Maine native Ben Hall is a regional sales manager Providence-based technology-services company RCC.
RCC, which was founded in 1989, offers its customers technical support, training, programming and equipment purchasing.
Hall talked to Providence Business News about his company’s growth, services and the most common tech problems in the industry.
PBN: What kinds of services does RCC offer its clients and what makes it a better choice over competitors?
HALL:We are very client-focused. We listen to our clients to determine business needs and develop IT solutions that align with the goals of the company.
Specifically, we work proactively to prevent problems before they happen. Similar to changing the oil, rotating the tires and checking the breaks of your car, your company’s computer network requires preventative care. We take the necessary steps in advance to reduce client down time and increase productivity. Keeping with the car analogy, everyone is familiar with dashboard warnings. Monitoring allows us to become aware and correct network issues before they become catastrophic. The ability to actually schedule “downtime” is of great value.
Another unique service we offer is business expense consulting. We conduct thorough reviews of current billing and contracts for voice, Internet, electric, wireless, payroll services, credit card processing and office supplies. As a result, our clients easily reduce operational expenditures by an average of 20-60%, most often without changing the incumbent provider. When businesses cut operational costs, they can redeploy the savings into improved technology or directly toward their bottom line.
PBN: Your website boasts the option to rent your IT department with RCC, is this a common service in your industry?
HALL:Not necessarily. A large percentage of businesses we meet simply “have a guy” they call when something does not work. Between our staff size and the ability to monitor client networks and remotely fix problems, we function like the internal IT department of any mid-large size company.
Many IT consulting companies come in as “experts” directing clients to improve their technology in specific ways. Our approach is to function as an employee. We present the situation and our recommendations. We offer options with the advantages of each. The client is then able to make the best business decision for the company. This approach is similar to an employee/manager approach.
We are not unique in our ability but we are one of the best.
RCC was founded in 1989, how has your company evolved in the last 20+ years?
HALL:We’ve evolved in several ways. Michael Rudnick established RCC in 1989 as a one-man shop. After a few years of having to juggle clients on his own, his successful client approach resulted in the need to hire support staff. Now RCC has a team to handle the client who needs assistance once or twice a year as well as the larger company who needs assistance on a weekly basis.
In 1989, the industry approach was “Break-Fix”—wait for the problem to occur before fixing it. Now many forward-looking IT firms are using a managed services approach to handling IT problems. This approach uses proactive monitoring of critical devices to have an early warning when there are issues affecting the network. RCC adopted a managed services approach in 2004 and has found it critical to helping our clients decrease downtime and improve productivity.
PBN: What is the most common problem you see among clients?
HALL:Holding on to computer equipment too long. Proactive maintenance is important but studies and experience have shown that 3-4 years is the tipping point. As the laptop, desktop, and server mature, the equipment demands more time by a technician to keep it productive. It becomes a “pay now or pay later.” In the long run, the client pays more for labor and lost productivity than they do for hardware so it makes more financial sense to improve versus maintain.
PBN: What advice do you have for local business owners who aren’t the most tech-savvy?
HALL: Car owners don’t need to know the difference between a valve and a piston. They need a trusted mechanic who can help them maintain their vehicle. Similarly, business owners don’t need to be tech savvy. We can be their trusted advisor, helping them with the business decisions they need to make when it relates to technology.
There is a difference between cost and expense. Have a data backup and recovery plan in place before you need it. Don’t be afraid to pay a little bit more for better equipment. Feel comfortable to invest in good advice and support.