Idea Fest 2021

It’s that time again! We recently hosted our fourth annual Idea Fest, a Shark Tank-style forum where employees present their ideas for company improvement. Presentations may focus on streamlining a particular job or task, better emulating our core values, improving the company’s bottom line, or enhancing the service we provide to our clients and partners. Instead of just identifying problems or areas that could be improved, Idea Fest focuses on solutions; presenters are expected to include a plan for implementation. We have two prizes: a $50 gift card for the best idea, and another $50 gift card for the best presentation.

Each presenter has 5-10 minutes to explain their idea, followed by a brief Q&A session with the rest of the team. At the close of Idea Fest, all attendees vote on their favorite idea and presentation, and the management team meets later to organize execution of the ideas.

This year, we had three presenters:

  • Natasha Herrera, our COO, outlined a Road Trip system for updating employees on recent company updates
  • Josh Insel, IT Engineer from Team 4, won Best Idea for his proposal of a longevity bonus
  • Rachel Roybal, our HR Director, won Best Presentation with her idea to create a “FIT Kit” welcome package for new hires

Best Idea: Longevity Bonus

Technology has the highest turnover rate of U.S. industries, so employee retention is a huge focus for most businesses. We are always looking for ways to make sure that we are providing a stable workplace with both room and support for growth. Idea Fest is one of those ways; it allows team members to share their innovations and ideas so we can all grow together.

Josh’s idea was to provide an extra incentive as a thank you to long-term employees; every additional year an employee sticks with the FIT family, they are eligible for a bonus that increases with their tenure. Color us (not at all) surprised: everybody loved this idea!

Best Presentation: New Hire Welcome Package

Keeping with the theme of employee retention and happiness, our HR Director Rachel suggested a “FIT Kit” to be sent to new hires before their start date. Especially while the bulk of the company is working remotely, a welcome kit is a great way to showcase FIT culture and help new team members get a feel for who we are.

The proposed kit would include a note from our CEO, employee testimonials, our core values, and of course, some FIT swag! One of our core values is to create a Raving Fan culture, both internally and externally, and we loved this idea on how to create raving fans out of our new hires! A big part of our team growth has been through employee referrals, underscoring the appropriateness of the Walt Disney quote Rachel used to kick off her presentation: “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and again and bring their friend.”

We’re stoked to see how the FIT Kit turns out!

Runner-Up: Virtual “Road Trip”

Natasha, our COO, tied with Rachel for Best Presentation. She pitched a virtual “Company Road Trip” idea. The road trip would be set up as an online presentation of company changes and updates over the previous quarter: new hires, internal job openings, new technology or applications we’re using, exciting new goals, an update on company growth, etc.

It would also include a “road closures” list: anything that is changing or being streamlined. Teams or departments could choose to complete the road trip together, or individually. After completion, employees qualify for souvenir swag.

A central figure in this road trip idea was Fitzgerald, or Fitzy, Natasha’s proposed new mascot for internal FIT functions. We enjoyed meeting Fitzy 1.0 and who knows, maybe we’ll see him again on some FIT swag!

We love that our team is constantly looking for ways to help us improve and move forward! That innovation is one of our core values, and Idea Fest is the perfect showcase for that creativity. Thanks for tuning in!

If you want to join a fast-growing team that thrives on ideas, team input, and raving fan culture, we’d love to talk to you! Head over to our Careers page to see if we’ve got an opening that suits you.

Who’s On Your Bench? Teaching & Delegating for Growth

And we’re back for round 3 of our core values discussion! Our ‘Teach & Delegate’ core value is near and dear to our hearts. Many organizations tend to focus on formal, structured training—a rigid, chalkboard-style approach to teaching. That has its place, but we can’t neglect teaching by example—the qualitative skills team members pick up from everyday interactions with leadership. As most parents can attest, we imitate what we see rather than what we hear.

Training at the Company Level

How do you teach others to teach? To lead? The FIT team is more than halfway through a 15-week training course for our entire organization. Each Tuesday, we have a companywide roundtable where employees discuss what they learned and enjoyed, leadership shares how the training applies to our business, and we have a question-and-answer session to make sure that application is clear.

