No servers, no printers, no LAN and now no Windows PCs. What is the lowly IT Support company supposed to do?....
... move higher up the layers. What does this mean?
Well, a few things in the IT world have changed, in a good way. For people working in offices, using computers all day long, Windows doesn't crash much, if at all. And the standard Microsoft applications have stablised to the point that people can't think what new functions to put inside them.
In parallel to this, web-based applications have become more sophisticated. A few years ago, when a company attempted to build a web version of their old-school installed application, it didn't look too fancy, and may not have worked very well. Actually, under the bonnet, these applications were working really hard ("swan's feet kicking really hard beneath the waterline stuff but looking serene above the water.") because making windows full of options with images popup and retrieving/saving information from a databases is much harder through a web browser than it is with software installed locally on the computer.
But in the past couple of years, some "under the bonnet" standards have helped web browsers like Chrome, Edge, Safari and Firefox support cleverer functionality, which in turn helps the web applications work better. So now these applications look just as good as the old ones which we used to have to install locally on a computer.
But if everyone switches to using web versions of applications, then apart from the web browser there is nothing extra to install on a local Windows or Apple workstation. That means the local machine is simpler, much simpler.
Of course "going web" means the company server has been put into the cloud, so there is no local server anymore, apart from those few businesses who have a compliance reason to store information locally.
Of course there is a risk about depending on the Internet for everything, in that you have to be able to access it! If your business is small (less then 20 people?), what do you do if your internet conection fails. Most staff just walk out to the nearest hot-spot (cafe / home) and just carry on working. But if you cannot leave the office for whatever reason, maybe your business is teaching students who come to your site, then you HAVE to have resilience. That might mean having two seperate internet connections from different supplier.
But apart from the internet connection, we have simplified local PCs/laptops, no server in the office, hardly any printing, because plenty of people barely print any more... so there is barely anything left for a traditional "old style" IT support company to work on.
Well of course the desert sands shift around, and new challenges are revealed.
Information is the new gold rush. All businesses process more information than ever before. They have to manage information more efficiently, more responsibly (GDPR rules matter!), and there are really clever bad guys out there with far more sophisticated techniques to trick people into paying them extortional fees. Just thinking "Well, I'm okay because I have anti-virus software" is not enough, not nearly enough to be safe.
So a modern IT company needs to support clients by working harder at the information level than the PC (hardware) level. Training for end users is really important, to make people aware of responsibility, efficiency and opportunity.
I'm rubbing my hands. A new era is starting now, and all IT companies have to be ready to embrace it... right now. They might not be ready, but I am.
Want to know more? Contact me, Alex Stanier email@example.com