We put the IT in city®

CitySmart Blog

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Rodney Riga, Data Center Team Lead
Rod Riga

You’ve probably called utility service providers for help when experiencing an issue—and wished afterward that the lost time could somehow be given back to you. As you replay the call in your mind, you become even more frustrated.

Maybe the customer service representative had trouble understanding your problem.
Maybe they were sticking to some sort of call script to work through the issue.
Maybe they were making your problem more complex.
Maybe they simply didn’t have the capacity to provide proper support as promised.

In the end, you just wanted the problem solved, and you saw the issue as a relatively simple one that they should have been able to fix. Right?

At your city, you need an IT helpdesk that gets the simple stuff right. With your city staff wearing multiple hats and juggling busy workloads, there is never enough time for the unexpected. Addressing what should be a simple issue is a must so that these issues do not become time vampire nightmares.

Here are five examples of simple stuff that cities struggle with before switching to a solution like IT in a Box.

Computer Support

1. Computers, printers, copiers, and other hardware not working

We know that IT support engineers often oversee complex hardware that employees never touch such as servers and network equipment. However, it’s the heavily used hardware like computers, printers, and copiers that see the most wear and tear from employees. Printers break. Copiers stop working. Computers run into problems.

In fact, cities may even have issues with a printer or a certain computer that go on for years. Why? Sometimes the IT support vendor doesn’t really understand how to fix the root cause of a problem. Other times, the IT support vendor fails to help a city clearly understand that the best step is to replace a broken piece of equipment.

Keeping basic, heavily-used equipment up and working is a primary job of IT support. Engineers should either quickly get to the root cause of an issue or urge you to replace a piece of equipment if it’s dying or dead.

2. Access issues

This includes issues accessing an employee’s computer, the internet, email, a document management system, or an application. Everyone experiences these kinds of issues from time to time—whether forgetting a password or needing setup help as a new employee. At some cities, previous vendors have done a poor job of coordinating such access—letting many days lapse before getting back to an employee or not following a strict process for enabling authorized access. Employees should be able to call into an IT helpdesk that quickly gets them secure, approved access to important applications crucial for them to do their job.

3. Missing files

In this case, we’re talking about missing files that are the result of human error and still retrievable (such as “deleted” files in the employee’s recycle bin folder on their computer). Even if an email or document seems gone forever, it may still exist. And depending on the city’s data backup and disaster recovery system, even seemingly permanently deleted files can be recovered. A good IT helpdesk will not throw up their hands but instead work with the employee to find or restore data that seems like it vanished.

4. Frozen or locked computers

It’s not uncommon for a city to tell us they have struggled with this issue for years. As a result, employees unnecessarily suffered with slow computers. A good IT support vendor will immediately address likely causes of frozen computers such as:

  • Software patches: Patches not only resolve security issues but also resolve performance issues and bugs.
  • Software updates and upgrades: As technology evolves, software must evolve with it. Updates and upgrades help software keep pace with the higher demands of modern operating systems, multimedia, sophisticated applications, and higher internet speeds.
  • Aging, obsolete hardware: On average, computers start to become a liability after five years. In many cases, a slow computer may be the result of age and it eventually becomes less costly to just replace the computer rather than support it until the machine dies.

5. Resolving issues with other software and technology vendors

We call this “vendor management.” Many cities—by themselves or through the help of a previous IT vendor—have often tried to resolve ongoing issues with internet service providers, software vendors, or hardware vendors. Sometimes, issues are extremely technical and both a city and an inexperienced IT vendor might not understand the exact root cause. For example, a city might spin its wheels about slow internet for years as an internet service provider simply tells staff to restart their modem every day and limit the use of streaming video. By contrast, an experienced IT support engineer may discover a cabling, port, device, or configuration issue. Then, that engineer would work with the ISP until the problem is resolved.

In a recent case study, a city clerk told us “…we all now realize we should have [switched to IT in a Box] a long, long time ago.” A major reason for that reflection was the city’s experience with unreliable IT support. Having the right IT support makes a huge difference to city operations on so many levels.

Are you struggling with simple IT issues that just never get resolved? Reach out to us today.