Speaker 1 (00:10):

Hello everybody. Thank you for joining us on today's stream. Um, where we help educate business owners on what to expect of their it support. That could be internal, it support or out, you know, some other company besides us, but, um, just trying to help educate the business owners and community and our topic today is, uh, how to know you have outgrown your it support. I think this is a big topic item for a lot of people, and it's a really gonna help, um, bring some things to light here. Um, today we have Kevin Peterson, uh, as our guest with, um, uh, Peterson. Um, uh, my mind's going blank, Kevin, I'll let you introduce yourself. That's that's a little better.

Speaker 2 (00:59):

You bet. Uh, Chris, uh, Kevin Peterson, the CEO of Peterson technology from Madison, Wisconsin. We are a managed it company, um, specialized in a 24 7 365 support. We do our services with a truly flat rate and, um, we try and be our clients fully it departments have just, I'm just an outsourced it guy or gal.

Speaker 1 (01:19):

Yeah, that's great. All right. So with our topic today, uh, I know Kevin, you and me, we're, we're chatting, uh, here a little while ago and you had a kind of cool story. I thought it'd be great for you to kind of start with, if you don't mind sharing that. Of course.

Speaker 2 (01:33):

Well, it's unfortunately an appropriate story. Um, it, it's, it's very appropriate to the conversation we're having about how to know when you've outgrown your support. So we were contacted by a construction company. They are big in the, um, Madison, Wisconsin area. Um, and they also have one remote office down south and their current it provider will only come on site after hours. So after five or 6:00 PM during the week, and the reason has nothing to do with the client. The reason is all about the provider because, and the reason is they don't have time during the day, um, to deal with client issues, they're dealing with projects or, um, or as they phrase it more important items than coming on site. And so Dan, um, was calling obviously very frustrated with the relationship that they didn't have, um, with the current provider. And that's why they're looking at, um, making the switch to, um, to hopefully us from a business perspective.

Speaker 1 (02:34):

Yeah. Yeah. And I, I think I, you know, that's one of the items I, I see quite a bit w when you got grown, your, it is, you know, an it technology, it, sometimes you can't always prevent a problem. And if it, you know, something happens to your email and, you know, you're trying to get ready for business. It can halt all that productivity. And, uh, it can't really wait until after hours.

Speaker 2 (02:57):

Exactly. So, yeah, the, the, in my mind, one of the first things is how do you know you've outgrown your it support is that if your needs are scheduled around their schedule and so your schedule, um, and there's never a hundred percent, you know, things happen, but it's more matter of if that's the norm of, well, we can't help you now, we'll be there at five 30 and you'll be gone, so we'll do our best. Um, but really it's, you know, it's taken too long to respond to support requests and not schedule around your needs, um, as much as possible.

Speaker 1 (03:32):

Yeah. I think that also kind of goes to, you know, if you see an it company that's even taking days, uh, you know, to get to you, that's when I hear quite a bit around here from some of our competitors and it's, yeah. You know, we put in the request on Monday and it's Wednesday now, and they're finally showing up. I don't

Speaker 2 (03:54):

Understand that we, even, if you can't show up, let's just say everyone is sick or on vacation, whatever, at least communicate the clients. It's like, people are people, they just want to know the truth. So if you're bogged down, I'm sorry, w you know, w we have clients down, whatever, the reason we'll be onsite Wednesday. I'm very sorry. We will also work to fix this, this issue, but for you not to respond for 48 hours, that that's horrible.

Speaker 1 (04:25):

Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, sometimes it's, it's not like the, every request is an urgent request. It might be okay. That it's done several days later, maybe even preferred. But yeah, like you said, it's a great point to, you know, have that communication, you know, when it, when the emails received, uh, start communicating, you know, about scheduling or, you know, uh, urgency. Um, yeah. Um, but yeah, that, that kinda goes in also with the, um, you know, after hours as well. Uh, so if, if there's an after hour request, uh, that comes in, um, that's usually more tied to an urgency, you know, it's, can't wait until the next day. Um, and, uh, I know you and me both have the, uh, you know, 24 7 support, which is quite important, uh, for, you know, different companies.

