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If you’re looking to learn more about IT support, read on.
On this page, we’ll cover the basics and deliver answers to some of the most commonly asked IT support questions:
By the end, you should have a fundamental understanding of what IT support entails and how to find the right New Jersey provider for your needs.
Ready to move toward better IT support in New Jersey? Read on.
Before we dig in too deep, let’s define our terms.
So, when we say IT support, what do we mean?
Let’s start with the first half of the phrase. “IT,” an acronym for “information technology,” was first noted by Merriam-Webster in 1978. It’s lost some of its specificity over the years, but, originally, information technology was “the technology involving the development, maintenance, and use of computer systems, software, and networks for the processing and distribution of data.”
Tech Terms defines it this way: “[IT] refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies.”
Of course, today, the clarifying prefix “information” can seem redundant, since pretty much anything you can plug in (or charge wirelessly, for that matter) can be connected to the internet. If it’s collecting or sharing data, it’s IT.
The second half of the phrase is the word support, which means “to assist or help.”
Taken at its most basic level, then, IT support is simply help with technology. Or, to be more precise: “technical help provided by computing experts.”
So, that’s IT support.
Let’s get a little more specific. IT support simply means help with technology – but, in a business context, it’s come to mean the delivery of a certain range of services.
These usually include:
The chances are that if you’re looking for New Jersey IT support, you’re looking for some or all of these offerings. The good news is that there are a variety of engagement formats that can allow you to access the services you need.
Generally, there are four common ways to receive IT support:
One option is to hire internally. The main benefit to this approach is that it gives your organization full control over your IT support. You get a resource who, hypothetically, at least, is intimately familiar with your systems and is always accessible during working hours.
However, relying solely on internal support also carries a host of drawbacks.
>> Five Reasons to Avoid Hiring an In-House IT Person for Your Small Business
First, internal hires are expensive. When you factor in salary, benefits (insurance, vacation, etc.), and training, the costs to hire far outweigh what you’d spend to outsource your IT support.
Second, internal hires, by nature, are limited. No single person is an expert in every aspect of IT support; even if you pay up for someone who’s at a CIO level, they won’t be familiar with cloud services and cybersecurity and Windows and network design and your custom software integrations and… you get the idea. One person can be an expert in some IT areas, but nobody knows everything, and that means that when you face challenges outside of a person’s area of expertise, you could find yourself in a predicament.
Relatedly, internal departments aren’t very scalable. To cover all your IT bases, you’d need to hire a full team – and, as mentioned above, that tends to be prohibitively costly.
Third, internal hires leave. They leave for the weekend. They leave for vacation. They leave for other, higher paying jobs. When they’re gone, your organization can struggle to get the IT support you need as you work to fill the gap.
Building an internal IT department can work, but it needs to be done strategically in a way that accounts for these drawbacks.
A second framework for receiving IT support is to outsource service under a break-fix model.
Traditionally, this was the most common method of IT engagement. It is what it sounds like; a business pays for help when things break, typically at an hourly rate.
This model, however, has a couple of major problems.
First, it incentivizes IT providers to take their time fixing issues. This isn’t to say that IT providers who work under a break-fix model intentionally slow work down to gain revenue, but let’s be honest: It’s hard to prioritize responsiveness when you’re being paid to take longer.
Second, break-fix is inherently reactive. There is no strategy involved – no planning to reduce the number of issues that occur or to advance business operations through technology. It’s like playing whack-a-mole with IT, and in the long-run, it’s more costly.
Largely because of the problems outlined with the models above, managed IT services have become the go-to delivery method for IT support.
Under managed services, IT support is delivered at a flat, monthly fee, regardless of the issues that arise in each month. Often, this model of engagement provides businesses with comprehensive support, meaning that the provider offers everything from strategy to cybersecurity to ticket support, depending on needs.
This has several benefits.
First, it standardizes costs, transitioning IT from a capital expense to an operating expense and making budgeting more predictable.
Second, it allows for strategic support. Managed IT services are able to spend time planning technology roadmaps and optimizing systems, as opposed to only reacting to problems as they arise.
Third, unlike internal IT, managed IT provides businesses with access to cost-efficient, scalable resources. When you work with a managed service provider, you have a full team at your disposal without needing to pay multiple salaries. When you have a specific technology need, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to work with an expert in that area.
Fourth, managed IT services are always on. Unlike an internal hire who might take vacation or leave, managed IT services provide 24/7, systemized support.
Finally, supplemental IT support involves a combination of outsourced support and internal support.