As leaders of our organization, we have the responsibility to lead by example, to show that our core values are not just standards for company conduct, but standards for our personal lives and choices. For us, this involves encouraging participation, inviting employees to share their stories and struggles and wins, how they have applied or want to apply the concepts we’re discussing.

Training at the Employee Level

Companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in training their staff. Training Magazine’s 2019 Training Industry Report found that on average, employees received 42.1 hours of training annually. However, that training is usually designed to help an employee better fulfill their existing role—not to prepare them for the next one.

At FIT, we have this concept of “being on the bench.” To move up in the company, you need to seek out mentors, learn the roles and responsibilities of the job you want, and “be on the bench” for that position. By the same token, though, you can’t move out of your position unless you have someone on your bench. This cycle of learning and teaching allows for smoother transitions and more internal hiring.

To help with this passing of the baton, our teams are recording hundreds of videos documenting our processes and knowledge across all departments, making it even easier to “be on the bench.”

Elevation Through Delegation

It’s difficult to discuss the topics of teaching and delegating separately because they’re so intrinsically linked. They also tie in with our other core values, such as constructive communication and staying humble and adaptable.

Much of the business world today is infamous for its selfish, me-first spirit: climb the corporate ladder, always look out for #1 or people will take advantage of you. Few people would actively endorse these messages, but there’s definitely a feeling of “that’s just the way it is, so to be successful, I’ve got to play by those rules.”

At FIT, we feel that we can’t be successful—as leaders, as individuals, as a company—if our staff isn’t successful. For us to do well, our employees need to do well. We want to elevate our team, because it elevates us. The same applies between employees; we will not succeed as a team if everybody isn’t working to elevate both themselves AND each other.

As an example of delegation, we recently hired a new engineer named Rance. Usually, Shane, who manages our engineering teams, would be responsible for training a new hire. However, fellow engineer Douglas (who, on a related note, won Best Idea at our Idea Fest for his plan of creating more structured mentorship for new hires) volunteered to train Rance, and Shane agreed to delegate that responsibility to him. We love when team members engage like this; it strengthens the team bond, trains employees for managerial responsibilities, and creates a sustainable cycle of growth.

What Makes Delegating Hard?

It can be difficult to delegate: maybe the job won’t get done as quickly as you’d like, or you’re worried that sharing your knowledge or responsibilities will make you irrelevant or dispensable. But if you don’t delegate, you can’t grow. If a rock climber never let go of one hold, he’d never scale the wall.

You can’t delegate if you’re worried about yourself, your position, your success. Going back to the “bench” concept, are you taking the time to train and mentor, to invest in and elevate someone else? Doing it yourself may be faster, but delegating means restraining yourself from doing a task, and allowing someone else to do it slower.

When you let go of that ego and elevate those around you by sharing your knowledge, you elevate yourself, too.

How It Benefits You

We want to elevate, not just ourselves and our team, but also our clients and partners. Our mission is to help businesses achieve their growth goals as smoothly as possible. If you’re ready to elevate your business, give us a call today at 888-339-5694 or contact us here.

4 Reasons Your Business Needs a VCIO

As businesses grow, that trajectory usually isn’t a straight, steady line. Without careful planning, those forward steps may be marked by major growing pains. Is your IT environment equipped to support your organization as it matures? The CIO, or Chief Information Officer, is responsible for providing high-level technical consulting—evaluating the big picture and making recommendations to smooth that growth path.

The Role of the CIO

Your CIO handles large-scale projects and IT needs. Let’s say you’re looking at moving your on-premise infrastructure into the cloud. This kind of major migration project takes a lot of coordination: rallying the troops, directing the engineers, getting the proper resources, and architecting how it will work from a business perspective as well as on the technical side. How will operations be affected? What will it cost? What risks are involved? These are all questions to which your CIO can provide answers.

