Does your organisation have ethical technology support partnerships?


Roy Russell, CEO of Ascertus Limited examines how law firms can determine if their technology provider adopts an ethical approach to customer service and partnership?


Anecdotal evidence suggests that typically, poor quality technology support providers are readier to discount their services to account for a lack of investment in the right number, quality and level of experience of staff. Conversely, pricing mustn’t be the only driver of a purchase from technology vendors for organisations. The cost of support must be balanced  against the quality of service expected, alongside the technology provider’s intent for an ‘ethical’ partnership.

‘Ethics’ is a woolly concept, but organisations can determine whether or not their technology provider embraces an ethical approach to customer service and partnership by asking themselves the following questions.

Does your organisation employ IT teams to support specific business applications for document management, finance management, transaction processing, knowledge management, etc.?
IT teams should be focused on the more strategic aspects of the function, not on maintaining applications that have been provided by technology vendors. If the latter is true, could it be because support from the technology service provider is inadequate?

Is support pricing based on the size of your organisation and number of users?
The quality of support received by a small company should be no different to that received by a larger business. The pricing of a support package should be tailored to individual organisations’ requirements and not just to the total head count.

Is the support pricing based on number of calls or incidents?
It’s the resolution of issues that count, not the number of calls made to the technology providers support organisation. The latter is no guarantee that the incident has been resolved to satisfaction.

How long does the technology provider take to respond once a support call is made?
If the technology support provider is taking hours to respond and days to resolve the issues, it’s a clear sign that the support organisation isn’t appropriately staffed or doesn’t have the knowledge to resolve the incident in a timely manner.

How many support calls does your organisation make to the technology support provider?
If your IT team isn’t placing many calls to the technology provider, it is often a sign that all is well, but equally it can be signal that there is a lack of trust in the technology provider’s support organisation.

Is account management by your technology support provider visible?
Good technology vendors take a proactive approach to reaching out to customers to identify areas where they can be of help – in addition to ensuring that the system provided, and the support function is serving their requirements well.

Does your technology vendor fully understand your IT environment?
Prior to taking on the support function, did your technology provider undertake an IT
infrastructure review? If a technology provider isn’t entirely familiar with an organisation’s
IT environment, resolving issues in a timely manner can be difficult. Technology providers
that do this along with regular system health checks have a good understanding of the
environment, and so are more effective.

Organisations must demand reasonable standards from their technology providers.
Equally, technology providers must undertake their own introspection to deliver services
that are underpinned by professional ethics.

Roy Russell Facts
Roy has over 30 years’ experience in consulting, implementing and supporting software technologies within the UK, European and North American legal markets. He founded Ascertus Limited in 2000, a UK based specialist of document lifecycle technology consulting and software solutions. The company is a trusted advisor with a track record for delivering bespoke email, contract and document management solutions, enabling law firms and corporate legal departments to improve efficiency, enhance productivity and mitigate risk.

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