure they are an expert in your environment before any work takes place. Don’t let the wrong IT “expert” go in blindly, making matters worse.
Sidebar Technology Solutions, LLC encourages its clients to engage in an assessment as a first step in building a business relationship. The assessment provided is a paid service that benefits both the small/medium business and us as your technology services partner. The final report is full of information that is designed to empower the client. They can take and use the findings to better their environment with help from Sidebar Technology Solutions, themselves or even another technology services company. Sidebar Technology Solutions waives the flat fee of an assessment for businesses that follow up with a managed service plan.