Much of a CIO’s job deals with risk. What business problem are we trying to solve? What are the possible solutions? What are the risks and benefits of each? A CIO evaluates your options, makes a recommendation, and oversees the project to completion.

What about organizations that cannot afford (or don’t yet need) a full-time CIO in-house? How can you get the expertise of a CIO that knows your environment, but on a part-time basis?

Four Benefits of a VCIO

Businesses can outsource this consultant position to a VCIO, or Virtual CIO. Why go the virtual route?

  1. Cost Savings. Between salary and benefits, a full-time, in-house CIO may cost you between $100k-$300k/yr. A virtual CIO is just a fraction of this; for smaller businesses that don’t need a full-time CIO, outsourcing this role makes more sense. Partnering with a VCIO means you don’t have to choose between overpaying and sacrificing that valuable insight.
  2. Perspective. A true VCIO partner will get to know your business inside and out, becoming nearly indistinguishable from your in-house team. However, since they also work with other clients in a variety of industries, they bring that experience to the table in finding creative solutions to your business problems.
  3. Consulting. A VCIO conducts regular technology business planning. This should be a living document, outlining the opportunities, potential pain points, and recommended solutions for your environment over the next 3-24 months.
  4. Disaster Recovery Planning. Disaster recovery and business continuity are a regular part of business planning, but they’ve become especially urgent during the current pandemic crisis. This is one of the areas that showed the starkest contrast between organizations that had CIO or VCIO services and those that didn’t. As various areas went into lockdown or similar restrictions, did you have the necessary infrastructure for your team to work remotely? Do you have it now? If your team is still working remotely, can they access company data securely and without compromising compliance? What other kinds of disasters might your organization face? A VCIO creates contingency plans that prepare you for all situations.

A virtual CIO partner is an invaluable asset to your business. At FIT Solutions, our VCIO services are bundled with our managed IT services, providing you with both the technology and the high-level consulting you need to achieve a steady growth path. Give us a call at 888-339-5694 or contact us today to see how a VCIO can benefit your organization.

Lessons on Team Unity from the Roman Empire

Time for another behind-the-scenes peek at the inner workings of FIT Solutions! Last time we examined the first of our core values, cutting-edge expertise. Next up in the series is Team Unity.

Why is unity so important to us as an organization? How do we look for this quality in new hires? And how do we continue to foster that spirit amongst our team?

The Why

Just about every amazing accomplishment comes from a team effort. For example, the Roman Empire didn’t arise by accident; it took systematic teamwork and organization. Their army was immensely successful, in large part due to the training soldiers received to work as a unit. We have big goals at FIT, and we can’t get there without a unified team.

Another motivation for prioritizing team unity is the nature of consulting work. To be a strong IT partner, we need to know our clients’ environments inside and out, and we put a lot of effort into making informed recommendations to improve their performance. The varied knowledge and expertise of our team is a huge asset, but what happens when a team of engineers doesn’t agree on one solution? If they meet with a client, and each one is recommending a different approach or tool, they could actually undermine the client’s confidence in our ability to solve their business problems.

To make sure we act together as one unit, we have regular account management meetings to discuss different options and solutions before settling on a course of action for the team. Even if their presented option was not the one chosen, each engineer supports the final decision and does everything they can to make it successful. Think of it like a football team: even if a player would have personally chosen a different play, his team has the best chance of success if he puts his all into the directed play he is given.

The How: Part 1—In New Hires

One of the contributing causes for the fall of the Roman Empire was that legions began recruiting foreign mercenaries to keep up their numbers. Having no loyalty to the empire, the new recruits lacked the unity and cohesiveness of the original ranks, and eventually, many of them turned against Rome.

It may seem like a bit of an extreme example, but the underlying principle is key; we’ve worked really hard to build a cohesive and united team, and we want to make sure that new team members will help to strengthen that bond rather than erode it.