Speaker 2 (05:21):

It is even for companies that say they're not 24, 7 more and more there's with flex work schedules. Um, that that all happened because of people working from home because of COVID. So even normal staff, while they may not be working the normal eight by five, they may work, you know, 4:00 AM to eight to 8:00 AM, then spend the day with their kids. And then after they go to bed, finish their day, well, that's a normal day. And if your it support is only open from eight to five, you can never help them unless they put an overtime. Um, there's always business owners, managers who worked late there's deadlines, um, project managers are busy seasons, you know, whether it's landscaping or whether it's a calming other service, you know, legal, um, there's always deadlines where people have to work different hours and eight by five, doesn't cut it anymore.

Speaker 1 (06:14):

Right? Yeah. Another thing that we started, uh, kind of coming across as well is some of our clients, um, are in different time zones, or they have branch offices that are international. And so having 24 7 support can be support when you need it, no matter the time zone.

Speaker 2 (06:32):

Exactly. And that's about that relationship that we've talked about, it's having an it provider is not a technical decision. It's a business decision, same as hiring an accountant, same as hiring an attorney, um, you know, your financial planner, your business coach, things like that. Those are all business relationships. And so as who's going to provide your technology support and consulting, you know, to an extent that project management, the overall direction, that's a business relationship, they have to understand your goals, your needs, as well as understanding your technology and the security behind them.

Speaker 1 (07:08):

Yeah, for sure. Well said, um, one item too, that I've come across, I kind of made some notes on, um, and sometimes you hear this from the customer, bring it to you as an issue. And then sometimes when you start onboarding you, you find out about it, but it's, it's, uh, you know, I, I love it. Companies will say they have monitoring health monitoring, they're monitoring your backups, monitoring, you know, your server, if it goes down or, or whatnot. And then you discover along the way, uh, by the business owner or next it is that, yeah, it looks like those were configured to be sent, but nothing was ever done, you know, backups haven't ran successfully in a month or more, but nothing was done about it. So it's, it's, um, yeah, they're getting those alerts, but it's not really being monitored correctly.

Speaker 2 (08:06):

Yeah, you're right. And I don't know the last time when I've gotten a response. So I like to ask PR you know, prospective clients, when was the, are you sure your, you know, your email, your network, your, your data is backed up. I almost always get a yes it is. Or I think so it's expected. Of course, I then asked, are you sure? And when was the last time it was tested? I can't remember the last time I've ever gotten a warm, fuzzy that yes, I'm sure. And I can't remember ever getting a response that's ever been tested, you know, from doing, whether it's a full backup disaster recovery plan, or just simply trying to do a test restore from an email or a file, um, or user, um, no, no prospective client has ever told me, we are sure that we can recover. Right,

Speaker 1 (08:58):

Right. Yeah. It's usually, um, I mean, yeah. I asked the same thing or similar it's yet. Do you have these protections in place? Yes. Well, tell me how you know, and it's, well, there are it, but you see any proof of that. Exactly. They assume. And

Speaker 2 (09:18):

It's, it's like, you know, sticking your head in the sand. You don't want to know.

Speaker 1 (09:22):

Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's kind of sad because, you know, if I wasn't in 19 industry and just a business person and you hire an it company, it's just something you expect, you know, it's being taken care of for me, but it's just so common that it's not the case. Exactly. Yeah. Um, another one is, uh, antivirus, you know, doing onboarding and you see a list of threats that were detected and no one, no one addressed it.

Speaker 2 (09:51):

Yep. We were onboarding a new client yesterday and I have to be onsite. And, um, they, on the front screen of all their windows, 10 machines, it was showing their antivirus with a big, this is expired, you know, on all of them. And that's the only security measure they had. They had no other security software beyond an out of date, antivirus on all of the machines. And this is in a PCI compliant industry. So they, they are out of compliance. Um, but it's very simple, uh, on how to fix those issues. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (10:34):

Yeah. It was very easy to be proactive on that. It doesn't take a whole lot of effort really. Right. Um, uh, for that particular item. Um, but yeah, and, and, and, you know, this is stuff like you and me, we, we do the QPRs and if we see something coming up to expire, it's a great time to be touching base with clients and bringing that up, planning it out, budgeting for it. Um, but yeah, it's just overlooked so much.

