Delivering on the “Advisors”

I spoke with the CEO of one of our clients recently, and he shared some frustration with me.  He wants Howard Tech to be more of an advisor, and actually live out the A in (Advisors) our name.  Last month a different CEO said “I pay you guys to give me expert advice!  I don’t have time to learn technology and I depend on HTA to help me.”

These comments hit me hard, as I’m motivated by MUCH more than providing good technical support or help desk services as a managed services provider.  I want to help our clients grow, think proactively, and reduce risk, and we have valuable expertise to serve the market.  HTA can absolutely improve, and that starts with me.  I’ve spent time considering why these CEOs feel this way, and how many other clients share a similar opinion.  Our account management team invests tremendous efforts to help advise our clients, but we are falling short for at least these two companies.  As I’ve been thinking about the why, I have come up with a couple of consistent themes.

First, businesses are running extremely fast and it’s tough for everyone to plan ahead.  At the individual level, most people agree that they should not use the same password for everything, and yet they have not gotten around to implementing a password management system.  At the business level, there are critical and proactive measures that can be taken – employee training, two-factor authentication, disaster recovery planning and more – but the urgency of the moment keeps us from thinking ahead as much as we’d like.  I’m equally guilty of this, as I have been “planning” to update my will and other critical documents for several years.  These things are really tough to get done and yet for technology issues, it’s my job to help you think ahead!  HTA has to be better in terms of pushing critical issues that are right for your company, so please forgive us in advance if we push things harder in 2021!

I have also found that our team sometimes tries too hard to save money for clients, and that it doesn’t always serve your company best.  We are absolutely frugal with our own spending and always try to help companies to be as efficient as possible.  I recently jumped into an issue for a client where their office had poor network performance for the past several months.  After digging into the details, we had allowed them to continue using a 10 year old switch!  Our staff spent countless hours with various band-aids trying to fix issues, when the right solution was to replace this old device.  Switches should typically run for 7 years, so it would have been best for HTA to recommend an upgrade three years ago.  Instead, we kept deferring this replacement and ultimately the users in that office had significant work interruptions.  This is another mistake on our behalf, and we will push harder to be a better partner for you moving forward.

One of these two executives also said to me “you should be coming to me with solutions, I shouldn’t have to ask you about these things.”  That’s also true.  This feedback was really tough to hear but absolutely good for me and Howard Tech.  We aren’t perfect and will continue to make mistakes.  Please share your feedback with us.  If you feel HTA can improve in any area, let your Account Manager know or feel free to call me directly.  We are committed to serving well, and doing the right thing for our clients 100% of the time.  Your input is valued and appreciated and will make an impact on helping us serve you better.  Thanks in advance for sharing with us.