Many of our new hires come from employee referrals; we prefer to hire people that we know will fit our culture and values. When we don’t know an applicant, though, we conduct an exercise that asks about the candidate’s personal, professional, and financial goals. We also ask them to explain what our core values mean to them, and how they pursue those values in their own life. Often, we’ll do a role play exercise as well to help them get a better feel for what they can expect after joining our team.

The How: Part 2—In the Team

Team unity includes both unity between employees and leadership, and unity between teammates. To encourage the first, we strive for transparency, and have daily company-wide meetings to keep everybody on the same page. At those meetings, we report on wins from each department, welcome new FIT team members, share positive feedback we’ve gotten from clients, and announce work anniversaries. We also use that time for Raving Fan shoutouts, expressing appreciation for a teammate that has gone above and beyond for their team or for a client. We even have a dedicated Microsoft Teams channel for Raving Fans feedback.

Having a united team is great in theory but can be difficult in practice. When things get hard, when we have strong opposing viewpoints on service—that’s when this value gets put to the test. If we encounter a situation where we see a slip in our unity, we immediately meet to discuss what happened and how we can do better.

When FIT Solutions was started, we structured our teams in a unique way; instead of having to work their way up a help desk, clients get immediate access to a team of high-level engineers that know their environment. This has a two-fold benefit: our clients get better service, and our engineers get mentoring. Finding mentors in the IT field can be difficult, but with a team structure like ours, teammates sharpen and drive each other, working together to solve problems and expand their knowledge. This, too, contributes to team unity.

The Result

A streamlined team with one goal in mind is capable of awesome things, both internally and for our clients. We love working closely with our partners to solve business problems. If you’re ready to work with a team that is truly in sync with your environment and business goals, give us a call today at 888-339-5694 or contact us here.

“I Passed My Compliance Audit; Now What?”

It’s that time again—time for your compliance audit. Depending on your business, it might be an annual audit from a government or regulatory entity, or it may be requested by someone with whom you’re about to do business—a prospective vendor, partner or client.

What’s involved in this audit? And if you pass, does that mean you’re good to go? What’s the next step?

What Is a Compliance Audit?

A compliance audit is a set of questions designed to make sure that you are complying with industry or federal regulations. Most often, these are related to security of information. The type of information varies, but the ultimate goal is the same: making sure that your organization is taking the appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the data that has been entrusted to you.

Audits across different industries ask different questions. A healthcare compliance audit will be looking for HIPAA metrics—steps taken to safeguard protected health information (PHI). Brokers are subject to FINRA compliance audits to ensure security in the financial industry, and organizations that contract with the government must comply with NIST requirements for cybersecurity.

Compliance audits average between 100-200 questions, most of which are highly technical and are best answered by your IT team or resource. It’s not a black-and-white pass/fail scenario, though. Since audits may vary not only by industry, but even from company to company, not every question will apply to your business. For example, a healthcare organization may send a HIPAA compliance audit to a potential vendor, but since the vendor doesn’t handle any PHI, many of the questions won’t apply. This doesn’t mean that the two can’t do business together; rather, it supports an informed discussion about their partnership.

If I Passed, That Means I’m Secure, Right?

Not exactly. As Anthony, one of our FIT engineers, explains, it’s just a first step. Compliance audits are concerned with different aspects of your business and environment, but not EVERY aspect. Some areas of your network are not included, but could still pose a vulnerability in your security.

Plus, most audit questions are not a simple pass/fail; you may have passed, but with the equivalent of a C. Think of your compliance audit as a report card—an assessment of where you’re at, and where you can improve. Once you identify those areas, what do you do about them?

Next Steps

Your compliance audit helps you develop a TBP, or Technology Business Plan, for what adjustments or improvements your IT environment needs over the next 3-24 months. Areas that barely passed or didn’t pass will be the primary areas of focus for your IT team, and can spur projects or other resolutions to help strengthen and streamline your network.

Since the main focus of compliance audits is security, take a good look at the cybersecurity measures you have in place. New threats emerge every day, so it takes a proactive approach and constant vigilance to counter attacks and defend against new vulnerabilities and exploits.

