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Do you wait until something breaks before you fix it? I'm actually a strong proponent of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" idea, except when it pertains to the lifeblood of your business: your networks, hard drives, servers and workstations. Most people wouldn't think of waiting until their car breaks down before getting the oil changed, however there are still a large number of small and medium-size companies and firms that wait for a disaster to happen before they call a hardware technician.
There's a better way to do things: Managed IT Services. Most of your better IT service firms will only accept clients that are will to sign a contract for managed services. With this type of service, the IT firm will take a survey of your existing equipment and make recommendations for changes and/or point out potential trouble spots. They will continually remotely monitor your hardware, networks and backups. The importance of this monitoring is to assure that you will not be faced with unexpected hardware failures. They will take care of problems before they become a disaster. Here are some other reason you might want to change to Managed IT services:
- Control your Costs: Managed services might cost more in the short-term, they cost much less in the long term if you take into account the lost productivity and customer/client satisfaction
- IT is becoming increasingly complex. Most companies do not have the resources to maintain the in-house expertise that is necessary to maintain their equipment.
- Your business is more dependent than ever on IT. A a one or two-person in-house IT department or consultancy cannot handle the occasional breakdowns that are bound to occur. In many cases, employees have to wait to receive help, resulting in a significant loss in productivity.
I just read about a new add-on product for Outlook: Credenza. It looks like it might be the answer for people who like the consolidation features of Practice Management programs (email, documents, time entries and phone calls all in one client folder), but aren't interested in the high cost; extensive set up time and learning curve associated with those products.
While I'm not an attorney, I have used practice management programs in the past mainly because I liked the idea of having everything in one client folder. These programs are generally very expensive and require a lot training and great deal of time to set up before you can even begin to use them. They are just chock full of features, however, most people use only the basics and many times, these programs aren't used at all because they are just too cumbersome.
I just went back to using Outlook. It is lacking in many of the features I want, but it is easy to use. I might give Credenza a try. It just adds a few more things to the existing Outlook screen that allow you to add your client files, time sheets and track phone calls. They give you 15 days to decide whether or not it will work for you. If you decide to keep it, pay just $9.95/month. Sounds reasonable enough for what sounds like a really simple solution.
I'd love to hear from anyone that has used this product and what they like or dislike.