As technology plays an increasingly important role in the operation and future of your business, you’ll constantly consider which new information technology services, systems, and tools you need to stay ahead of the competition.
If you’re like most businesses, you’ll soon grow out of the typical managed IT relationship (if you aren't already). Not only will your IT expenses grow along with your business, the typical IT vendor can’t offer the strategic input you need in building out a new digital approach.
The right technology can revolutionize the way you do business moving forward, but it can be hard to know what type of support you need, or how much.
It’s easy to misunderstand the scope of an IT endeavor. What you see as one objective might actually be several. Acquiring and implementing a new system is one thing, the continuous maintenance that keeps that system running smoothly is quite another.
This is where effective project management comes into play.
The newness of an IT tool does not make it finite in duration. As a business expands and changes its processes, it is only natural that these updates to technology may require more ongoing support.
If there isn’t a date at which you will no longer need this tool or system, then you will need ongoing support.
Generally, ongoing support does not have an identifiable deliverable beyond the quality and effectiveness of the support itself. Examples of ongoing support include:
Managed IT services
Hybrid work and learning
These ongoing services are meant to help your company grow and thrive over time. When you sign up for a managed IT vendor or another ongoing information support service, make sure you know what is covered under your contract and what would be considered a separate project. If you need something specific from your managed IT vendor, discuss that up front to ensure they can handle your specific needs.
Depending on your industry, you may need more extensive managed IT services. For example, healthcare industry professionals need to ensure all patient data remains secure yet accessible to those managing a patient’s case. Because electronic medical records require several layers of cloud-based security, it can be tricky for a normal IT service to handle. However, choosing a managed IT services vendor with experience and expertise across many complex systems and industries helps keep your business operating smoothly and efficiently.
Once you choose a managed IT provider, the positive effects of your ongoing support should become obvious. Your provider should be actively improving your systems, collecting data, and offering strategic advice. They are there to provide you with valuable insights and expertise, so you can plan for the future.
If your project has a definite end date and a concrete deliverable, project-based support is probably what you need. The contract ends once the project is complete and the deliverables are met.
However, the overlap between project based support and ongoing support can make things a bit murky.
For example, the implementation of and training on a new system may come with pre-defined start and end dates, but the ongoing support for that system may be continuous.
Other examples of project-based IT efforts include:
Standing up a new ERP system
Auditing your cybersecurity system
Training employees on a new piece of software or equipment
Transitioning data storage to a cloud-based server
Launching a new product
Additionally, there may be a project for transitioning from the implementation (project) to the recurring support (ongoing). For example, a limited IT project to equip and train your employees to work remotely may include ongoing support in the form of system maintenance. Moving file storage to a cloud-based system, though a limited project, may require ongoing organization and management.
Ask your managed IT vendor about what they consider a project based service and an ongoing service. Also, ask them what types of project based services will require ongoing support once the project portion is completed. You want to be sure you understand how the vendor you are considering works and if their processes work within your budget.
The biggest pitfall is thinking of your entire effort as a single thing. Rarely is a thing ever “done.” Rather, a change is complete and the “new normal” just becomes the “normal.” Most projects break down into:
As you select vendors for your IT endeavor, make sure you understand what each phase looks like, and which phases are covered by the contract.
Whatever your business needs, find a vendor willing to take the time to get intimately familiar with your business and be able to think strategically to support business goals. Choose a vendor that answers your questions and offers solutions to meet your needs today, as well as provides ideas for future development.
Make sure the managed IT or project based vendor you choose:
Does not shoehorn you into a predetermined model or set of products.
Displays the project management and organization skills to execute their recommendations.
Sticks with you for the entire duration of a new project, or can recommend fourth-party vendors to help get the job done. It’s best if your vendor can help scope out these needs early, so you can get an accurate idea of the cost and timeline.
While it may sound like finding the right project-based or ongoing support vendor is nearly impossible, it isn’t. Vudu has all the things your company needs to grow and thrive in the digital age, and beyond.
Our team has experience in everything from project management to managed IT to strategy, and more. We work with you to find out what your company needs and how we can help you reach your goals.
Vudu strives to provide you with the right tools, right training, and right strategies. We communicate with you throughout the managed IT process, so you know your voice is heard.
At Vudu, we are technology wizards who want to bring IT magic to your business and achieve supernatural results. Are you scoping out an IT project or a digital transformation effort? Tell us more about your goals.