At FIT Solutions, we are your go-to IT resource. We complete compliance audits for you and make recommendations based on the results. We also help prepare your environment to meet and repel cyberattacks. Give us a call today at 888-339-5694 or contact info@fitsolutions.biz to see what elite IT service is like.

How to Become Unstoppable

In a world where the technology landscape is constantly changing, how do you stay ahead of the curve? You’ve got to change with it.

From a business perspective, this means continuing to learn and adapt, taking in new information and figuring out better ways to solve business problems.

At FIT, maintaining cutting-edge expertise is one of our seven core values—the guiding principles that shape our actions as a company. We’ll be delving into each of these values over the next several weeks:

  • Cutting-Edge Expertise
  • Humble & Adaptable
  • Elite Raving Fan Culture
  • Constructive Communication
  • Team Unity
  • Hard Work
  • Teach & Delegate

As an MSP, we serve as the IT support system for our clients. To do so while providing elite service requires a high level of technical excellence and knowledge. Our clients have widely varying IT environments, with different needs and toolsets, so we need to be broad and progressive in building our knowledge base. The more we learn, the more we can accomplish for our clients.

So how can maintaining cutting-edge expertise make you unstoppable?

Forming an Unstoppable Team

During the hiring process, we have a rigorous standard for experience, and place a high value on being an expert or highly capable technician. Some of this comes with on-the-job training, and some of it is a base requirement to join the FIT team.

To find the right mix, we look for particular qualities in job applicants as well as quantifiable data, like certifications. We want people who are humble and eager to learn, because teachability coupled with experience is an unstoppable force.

How Do We Maintain This Momentum?

The typical ramp-up for any company’s new hire is a heavily front-loaded training schedule, which tapers off as they get comfortable with their role and responsibilities. How do we keep an intense focus on maintaining and increasing expertise while balancing the needs of the day-to-day work?

We put a strong emphasis on continuous learning, with semiweekly engineer roundtables and monthly training sessions. In the pre-COVID-19 era, we hosted lunch-and-learns every month or two, inviting partners or engineers to present on particular topics. We leverage our partnerships with vendors to get training and updates on their tools until we know it as well as or better than they do.

We also make extensive use of LinkedIn Learning; our engagement falls in the 75th percentile of companies that use this platform. Our Learning paths are a combination of management-chosen and self-driven, and feature both the videos already offered by the platform as well as how-to and educational videos put together by our own team. It’s no surprise that computer networking and network administration are among our top skills learned, but the most popular programs actually center on communication, emotional intelligence and teamwork!

Our client base covers a range of industries, from healthcare to finance to manufacturing to recreation, and each industry comes with its own language of sorts. To be a true partner and actively contribute towards achieving their business goals, we need to be able to speak the lingo.  So some of our trainings are industry-specific, helping our engineers communicate effectively with our end-users and client contacts.

How Cutting-Edge Expertise Benefits You

Every single minute there are new things to learn. To stop is to stagnate. If you don’t prioritize learning and growth, you’ve basically stopped.

We see so many companies that are using obsolete systems because they ‘get the job done,’ without fully grasping how much time or revenue is wasted on inefficiencies. At FIT, we’re always working to learn what’s new and how to better solve business problems. We love getting to put that drive to work for you—searching out inefficiencies, implementing new solutions, and streamlining your environment until it hums.

Ready to work with a team of cutting-edge experts? Give us a call today at 888-339-5694.

Welcome to Idea Fest 2020!

We recently held our third annual Idea Fest, where employees develop and present ideas on how we can improve. These can revolve around how to improve your job, the whole company, or the service that we provide to clients. No idea is too small. We have two prizes: a $25 gift card for the best idea, and another $25 gift card for the best presentation.

Ideas are presented Shark Tank-style, where each presenter has the floor for 5-10 minutes, followed by a short Q&A session with other team members. The management team meets later to discuss the best ideas, decide the winners, and organize implementation of the winning ideas.

Idea Fest focuses on not just identifying problems or areas for improvement, but actually proposing solutions. Presentations are expected to include a plan for execution and the anticipated results.

