• CUSTOMERS

THE PROBLEM

The vast majority of IT users have little if any real idea as to how their systems work, rather as most drivers of modern cars have little idea as to how an internal combustion engine works and how dependent it is on '000s of lines of software code. They expect to be able to turn a key and drive off. As cars have become increasingly reliable so they have become rather like a utility, there to be used whenever needed with the sole requirement to have fuel in the tank and arrange a visit to garage every 12 months.

Whilst standalone computers and tablets have reached a similarly reliable state in their development, so that we can expect them to work wherever and whenever needed, networks of machines tend to be much less reliable. This is mainly because organisations will have acquired IT hardware, systems and software over a period of many years. Not surprisingly this piecemeal acquisition process will have brought problems along the way relating to compatibility between the various applications and associated hardware.

A very simple example is that of a network attached printer that is set up to scan directly to a folder on your computer, which would seem logical. The technology allows you to do it, and there are instructions readily available. Unfortunately this is how the NHS got hacked. What is needed is a scan to email service that is secured with the correct protocols.

Generally solutions will be put in place, in the form of a temporary fix that papers over the cracks but quite often simply stores up more problems for the future.

Those organisations without an in house IT support function have to rely on external help to fix the issue so they can get back to doing what they do as quickly as possible. At this point the easiest approach is to ask around to see what support others have managed to find and hope the support person/business recommended is competent.

A solution is (apparently) put in place and the business moves on. Too often unfortunately they are likely to be confused as to what is actually being done by this (generally) invisible support team and wonder, when of course things are not going wrong, what they are paying for and is it good value for money?

With this approach the organisation never gets the chance to understand the real underlying issues. Furthermore, the IT support team is perceived as a necessary cost, rather like the annual audit, and so they are never encouraged to really get to know the core issues to be addressed - apart from anything else, the clock is always ticking and this support tends to be expensive.