Friday, March 11, 2016

SOP: Software Policies that Keep Things from Breaking

In my latest video I talk about software policies that contribute to your success.

This is a companion to the Hardware Policies video here.

In this video I touch on some of the Software Policies you should have to maximize the client's investment in technology - and maximize your profit as a consulting company.

One of the most important policies is to match the generation of software and hardware. Don't put old operating systems on new hardware; Don't put new operating systems on old hardware. The reason is clear: The mismatch guarantees that some drivers won't work and others will be buggy. People have this odd sense that they are saving money. But they end up spending it on chasing bugs.

Another important software policy is to never skip more than one versions level on a software package that's important to the company. The biggest example here is Microsoft Office, but it's also true with the line of business software and any other important packages. The more consistently software works across an organization, the more productive everyone is.

One easy way to do this is with subscriptions. I love the Adobe subscription model even though it's expensive. I have one laptop and three desktop workstations with the Adobe subscription. Everything is always the latest and greatest and It just works. The Microsoft model is a little harder since it costs the client money and you can't make a reasonable profit. I am currently including the Office subscription to Cloud Service clients via Intermedia. It costs me a little money every month, but certainly adds to the stickiness.

One policy some people have trouble with is: Sell the latest Operating System. We, as nerds, like operating systems - or hate them, or prefer one over another. Clients generally care a lot less than we do. When you sell a new machine, just sell the latest O.S. All the game-playing to keep clients on the older versions just leads to more money being spent and to buggier machines. Period. It just does.

Finally, it is critical to apply all patches, fixes, updates. Some of these are weekly and some occasionally. This includes service packs. Your schedule may be different than ours, but you should have a schedule and execute it regularly.

A huge help in this is an RMM tool (remote monitoring and management). In my opinion, one of the most basic elements of professional consulting today is to have a good RMM. If you don't use an RMM, I believe you are not serving your clients as well as you should - and you're not serving your own company well either. I currently install MAXfocus agents on all client machines.

Things Don't Break

People argue with me about each of these. But I can tell you from 20+ years of experience, our clients' computers don't break. Really. We make money because our clients and consulting company have the save goals: Stuff Doesn't Break. In order to reach that, you need to follow all the hardware policies and all the software policies outlined here.

It takes a certain amount of faith to do these things. You have to believe that things won't break. You have to believe that it's worth the money. Yes, it will cost a little more up front. It will be a slightly larger initial investment. But the longer-term cost to the client will be lower AND the profit for you will be higher. Really.

But you can't execute half way. You can't buy one new machine and expect everything to get better. You have to execute all of these all the time. You have to commit.

And when you do, life gets better for you and the client!


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