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Market Disruption 101 – IT Support

By now we’ve all grown used to all the disruption in markets – we no longer even know what station, time and channel our favorite shows air on – they just appear in our queue. We no longer need to be in one place to watch them or any other content – we merely open whatever screen is at hand. Entrepreneurs and old guard companies are trying to disrupt medicine, health, research, sports, media and just about every other segment of our experience in the world.

Disruption is rolling across the planet and affecting everything in its path.

Next up? IT support business models.

Like a lot of things that get disrupted – it’s painful means we all sit up and reinvent ourselves again. Traditional IT support business models are struggling today to do just that. Five years ago small and medium sized organizations outsourced the management of laptops, servers, printers, and backups. These organizations relied on enterprise software that came in boxes, on DVDs and required manual installation and periodic upgrades, often in-person. This whole infrastructure-based reality created a sort of symbiotic relationship, if an uncomfortable one. Organizations contracted with the local provider who would dispatch a technician periodically or on an as-needed basis to tend to their needs or address a crisis. The organizations weren’t big enough to have their technical staff so the need was real and the market clear.

But then the world changed.

Licenses started to expire, laptops started to age, and servers outlived their maintenance contracts  – as they always have – but this time the organizations started to question things. Why do we have all these boxes of software? Do I need to call someone actually to come to our offices? Is all this aging hardware necessary? Why are we acting like this is 1998? As an organization isn’t in time, we evolve like the rest of the world?

So they did. They started licensing software in the cloud; ridding their offices of servers and other hardware that aged faster than anything in sight. They stopped using desktops and cabled connections and got all their staff laptops and passed out wifi connections. Terabyte network drives were purchased, and they gained a great deal of space in the server closets. They felt lighter, more nimble and unhindered by long-term contracts. In a word they valued agility; sighted as one of three major trends driving software disruption.

Except they still had these long term contracts.

Their long-term contracts with the IT support firm was stuck back in the olden times. The technicians were no longer needed to service hardware, printer queues and backups. All this could be managed remotely and all the updates could be made to manage themselves. Sounds like a new age entirely doesn’t it? Except it isn’t. IT support groups are still pushing that heavy involvement by a technician – many of whom are simply unable or unwilling to make the switch to a lighter, faster, freer, and – importantly – cheaper touch. Organizations still need help. They even still need some onsite support – but it’s not remotely at the level it once was. There’s a need still. The need has just changed.

IT support firms need to change with the times and start making better recommendations for their customers; remote updates, cloud-based licensing, peripherals optimized over wifi. The wide market is aware of their evolutions and accommodating with new products and services. It is time that the providers step into the gap and make it easier for organizations to take advantage of the new paradigm.

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