Don't Let IT Problems Become a Time-Sink

IT can be a real time-sink if you don't know what you're doing.

And you know who I blame? I blame the software developers. Why? Because they lie through their teeth! I should know, I'm one too. How do they lie? They say things like "upgrade to the latest version - it's easy!" and "it's a breeze to plugin your software to our API!". This flowery, friendly-sounding language draws in the innocent user who crosses the Rubicon when they click "install", and then...then the fun begins.

So what goes wrong? Unintended consequences. Your typical IT setup in your typical office is a patchwork of hardware and software solutions. I would say "ecosystem", but that implies that all of this hardware and software somehow find their place in the system, and then everything flows perfectly. Not so. Such a system needs to be prodded, poked, cajoled, surgically operated get working properly.

Let's take one simple example: printers. I can see you nodding already. Yes, printers have a well-deserved reputation for driving the most patient of people around the bend. So, your printer doesn't print. Of course it doesn't. You think "I've got experience with printers - I just need the right driver and I can tame this beast". You select the option for your OS to find the latest drivers online. Nothing is found. Now you have to go to online look for the driver yourself. You find the driver download page, you select the right driver (because you're smart) - the right OS, 64-bit version, right download and install it. And...the printer still doesn't print. Then you notice it's saying the printer is "offline". So now you're wondering how the WiFi enabled printer isn't being found by your WiFi enabled computer, and you go down another rabbit hole...

We've all been there. Hours - even days - can pass. You think "this isn't wasted time - I will make notes so we can refer back to them and save other people wasting this time in the future!". Then you realise that you've been referring to older notes in trying to get the printer to work. If those older notes didn't work, it's likely these new notes won't work either since everything always gets upgraded and new problems emerge.

You don't need notes. You need a human being. An IT support person. They don't have to be there everyday (though some offices require it!) - only when you need them. Having an IT support company swoop in when help is required can save literally days of downtime. In my experience, they pay for themselves several times over. They can even fix things through remote desktop so they can be on-call in an instant.

The next time the printer breaks down, smile, and activate your tech support guy!

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