Stay in your space!

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As you know, my business provides 3rd party IT support services to clients. We offer a wide range of technology solutions, from systems administration to security design to wireless deployments. And while we certainly offer quite a variety of services, we really don’t stray of our space. So what exactly does that mean anyways ?

Too often, we see technology companies stray out of their space. Whether it’s RIM (Research In Motion Inc. (now BlackBerry Inc.)) trying to move into the consumer smartphone market, or Apple trying to move into the cartography market, companies need to understand where their place in the market is and stop trying to ‘take the entire pie’ for themselves.

Case in point, I recently ran into a new client who desperately needed some server support. Their server wasn’t performing like it should have been, and the client didn’t understand why. Their previous “IT support” (and I use quotations there because that’s a suspect title for the company they were using) were proficient in supporting and maintaining desktop computers. They knew how to defrag hard drives, and clean up the Windows auto-start list. They didn’t know how to manage a server, or how a server even worked. Long story short, a server had been installed but not configured, so certain elements of the network weren’t working (DNS, for example). We spent some time configuring the server correctly, and now the network is up and running like it’s supposed to be.

Another example I ran into literally two days ago was a wiring mess. I was moving some workstations around in an office, and one of the surface mount Cat5e wall jacks was pretty beat up. I decided to just replace it, since that would take only a few minutes. To my surprise, when I opened the wall jack, I didn’t understand the method that had been used to wire it. It certainly wasn’t T568A or T568B. I traced the wires back to the wiring closet and found the same peculiar method there. The wires were basically punched down from pin 1 to 8 in the following manner: all solid colors on pins 1 through 4, and all striped colors on pins 5 through 8. I began asking some questions on how the wiring was installed, and found out that an electrician had installed it many years ago. I actually spoke with him and he admitted that he had no idea whether there was an order to the pins or not, so he just punched it down the same on both sides and hoped it would work.

These are just 2 examples of businesses / individuals straying outside their space. There’s a simple rule here: If you aren’t experienced in it, consult someone who is. Just because a client wants something done doesn’t mean that you’re automatically the expert that can do it. Understand your limitations and when you need to bring in outside help. Remember, doing shoddy work does not benefit you or our industry on a whole.


Martin Lehner

Martin Lehner is an technology professional working for an IT services firm in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada). He has been working in the technology field for over a decade. With a degree in Business Admin and numerous industry certifications, Martin leads a team of IT professionals that provide third party support for clients. Originally starting a company to offer web development services, Martin quickly realized that clients wanted the entire spectrum of technology services. When Martin is not at work (which is not often, since his company offers 24/7 support), he is busy at home spending time with his family.

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