Stilgherrian writes:

From Monday 1 September 2008, except in a very few cases, I won’t be doing any IT Support work personally. This article explains how things will work after that.

For two years now, I’ve been intending to operate in line with Prussia.Net’s slogan, Managing Information for Small Business. As I explained in Prussia.Net evolves, this is all really about your business information, not “just” computers. And it’s about a managed approach, not just fixing things when they break.

My personal role will be to do that planning and management. I’ll help you figure out what tools will most effectively support your business, and then select and manage the suppliers who’ll make it happen. I’ll also be working more on web development, and especially the new “Web 2.0” and “social media” tools.

All this is much better use of my experience and skills than crawling under desks or running software installers!

(I’ll also spend more time on my media work, but that’s another story.)

Some of our clients have been “managing” their computer systems with nothing more sophisticated than “call Stilgherrian when something goes wrong”. That will have to change, because I won’t be available! And since computers are essential business tools these days, it’s also unprofessional.

As I’ve said on my personal website, There ain’t no shortcuts to professionally-managed IT.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be selecting an IT installation and support firm to take care of those services — a firm rather than an individual because individuals need to take holidays and so on.

To help you make the transition to proper IT management, I’ve put together a 3-step process:

  1. Later this week I’ll send you a questionnaire to help you identify the key IT issues in your business. Please have someone complete the questionnaire before Friday 15 August.

  2. Based on your answers, I’ll provide you with a quote for developing an IT Plan for your business. Should you choose to go ahead, I’ll work with you to develop that plan.

  3. We can then implement that IT Plan for you, and review it regularly.

How much will it cost?

Filling in the questionnaire and getting that initial quote costs nothing but your time, and there’s no obligation to proceed any further.

The cost of developing an IT Plan will depend on the size and complexity of your business, and on the number of “gaps” between how you’re currently operating and “best practice”.

New rates for IT Support services will be introduced on 1 September, and I hope to announce them a week beforehand. The exact rate will depend on the deal we negotiate with the external supplier. However I’m looking for a professional but cost-effective IT services company, not someone who does things “on the cheap”, and it has been two years since the last change.

What about existing work?

Any work on existing projects or job tickets will still be charged at the rate you’d been quoted, or the usual rate you’ve been paying until now.

However, between now and 1 September I will be giving priority to projects which have already started or where a deposit has already been paid, and to urgent faults.

What about Web Development and Internet Hosting?

I will eventually simplify the other two “branches” of Prussia.Net’s business too: creating and maintaining websites, and the “Internet Hosting” of your web and email. For the time being there are no changes here.

Any questions?

I’ll provide more details as we go, and if we have any open job tickets I’ll be in touch tomorrow to schedule those tasks. If you do have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please let me know.