Supplemental IT support is a great way to augment the capabilities of internal resources. If you have a CIO-level talent, for example, you may want to allow them to guide strategy without having to stay in the weeds of ticket resolution. Bringing on a helpdesk can free them up to perform where they’re most valuable. Or, if you need help with a specific area of technology, you may hire a provider for guidance while maintaining a general internal team.
In the right circumstances, supplemental IT support can provide mid-sized to large businesses with the best of both internal IT and outsourced IT.
Now that we’ve examined the most common models for IT support delivery, you’re probably wondering: Should I outsource my IT support?
For most mid-sized businesses, the answer is that you probably should.
For very small businesses – those with less very few employees or less than 5 workstations – it may not be worthwhile to outsource IT support. At that small a size, IT needs may be navigable internally.
However, past that, support quickly becomes a requirement. And, as we’ve seen above, internal IT can be cost-prohibitive and carries some significant functional limitations, making outsourcing appealing.
If you do decide to work with an IT support firm, you may be wondering: What will a technician actually do?
The answer varies depending on the role of the technician, but, generally, technicians are responsible for diagnosing, repairing and maintaining hardware and software components to ensure that technology systems run smoothly.
Helpdesk technicians are available for remote support and will access business networks from off-site to restore functionality. Technicians can also be dispatched for onsite support if hands-on service is needed.
Today, given the nature of modern work, virtually no IT companies deliver support solely onsite. However, some IT companies do provide remote-only support. So, when people ask this question, what they’re usually truly concerned with is whether or not they need onsite support in addition to remote support.
The answer depends on your context.
All-remote organizations, obviously, don’t need on-site support (there’s not a site to be on, anyway). However, if your organization is running a hybrid model, you may occasionally require onsite help. Sometimes, hardware needs to be repaired in-person. Sometimes, network issues require a live engineer.
The best course of action is to consult with a provider you trust to determine what kind of support you need.
And the good news is that, if you opt for a managed IT service engagement, you likely won’t need to choose between onsite or remote IT support. You’ll nearly always have the option to receive both.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably considering working with a New Jersey IT support company. As we’ve laid out above, that’s often a good call.
To aid you in your search, here’s a quick list of three top options.
Okay, we’re a bit biased. But a.) this is our list, and b.) other people think we’re good, too.
And our customers say things like this:
“As a longtime customer, I wouldn’t trust my IT service needs to anyone else. Not only are they technically competent (which you would expect, of course) they are all just great people to work with. Every single one of them.”
The bottom line is that, for over 20 years, we’ve been helping New Jersey businesses to thrive with technology – and we’re confident we can help your business, too.
Techsperts is another New Jersey firm that offers IT support for mid-sized businesses. Here’s how they explain their offering:
“Techsperts, located in New Jersey, serves businesses throughout the metropolitan area. We’ve been around for over a decade – helping small to midsize businesses and large companies succeed through outstanding technical services. What makes our technical services so great? That’s simple… We maintain uncompromising attention to detail and a strong commitment to exceptional client service.”
The focus on client service is admirable – while they’re a relatively new player in the IT support industry, this firm may be worth a look.
This firm, often abbreviated to ICS, is focused on building “technology solutions for the NJ NY Metro area SMB market.” Located in Glen Rock, NJ, they specialize in IT consulting and network support for businesses with 10 to 10,000 employees.
Like Techsperts – and other high-quality IT firms – one of their major points of emphasis is on customer service. Again, if you’re considering an IT engagement, they may be worth a look.
As you’re considering your IT support options, here are a few questions and guidelines to help you home in on the right provider.
To some degree, this recommendation is obvious. But there’s a lot of venture capital in the IT support industry right now, and it’s driving many firms to expand past their previous service areas. This sometimes requires them to outsource their own onsite support, which can lead to quality issues.
If onsite presence matters for your organization, check to make sure that the firm you’re considering is actually based in your locale (as opposed to simply claiming that they serve it).
Two good things to check are:
The average retention rate for engineers. If top people are leaving the provider every year or two, then the quality of service is likely to suffer. If, on the other hand, they’ve retained their average engineer for more than five years, they’ll likely be well-equipped to deliver dependable service. Here is a tip: Check out their Glassdoor Reviews. What do their employees say about them?
The success metrics for support requests. Some IT firms don’t track all of this data, but good things to ask about are the average time-to-response, the average time-to-resolution, and the customer satisfaction rate for support requests.
Finally, ask potential partners for references – especially from businesses that are similar to your own. Hearing about their service from other people speaks volumes.
Hopefully, the information presented here will aid you as you consider your IT support options.
If you’re ready to work with a provider you can trust, we’d love to hear from you.
At Exigent, we have a wealth of expertise built via an award-winning team. If you’re a mid-sized business looking for better technology support, we’re confident that we can help.