When you run a business, no matter the size, it is almost impossible to “do it all.” For Magnus, that means hiring someone with expertise to manage, process, and report things beyond my, or our, capabilities. A simple example is bookkeeping and accounting services. Another critical service is “Information Technology,” that is, IT. We have relied on “tech support” companies since the inception of Magnus. I can think of many people and companies who have been involved, some better than others. At the beginning, a friend or two helped us and things were relatively simple. As the years progressed, technology changed, with some things getting easier, some not, and expert help has been required. One improvement has been that the IT support has been increasingly handled remotely. We rarely see the people who work on our computers. As I write this, however, the harsh reality of technology failures has hit us squarely in the face. Despite telling the IT company that “something was wrong,” (it is above my pay grade to know what was wrong) for weeks, they paid only passing attention to my repeated messages and told me, “the back up is working…” It wasn’t. Again, it is beyond me to know what or why, but for 6 weeks, the back up was not working, yet I was told the computer people were getting a message that it was. Bottom line, we were not getting what we paid for, and valuable data have been lost. We’re not sure what, how much, or what can be recovered as of now. When I write these posts, I often try to come up with a suggestion, a solution. But, I think I/we, did all we could do. We pay for IT service with a well regarded company; they assured us all was well. It wasn’t. I guess I could have yelled, and jumped up and down but I don’t think it would have mattered. They were (wrongly) confident all was well. My only takeaway is to add redundancy to our backup routine. And, to remember, once again, that owning the company means directing those who are supposed to keep us going. This is a difficult thing to do when one doesn’t possess the expertise it requires. Asking questions, being proactive, vigilant, and not just “hoping” things go well are required; yet that may not be enough. Another hard lesson has been learned, but with no clear answer.
The “colossal technology failure” was, in my opinion, a customer service failure. The relationship of Magnus Research Consultants and its IT provider is a customer-vendor relationship, such that, as the IT’s provider’s customer, Magnus is entitled to have its concerns addressed. This being said, in the almost 30 years Magnus has been in business, the customer service we have received from our IT vendors (and there have been several of them) has been less than exemplary. For example, there was the employee of one IT company (who is the brother of the owner) who, because of his numerous DUIs, lost his driver’s license, resulting in his carrying around my computer on county buses while he made service calls to clients in various parts of South Florida. Then there was the owner of another computer company who screamed at me for asking, politely, that he use one of two restrooms in Magnus’ headquarters. I have no idea why he insisted on using my private restroom, but I do know why I fired him! The worst experience I have had with a computer vendor, at the time of this writing, was when the owner of an IT company got intoxicated at a party hosted by David and me, resulting in a graphic sexual encounter, in front of all the party guests, with my supposed best friend (who happens to be married). This latest example of incompetence and lack of professionalism pales in comparison to previous experiences, but it does not excuse our IT provider from failing to act in the best interests of Magnus, its customer. Sadly, I expect this type of behavior to continue for as long as we are in business.