Basic business computer support starts with mapping out the territory the customer calls their computer system. The number of computers, users, locations, and budget being key factors. The difficulty, and art if you will, is translating what level of support and function the client is looking for with what sense of urgency and budget the vendor understands and can deliver at. Good vendors will try to map this out early on. Happy customers have allowed this process to happen. My observation has been that the impatience of a customer to get anyone in to do something and/or a technician willing to try anything make anything work can lead to problems.
After a little water under the bridge, as the relationship starts to build, the following aspects of support need to be mapped out. Covering these topics should provide clearer understanding of expectations and responsibilities for both parties. The larger and more complex the client’s systems are, the more vast the list and complexity of topics becomes. But these are what I would consider the key aspects of IT support to touch on as the IT support vendor becomes an increasingly integral aspect of the customer’s operations:
- Individual computers – an inventory and then understanding the main purpose of each
- Shared Data – LAN and common apps; groupings of similar computers
- Vertical Apps – special database or operations apps specific to their operation/industry
- Disaster Protection – Backups, power protection, physical security, disaster recovery and business resumption plans
- Mobile Data – Smartphone access and cloud services
- Web Resources – website, domain control, social media, …
- Security Audits – compliance with industry regulations, customer audits, etc.
There are more areas to be sure, but if you’ve addressed the ones above, you’ve got most of the basics out of the way.