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One of those mondays

One of those mondays

It’s Monday morning and a call comes in from Joe (not his real name) asking me what happened to his network. Joe runs a small manufacturing firm and calls us when things go down. Joe says “I thought you were taking care of our network, how could this have happened?”

Annoyed Man

It’s one of those Mondays!

Joe had an intrusion and our team spent the previous week mopping up the mess. Joe was what we call a break-fix client. When it’s broken he calls us. Sometimes he just wants us to do the minimum to get his systems back on line, and sometimes he will act on additional recommendations we make. His willingness to do more than the minimum generally depends on how big the problem was, and some other factors. Unfortunately we know little about his business, his network, or his plans. We’re basically a repair shop for Joe.

Break-fix clients like Joe don’t always see the benefit of properly managing their network. Joe has never experienced technology that works well most of the time, and when it does fail is easily fixed. And Joe sees his technology as a cost rather than an investment. It frustrates Joe and he would love to  run his business without relying on technology. He just keeps having to pour money in to his network because it’s always breaking, so he minimizes that cost whenever possible. Joe is stuck in a loop.

Joe’s not happy!

He has a huge bill coming from us as well as lost productivity and opportunity for a good part of a week. On top of that he has his own unhappy customers who want answers, Joes wants to find out why this happened.

Finding a clear “why” is seldom possible in a network that is not well maintained. Frankly there are too many probable causes. In Joe’s case we focus on getting Joe back in business, that is what’s most important. While restoring his network we may find out why but it is unlikely because his network is unmanaged and unmonitored.

Fortunately for me I’ve given Joe proposals for the firewall upgrade he needed, the security assessment and training I recommended, network management, and the new server to replace his aging unit. Unfortunately, Joe has not seen the value in following my recommendations. Things were working okay, he’d wait till they got worse and then spend the money.

Knowing that I’ve done my best to avoid this crisis the anxiety settles some, but I still feel really bad for what Joe has gone through, I also feel bad for our team. Getting a client back in operation often takes one or more all-nighters, and they take a toll on the heroes committed to getting the business back on line.

Joe has proposals from me for everything he needed to avoid the intrusion. Reminding him of my attempts to meet and create a plan isn’t comfortable for either of us. Joe gets quiet and says “okay, lets meet and figure this out”.

After the crisis!

Joe may make the move from seeing his technology as an expense to seeing it as an investment tied to productivity, payroll expense, customer satisfaction, and growth. My wish for Joe is that we had talked before the damaging event. I’d much rather see clients growth, profits, and customer satisfaction taking off because of their investment in technology.

Technology can be seen as an asset or a liability, and truly it is both. However looking at technology as an asset encourages us to properly care for and intentionally invest in the technology we use. That’s when we uncover the opportunities, and technology becomes a driver of our growth.

Joe was stuck in a loop. He invested too little on his technology and experienced frustration, distraction, lost productivity, and lost opportunity. In the end it was costing him more than if he made the necessary investment to properly maintain and fully use his technology.

Joe and I had a great meeting, he decided it was time to become what we call in the industry a proactive client. We talked a lot about his business and goals and we surfaced opportunities to improve customer service and reduce existing costs. We put together a plan to phase in the maintenance, management, and security that was needed to bring him to best practices. Now Joe knows what it’s like to have a network that works well and is easily fixed. And I’ll sleep better knowing there will be no more Monday morning calls from Joe.