GCOMM started as a systems integration business in 1996 providing servers, desktops, networking equipment and engineering services to the local Gold Coast businesses. Since that time the business expanded into business-to-business broadband, hosting and cloud backup services via LiveBackup. However, throughout all that time, the provision of IT engineering and maintenance services to customers in South East Queensland has been a constant and evolving feature of the GCOMM operations.
One of the strongest positives we take from providing engineering services to our local customers is that it provides fertile grounds for the learning and development of our engineering team. The wide spectrum of equipment, software and mobile technologies our engineers are exposed to daily challenges them to develop deep problem solving and efficiency skills. Based on expected future needs they engage in regular vendor certifications to round out their credentials. Couple this with long tenure and a focus on delivering outcomes for our clients and they become valued resources to us and our customers.
Information technology has changed dramatically since our inception. Software and hardware systems are ever more reliable. Conflicts between applications happen less and operating systems are more efficient and more secure. This is all great news, surely. The issue is that reliance on IT and the complexity of even small business environments is ever increasing. Security exploits, viruses and hackers are becoming more sophisticated each day. Data management, analysis and IP protection are more critical to business than ever before.
IT is rightly seen as both an enabler of productivity and a maintenance cost. In even the best run businesses, 70% of the IT spend is solely for ‘keeping the lights on’ and 30% is left over for innovation and productivity improvement. The actual averages are usually far worse from an innovation perspective. How competitive can your business be if your ratio is 90:10 or worse?
Managed IT services have a value proposition that addresses this challenge. By using automation, our engineers can manage many more devices and support many more users. By using monitoring and alerts, downtime can be avoided and productivity increased. Remote support means more efficient services, lower costs and faster time to fix. When combined with GCOMM’s Internet connectivity and cloud services, such as LiveBackup, even more value is gained from the engagement. This is the realisation of the long-time promise of IT over the years – managed services enable you to do more – with less.
We regularly get requests from customers on how we can implement effective in-house, remote and cloud based computing services solutions. The requirements from IT infrastructure are changing rapidly and the need for businesses to adapt and cater for employee, customer and supplier demands is shifting. Additionally, the management of assets and software licenses has become more complex. Some workers are having several devices including a desktop or laptop, mobile phone or tablet device. All of these requirements and more are well catered for in a well-designed and run managed services agreement.
There are not an awful lot of businesses that are saying that times are great at the moment. Few businesses are doing wonderfully well, however the owners of well-managed businesses we speak to are talking in terms of finding more efficiencies and the control of cost. There is recognition that IT is a key enabler and that it represents a risk if maintenance is neglected. Downtime and poor productivity reduce competitiveness and increase cost. On the other hand, these business people are looking for practical advice on maximising their investment in IT. If they have a business objective, IT is going to be a part of that plan and our advice and experience can help them achieve their objectives – and manage the process reliably.
All of the above are relevant of course, but there is another factor. These days we do not just want a product or service that is easy, convenient or even good value. We want more. We want products that find ways to bring us extra value without us having to do a lot ourselves. Managed services executed well, are a combination of technology, engineering skills and strategic account management that deliver an experience of business IT services that is simply better. One of our key drivers when we provide a managed service is to continually improve our customers experience in IT. Perhaps that is one of the biggest reasons why we are growing. It’s time to go and ask our clients again what they think.