This year, we had six presentations. David Gadson, our Procurement Manager, won Best Presentation for his idea for adding an Ultimate Team rating. Douglas Stanley, one of our remote engineers, won Best Idea for his proposed buddy system for improving new employee onboardings.

The FIT Ultimate Team

Accountability is really important to us: accountability to our customers, to our company, but also to each other as peers and teammates. David’s idea is a peer-to-peer rating system that focuses on how we are doing on our core values.

For example, one of our core values is Constructive Communication. So how are we doing? Do our team members have a hard time getting a hold of us to answer questions? Or are we quick to respond to questions? Is our speech negative or complaining? Or are we making an effort to be positive and upbuilding? Are we actively pursuing or working towards new certifications or improving our skills?

The idea was inspired by FIFA’s Ultimate Team rating system, created by EA Sports. Our version would be a similar system, ranking from 1 to 99 (no one is a zero, and no one is perfect), and would give you an honest, broad-reaching opinion on your work abilities and habits. It gives us something we can work on, and keeps us accountable, both to ourselves and to each other.

Ratings would be anonymous and would not be tied to salary, bonuses, or performance reviews. The Ultimate Team rankings are meant to help us keep creating and refining a Raving Fan culture.

The concluding slide of David’s presentation (in which he photoshopped various team members into the Avengers) definitely played a part in his winning the Best Presentation award…

New Onboarding Buddy System

Since we serve clients all over the nation, a decent chunk of our team work remotely (even before the pandemic). However, starting a new job remotely presents some unique challenges. Douglas Stanley started his presentation by asking our remote engineers tied in for an honest rating of their onboarding experience, from 1-10. Suffice it to say, the average was not where we need it to be. We have some work to do!

There’s a certain degree of “out of sight, out of mind” for remote teammates that you don’t see in the office every day, especially in a company with 50+ employees. For those new hires, it can take even longer for them to truly feel like part of our FIT family. They don’t know who to go to with questions, and their new team is busy taking care of clients.

Douglas’ idea was a buddy system that assigns new hires to a single point of contact for the first 30 days. This mentor will walk them through our tools and procedures, have multiple daily check-ins, and be their go-to person for questions. They’ll also be available during the new hire’s first on-call shift.

The entire team loved this idea! Creating Raving Fans is one of our core values, and we want to give our team members the same Raving Fan service that we give to our clients.

The Fest Continues

Our other presenters proposed a company intranet, assigning product champions to develop a repository of shareable expertise on our various tools, a managed print solutions program, and a way to improve client interactions. We are exploring ways to implement some of these soon as well!

Hope you enjoyed this year’s Idea Fest as much as we did!

If you’d like to work with a team that welcomes innovation and creativity, we’d love to talk to you. Reach out to us at info@fitsolutions.biz.

Measuring KPIs: Do Your Actions Align With Your Vision?

From the FIT Leadership Team

We always strive to be fair, both to our clients and to our employees, and to create the best environment in which to work. We also strongly believe in bringing what makes this team wonderful to more businesses without compromising on quality. To accomplish that, we need to grow—both in quantity and quality.

As some of our most senior employees will tell you, FIT Solutions has always been on a growth trajectory. From our ‘garage-operation’ days until now, we’ve consistently looked for ways to grow and improve. There is no point where you have nothing left to learn or improve, so as the leadership team, we try to set an example of taking in knowledge, seeking out counsel and coaching, and holding ourselves to a higher standard every day.

As part of that constant refinement process, over the last year we’ve put increased focus on strengthening the foundation of our organization: our vision, our mission, and our core values. These make us who we are as a company, shape our team, and define more clearly our passion for solving business problems for our clients. Having the entire team on the same page when it comes to where we’re headed and how we plan to get there has been of immeasurable value.

With growth, though, often comes growing pains. We do our best to take these as the positive indicators they are of movement in the right direction. One of our core values is to stay humble and adaptable. The humility is essential to recognize where we have room for improvement, and the adaptability is vital to survive and thrive in an ever-evolving technological landscape. Those qualities are what move us to seek out opportunities to better ourselves as leaders, as partners, and as problem-solvers.