Speaker 2 (11:02):

You're right. Writing. Yeah. It's, it's you call them QBR. I call them business technology reviews. It's the same thing as going through the business goals and needs of your client and how technology supports that. Um, and it really is. That's where you need the good business relationship. It's not about being that great tech guy or tech gal. It's about a business relationship and understanding what's important to a business. Finances are one big part of that, but that's not the only part of it. Um, technical acumen is one part of it as well. Things like security, posturing, um, risk, um, you know, confidentiality, um, industry, um, you know, compliance, all those things need to be addressed and discussed. And a lot of them are not quick fixes.

Speaker 1 (11:51):

Yeah. And the discussion part, you know, again, the QBR is, are, or technology abuse. Um, and, um, yeah, just bringing those up and talking about it. I I've come, uh, you know, I've, I've won, um, new new clients, uh, before who the previous or existing, I guess it they're were a good company. You know, I know they have good techs, you know, good, good people there. Uh, they try to do well, but one of the main differences, one of the main differences between what they were doing and what we were talking about is those QPRs. And you can be working with a great it company, but if you don't communicate, start having more and more and more problems.

Speaker 2 (12:37):

Exactly. It's the business model. It's, it's, uh, it's all about the business model of the it company and the relationship you have with the owner, COO CFO, depending on, uh, who the main point of contacts are, it's all about that relationship and the business model, your it company has,

Speaker 1 (12:56):

Right. Yeah. And you know, something with, with it, you're, you're paying this money for this to be done, you know, at least take half an hour, 15 minutes an hour, every three months, or, you know, whatever just to touch base. And it's not like it, you know, takes a lot of time. Exactly. Um, I have a, another, uh, item that, that I made a note of, um, uh, unless you had some more to go ahead. Okay. Um, on projects, scheduling projects out. So, you know, one thing that we do is we do a whole onboarding process. Initially, we want to document and discover, you know, see what's there. Cause you have to know what's there before you can plan ahead on what needs to be changed or added or improve, you know, whatever. Um, and so a lot of that is projects, you know, okay, this server is 11 years old, it needs to be replaced. Or you're on this email system. When, you know, the, the, uh, you should be over here, you know, whatever. But these different projects that take a large chunk of time, um, sometimes, um, you know, you see, oh yeah, that's been on the list to do for the past three years. You know, it's just not being done. I don't know if you ran into something similar

Speaker 2 (14:17):

All the time. Um, and that's a big frustration for clients and prospective clients, those things aren't getting done. Um, you know, they're not keeping the word if you will, as far as saying, yeah, we will migrate you if it's migrating from an on-prem email server to office 365 or something like that, or yeah. Upgrading that 11 year old server, you mentioned, um, what, what you need to do is, is be upfront with your client. You know, we've onboarded, you, we've done our eval. We start supporting you. Here are your issues. Here are some potential solutions to issues and here's some estimated costs. Let's start going through them. Prioritizing. Most companies cannot do all those projects immediately for a couple of reasons. One, it costs a lot of money at times. No, sometimes it doesn't, but there may be either hardware, software licensing. It also takes time. Yes, we have the time you have the time, but they also just need to run their operations in the company. So we need to figure out how much time they need to invest. And then you figure out, you know, how long is the project gonna take? And you, you manage to that. Um, as far as what the deliverables, what the expectations are, what the risks are. Um, and then you be a man of your word and you get it done.

Speaker 1 (15:30):

Right? Yeah. And sometimes there's a certain order to it as well. Um, you know, you're trying to accomplish this and I don't know, goal or item, but you know, when you're discovery and evaluation, you find that, okay, well, before that's done, we gotta do this. And this first, but, uh, knowing that I guess up front is, is, is a must, but yeah. Then kind of planning it out and setting your timelines and like, you know, a lot of this comes back to keeping communication.

Speaker 2 (16:02):

Exactly. Yep.

