How IT Supports Business Operations
- Jennifer Clarke
- Posted on
IT support services, also known as managed IT, is a contracting third-party service which provides infrastructure, software, and other technological support to companies. You may also hear this kind of business referred to as an MLM, short for multilevel marketing. This is because the companies that outsource their IT support have a goal to recruit new distributors, who in turn will recruit more distributors, and so on. This leads to a pyramid structure. The top distributors get the most money, while those at the bottom of the pyramid get very little money or none at all.
IT support services, or an MLM, however, involves much more than recruiting new distributors. It also involves training the top distributors, and providing additional tools to help them market themselves to recruits. Tools like data analytics, remote data integration (RDI), and tele-medicine are common tools used by many an MLM downline.
IT support services involve a whole host of business operations. One of the most important functions is network administration. Network administration includes, but is not limited to fixing router and firewall issues, installation of routers, switches, IP phones, etc. Network administration is necessary for anyone using a computer to access the internet, as well as for anyone conducting business.
IT Support Technicians and Their Specialties
Computer support specialists perform work for both corporations and clients. Corporate clients require assistance with hardware and software issues. Clients who have internal IT staff may also require IT management services from an outside company. Corporate clients and in-house providers have different needs when it comes to IT management services.
An in-house IT support service provider will provide ongoing support for a company’s computer network. An IT support service provider will install and repair hardware, provide updates, migrate from in-house to managed services, and perform other routine tasks. A managed service provider has no ongoing obligation to a client company, and no need to provide support that is at a more frequent or higher level than that which is provided by in-house employees. Managed service providers are able to manage the flow of information and provide advice concerning the organization of files, and the security of systems.
There are several characteristics that separate managed services providers from in-house techs. The biggest difference is the amount of time that must be devoted to the tasks. Many times a tech can be scheduled to work on a case whenever it arises – this reduces the amount of time that a tech is on the clock and potentially increases productivity. Another characteristic is that techs employed by a managed services provider typically receive a higher pay rate than that of in-house techs.
Duties and Responsibilities of IT Support
There are some specific duties that must be performed by a managed service provider who works for an IT department. These include the installation of new hardware and software as well as repairing any hardware that may be damaged during the process. Network administration is one such task. It involves the installation of the necessary software and hardware that are required for a computer network. Installation of routers, switches, and wireless access points is another aspect of this responsibility. Security concerns include maintaining a firewall between the outside world and the inner workings of a computer system.
A major consideration in choosing a managed service provider is the provider’s level of service expertise. In most cases, companies will opt to work with an IT support company that is relatively new, and whose personnel are fresh out of college. Often, smaller companies may prefer to work with providers that offer a more personalized level of service. An example of a smaller provider is a developer who provides both online and offline programming support. In choosing an IT support company, the selection process can be challenging for small or newer companies. However, with a little patience, a good IT support company can help to ensure that a computer system is running smoothly for years to come.