Over the past few months, we’ve been examining how we track and achieve goals within our organization. Exercising that core value of humility helped us to identify the need for an adjustment.

As humans, what we believe in and what we care about don’t always align with our behavior. For example, we may be interested in being healthy, and we may believe strongly that being fit or exercising regularly is important for good health—but are we acting in harmony with that belief? Do we take regular, methodical action to improve our diet or exercise routine? This is not always the case.

Similarly, the things we believe in at FIT—growth, adapting, creating the best environment—are not always evidenced by our actions. To be clear, we’re not talking about our team! We love our people and are very proud of everything they do. Rather, what we’re discussing here is a commitment by us, as the leadership team, to align our actions more closely with our vision.

Successful sports teams are often spoke of as being “tight”: operating like clockwork, moving efficiently and effectively, not wasting time or energy on actions that don’t align with the ultimate goal of winning. A team gets “tight” when its coach sets clear expectations and motivates his players to meet and exceed these goals. Why are the best athletes drawn to such a coach? Because through that guidance, players are able to achieve far more than they thought possible. A great coach helps athletes refine their skills and makes a workable environment for improvement and success.

Setting clear expectations and goals for our team members dignifies each individual and allows for constructive conversation. We encourage each employee to make a habit of regularly writing down their goals—personal, professional, and financial—and discussing these with their team lead in 1×1 meetings to see how FIT can help them reach those goals.

In line with this, we are introducing new KPIs, or key performance indicators, for each department and team. We already have some KPIs in place, but they are not always closely aligned with our vision and with the specific goals of each department. Returning to our sports example, the entire team may follow a common workout regimen. But if the quarterback’s goal is to get more touchdowns, and we know that running sprints gives him an edge on the field, then having him run sprints is in harmony with that goal. At first it may feel uncomfortable or difficult, but with practice, it becomes habit, improving his on-field performance.

At the end of the day, our ultimate goal is to do right by the people that depend on us—our clients and partners, our employees and their families, and our clients’ employees and families. In everything we do, we keep in mind the responsibility that we have towards this multitude of people.

If you are looking for an elite IT partner that is committed to catapulting your business to success, give us a call today at 888-339-5694.

“I’ve Got an IT Team; Why Do I Need a Managed Service Provider?”

We hear this from organizations pretty often; they have an internal IT resource, so they find it hard to justify partnering with a managed service provider, or MSP. Often, this is because people think that an MSP is designed to replace their IT department. However, an MSP can also be used as an extension of your internal team to support their work.

Why Does Your IT Team Need Support?

In short, it’s often impossible for small IT teams to have every specialization required by today’s ever-evolving technological landscape. Even the best engineers can’t be experts in everything; there’s just too much information out there.

This means that new projects and initiatives often require extensive research, trial and training before they can be completed. But your team’s day-to-day is already filled with end-user requests, operational maintenance, outage resolution and everything else they do to keep your business running smoothly. Keeping up with your business’ immediate needs is a full-time job, which forces your internal IT team to be primarily reactive, rather than proactive.

How an MSP Can Help

A managed service provider becomes an extension of your existing team, supporting them in these critical areas:

  • Filling knowledge gaps: We have 25 engineers, supporting a user base of about 7,500 across different industries and verticals. With this exposure, we’ve gained expertise on about a hundred IT enterprise toolsets and processes, making us a valuable and extensive knowledge base for your team.
  • Automating operational tasks: Automation of tools and processes covers a wide range of business operations, from managing desktops and alerts to installing upgrades and applying patches.
  • Increasing efficiency: By automating, documenting and streamlining your environment, we help IT departments increase their efficiency by 40%.
  • Access to enterprise-level toolsets: Enterprise-level toolsets for documentation, network monitoring, ticketing, and patching are usually prohibitively expensive for a small-to-medium-sized business. As an MSP, we’re able to leverage economies of scale to help businesses not just afford these toolsets, but also get the most out of them.
  • Project Support: Since your IT team is busy with the day-to-day tasks, there is little time to research and accomplish different projects for your organization. By automating tasks and providing expert support, we make everything else easier so your team can focus on those projects.
  • Proactive Technology Business Planning: We look for ways to apply technology to improve your operations, reduce costs, and boost efficiency. Every quarter, we put together a customized Technology Business Plan, which looks at your current environment and where improvements can be made while keeping within your budget. In fact, many of the recommendations don’t cost anything.