Speaker 1 (16:04):

Yeah. Um, one other item. Uh, my last item that I had, um, has to do with repeat issues. So like our first item say that it company is quick to respond. Uh, you have a printer problem, let's just say, or email and they come and then they fix it. But then two weeks or another month you have that same problem. They're quick to re come back and they fix it and they leave again. And it's just this repeat of these same common problems that, you know, they're not digging and finding root cause they're not taking the time that they should because they're too busy, you know, perhaps. Um, but you keep having these repeat Kering problems on something that could just be prevented,

Speaker 2 (16:49):

Prevented, or fixed correctly the first time. Um, I'll go back to that conversation. I had with Dan, uh, the COO of the construction company, uh, here in Wisconsin. So their issue with the current provider coming in after 5:00 PM, um, and trying to fix problems is they'll fix it, but they can't validate it because the users are not around. So if you're talking to printing issue while the user has been able to test printing so frequently, the issue is that, yeah, they've, they've come on site and they say, they fix it. Well, the user hasn't validated, they fixed it. And so they have to come onsite multiple times. Um, and it's frustrating to the users because the users should be doing different items and actually bringing them money for the construction company versus wasting their time on repeat it issues. But, but that's a giant thing you brought up Chris that, that a lot of small, medium businesses and nonprofits are or struggle with our it providers is the same issue keeps happening all the time. And there's no explanation why, and there's no long-term fix.

Speaker 1 (17:55):

Yeah. And then you have all that loss of productivity and, and aggravation. That's kind of what it builds up to be. Exactly. Yep. Yeah. And some, um, you know, like what you said is, is also kind of a, I mean, it makes a lot of sense because say a printer, you know, there's different almost layers to printing, you know, is it a physical printer problem? Is it a network or connection problem? Is it an application problem? So if they're not there to work with the user and they come in and fix it, like, oh yeah, I see there's a connection, physical problem on the printer. Got it fixed. But yet then the next day starts the staff come in and they still can't print because there's also an application side issue.

Speaker 2 (18:37):

Exactly. Yep, exactly. Yeah. That's a great point. And, and all of these points really come down to it's that relationship and for a solid it provider, um, to care enough and have that relationship with the clients that they care and their staff cares about fixing the issues, um, and letting, letting our clients get the most ROI out of their technology. Um, so it's, so it's actually bringing in money versus as you mentioned, that drain, um, you know, of time and money.

Speaker 1 (19:11):

Yeah, for sure. Um, do you have any, any last comments or, or anything? I mean, I think what you just said kind of really summed it up.

Speaker 2 (19:21):

Yeah. That it's relationship, it's a relationship, whether you don't know what you're paying for that's because someone didn't explain it to you. Uh, you mentioned the downtime. Well, you know, that's the relationship and not caring if it's frequent downtime, uh, the scheduling of the support, that's the business model and relationship. So in my mind, it all comes down to those two things. What's the it company's business model. Um, and, and how has the relationship with you? Um, everything can be solved if they have the right relationship and the right business model. Um, because yes, the downtime will go away. The alerting will be, you know, part of the contract and you you'll see in those, um, business technology reviews, you'll see the backups, you'll see the test restores, you'll see the security items. You'll, you'll talk compliancy. Um, and the details will start going away that are missed. And so you can actually work on future as far as growth expansion and how technology can enable that versus technologies just be a time suck. Yeah. It's that relationship and business model.

Speaker 1 (20:26):

Yeah. Absolutely. It all, all fits in together. Exactly. Yeah. Well, Kevin, I appreciate you, uh, coming on is, uh, I guess with me to go over this and, uh, hope to have you again, anytime you want. Yeah. Uh, one last thing I want to just offer to everybody is an ebook that we built together. This is a very common 11 items that when we have taken over it for a new client, we've seen that these items just were ignored or not addressed, and they're critical items that need to be addressed. Um, I'm talking about that they were never addressed by the previous it, and so this is a really great talking point, you know, with your existing, it, uh, outsourced it or your existing internal it, but you can just have a discussion with them and bring up these points and just say, Hey, are we doing this and this and this very non-technical, but again, you know, we're trying to just help educate business owners on what to expect from their it.

Speaker 2 (21:31):

Exactly. Yeah. It's great. It's a great guide. And you do not have to be a client of Wolf guard or Peterson technology to use it. It will give you the questions that you should ask your internal staff, um, or your outsource it, and just make sure that you are doing what's needed for your company.

Speaker 1 (21:47):

Yeah, absolutely. All right. Well, thanks again, Kevin. Uh, yup. And, um, yeah, everyone take care and be safe. Have a great day. Thank you.