Do you know where your money is going?
When deploying pre-configured PCs at scale, if you have imaging and staging problems, oftentimes you won’t realize the true impact, the ripple effect, until you’re living it. Things can snowball quickly, putting your team in a whirlwind of chaos, and leaving you just trying to tread water. Are you thriving? Or are you just trying to survive? Here we’ll look at the underrated business impacts of PC staging mistakes, the true costs of falling short in the beginning.
From a technical standpoint, you’ll have more support tickets; more pressure to produce products and at the same time respond to customer needs, and also to business needs. These support issues will happen both on the internal side (pre-sales), and the external side (post-sales). All of that can be very demanding, and things take time.
Stellar customer support pays major dividends in terms of sales. If you take the time with your customer, work through their options, and “teach them how to fish,” that has an impact on your business. Customers attain a certain level of confidence from that level of support.
But if you’re bogged down fixing problems that could have been avoided by proper staging, then you won’t have time to do all that. You’ll frame it as, “we don’t have time to waste.” But that’s the totally wrong mentality.
The majority of down systems stem from poor image maintenance and deployment failures. The key to overcoming this is proper tracking. Set up mechanisms and protocols that will sort issues in terms of installation questions (“how do I do this?”) vs. installation problems (configuration out of the box).
Staging issues may include misconfigurations when the system reached its destination, version control problems, and other technical failures.
For years, IT teams have been tasked with doing more with less. They’re spread thin, and they’re asked to do a lot with less manpower. So what do you do with the manpower that you have? Where do you focus your energy? Do you want your IT team in a break/fix cycle? Are a lot of the reasons that things are breaking related to the fact that your staging process is not finely tuned?
If you start tracking, you might be very surprised. Somewhere between 10% and 60% of your issues could be related to something that went wrong at the time of delivery of the machine. Let’s say 40% of your support calls have to do with staging errors, that adds up very quickly. It’s bad for morale. It puts stress on your teams.
Ask yourself --- how can we free our IT team from this burden? How can we take these people and make them more customer facing? How can we allow them to participate in the sales process and contribute to the bottom line? How do we free them up? Your tech people are likely some of your brightest minds… let them shine.
They likely know the causes of errors, they see them frequently, but they don’t always get reported up the chain to management. Management tends to be naive to the fact that these issues are occurring. The key is the tracking.
You need ticketing systems in place. You need labels on your cases. You need to look at staging and imaging-related errors. Once these systems are in place, you can start to determine the frequency of these errors.
Remember, for each one that’s getting reported, there might be another one that’s not bothering to call in. So your negative impact is an increase in support calls, and increased frustration with employees and between departments. Also, the customer experience suffers.
Degrading customer experience is really the worst thing that you can do.
When you deliver a PC, when the customer opens that box, that’s the first impression. Is it organized? Is it easy to read? Is it easy to follow? Sloppy packaging in a staging job could be a red flag --- a warning sign that the provider is behind and just trying to get the product out the door.
When great customer experience is your primary concern, if you have a subpar imaging solution, you’re slowing down your go-to-market, and hurting that customer experience. Customers don’t look at the components, they look at it as a product, or as a brand. If everything is not in sync: firmware, applications, other incompatibilities, etc. your brand will suffer.
So where else do these problems present themselves?
When the sales team starts fielding phone calls from upset customers, that will add fuel to the fire of internal conflict. If your sales team has to “bird dog” all of their sales, getting even more involved after the sale, that’s a sign that their confidence in your product is low.
When you remove your salesperson from his primary objective, you’re taking away from the next sale, and so on, and so on. You don’t pay your sales team to deliver this kind of support. You can’t have them babysitting sales that have already been made because of lack of confidence in deliverability.
Keep in mind, this is also something that’s trackable. If you put a process in place in which the sales team can escalate, can call out the problem and track these specific issues, then this will give management the ability to analyze the problem and find solutions.
Other areas that suffer are logistics and warehousing. With staging and imaging errors, in the logistics realm, what ends up happening is you have to take something back, change an order, reship the product, send out a new one, etc.
On the front end, there will be additional costs associated with delivering the product (expedited shipping and freight costs), and on the back-end you’ll have restocking and inventory issues.
The cycle goes something like this. A product comes back, it gets restocked, it’s already opened, the tech team is so far behind that they don’t actually have a chance to look at it, and you end up eating the cost.
Can you go into your warehouse and see a stack of computers that were delivered but returned and haven’t been fixed or even addressed yet? This process breakdown is directly attributed to having a poor imaging and deployment process.
When management examines these issues, they might think that the sales team isn’t doing their job, or that the tech team isn’t doing its job, leading to tension.
No one wants to be in the crosshairs of management, and no one will be productive if this is happening. If proper reporting is not in place, it’s hard to find the root cause of these issues, and to understand them, even if it’s clear that there is a problem.
Rather than always taking a “macro” view, management needs to drill down into the minutiae and understand what’s really causing issues. They need to challenge themselves to ask, “what can we do to not have these issues?”
If you break down each service call that has to do with improper staging, you can understand how to change your process to avoid them in the future. Imaging and staging is a very antiquated process. It hasn’t changed much in a long time, and sometimes you need to look at it from a new angle. Remember, deployment failures equal lost revenues and missed opportunities.
You only have so much time in your day. Spend it on research, development, and validation. If you’re constantly fixing bugs, you’re likely wasting your time.
If you don’t have a system in place that will guarantee the quality and consistency of the product you’re delivering, that’s a lot of wasted time and money. It might take you a year to gain a customer and 30 seconds to lose them.
And that’s why what your teams are doing behind the scenes is mission critical.
At HACS, our aim with imaging, staging, and deployment is to remove the guesswork; to use automation to implement controls and restraints to eliminate problems. Our process is fast to update and fast to deploy. It relies on machine time rather than human time.
With your computers, you have your operating system, your hardware, and your applications and configurations. They’re all different, they’re all changing, and they’re all independent of each other. Our job is to marry them together seamlessly, and to develop a mechanism that will do that at the right time; just when it’s needed.
Contact us today to learn more about our automated PC imaging, staging, and deployment process --- and how it can supercharge your company.
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