If you’re ready to take your department to the next level by partnering with a managed service provider, call FIT Solutions today at 888-339-5694 or email us here.

5 Reasons to Reexamine Your Connectivity Plan

When someone begins an IT services contract with us, our first step is to gather information about their current business and IT environment. Often, this discovery phase uncovers a disconnect in their communications situation. Here are five common pain points we see:

Pain Points

  1. Network Performance: The efficiency of your organization depends to a large extent on the efficiency of its network and applications. If your applications are running slowly or freezing up, this can irritate and slow down your workforce.
  2. Scaled Growth: Whether it’s meeting the user maximum on a VoIP plan, needing more physical phonelines for your in-office staff, or creating dedicated lines for clients, are you struggling to make your connectivity plan work for the current reality of your organization? The plan that worked for you when the contract was signed three years ago may not support the bandwidth needs of the user base you have now.
  3. Overpaying: We often find that better plans have become available but the provider is not notifying the client, so you’re paying more than necessary for their services. On top of that, when your contract with a provider expires, most of the time they jack up your rate to motivate you to sign another deal.
  4. Downtime: What does one hour of downtime cost your business? If you have a team of 20, and we figure your average hourly cost for this team is $1,000, one hour of downtime is roughly ten times more expensive than paying for a redundant cable connection. A company may be struggling with frequent downtime without understanding that it’s directly tied to an outdated or insufficient connectivity solution. At healthcare facilities, for example, admissions, medication orders, medical records, guest Wi-Fi—all of it depends on your Internet and phone lines. If they go down, this can directly affect your revenue and your compliance status.
  5. Mobility: Do you have a mobile workforce and find your communication solutions lacking in field applications or support? Especially in the wake of the pandemic, many organizations are moving to a work-from-home arrangement, and are scrambling to keep their team communicating, both internally and with customers.

How We Can Help

If your organization is struggling in one of these areas, we have a five-step process to help.

  1. Discovery: We start by collecting information. What is and is not working well? What system(s) are you currently using? Why are you looking for a change?
  2. Research: This is a big part of the value of our partnership. We navigate the telecom landscape for you, conducting extensive research on what options or alternate providers are available in your area. Who provides physical service to your building? What plan sizes are offered? We compile all of this into a spreadsheet to help you compare your options.
  3. Review: We go over the pros and cons of each option, set up webinars or demos with providers, request a proposal from chosen providers, and review those with you as well. We then negotiate with the provider to make sure we have the best promotions and are getting you the best services at the best possible price.
  4. Implementation: We will manage the implementation process all the way to the final sign-off. From billing to design to installation to training your team on the new system, we are your partner and advocate in dealing with the provider.
  5. Post-sale support: We don’t stop once you’re up and running; if you have any technical support needs, we work with the provider on your behalf and hold them accountable for a timely fix.

With an optimized connectivity solution, you’ll see these benefits:

  • Better application performance: Increased bandwidth can eliminate packet loss, latency & jitter.
  • Minimized downtime: Building true redundancy into the network by setting up primary & secondary connections cuts down on costs and compliance issues.
  • Expense management: By negotiating a better rate or finding a better plan for you, we help you redirect your budget dollars toward other organizational goals.
  • Expert assistance: We know the industry and the system; put our expertise to work for you to get you the best bang for your buck.

FIT Solutions and our partners work to provide elite IT services to organizations. Give us a call today at 888-339-5694 or contact us here to see how we can improve your business environment.

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