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KeyBridge Computer Services

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  Your key to quality business computing solutions

           Tel: (330) 231-1899          Email: steve@keybridgeltd.com

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you provide services for home computers?

Can we buy a computer from you?

Can we buy software from you?

Our computer doesn't work, or isn't working correctly. Can you fix it?

We've got a malfunctioning computer, but it's still under warranty. Should we call you for assistance?

We already have people on staff who take care of our computers. Why would we need you?

Everybody wants to be on the Internet. We're not sure whether our company needs to or not. Can you help us to think through this issue?

Hey, Steve, surely you don't know everything there is to know about computers. What do you do if you're working for us and you come up against a problem which is outside of your area of expertise?

 

Do you provide services for home computers?

Unfortunately, KeyBridge does not provide services for home computers, but rather focuses its services for corporate computing systems only.  On rare exceptions, KeyBridge will occasionally provide service for a home computer that has a direct connection with one of KeyBridge's existing business clients.  This policy against servicing home computers is needed in order to maintain adequate time and focus that needs to be given to the many corporate clients that KeyBridge supports.

 

Can you buy a computer from KeyBridge Computer Services?

The short answer is no.  The long answer is yes, sort of.

KeyBridge Computer Services does not sell computers.  But I can certainly help you to determine exactly what computer to buy.  I can even contact the vendor and make the purchase on your behalf, if you prefer. But I am not a re-seller.  There is no mark-up -- all you pay for is my time.  You get exactly the same price for the computer as I would get if I was purchasing it myself.

Helping people to buy computers is one of the most frequent services I perform.   There are so many different specifications to consider, so many technical terms one needs to be familiar with, that most people are at best confused and at worst completely overwhelmed when it comes to buying computers.  The expertise and experience which KeyBridge brings takes the hassles out of buying and enables you to get the computer you need.

Let's face it -- computers are a substantial investment.  If you're going to pay nearly or more than $1,000 for a piece of equipment, it's important to buy quality and to get the right equipment to fit your needs. Buying the cheap system on the shelves at the local mall in order to save several hundred dollars isn't terribly helpful if you 1) end up with a system which soon breaks, and/or 2) get very poor technical support from the manufacturer, and/or 3) end up with a computer which doesn't really meet your needs or needs to be upgraded way too soon.   Even if you've only spent $800, that is still a lot of money for something which isn't serving you well.  In my experience, computers are like many other products:  for the most part, you get what you pay for.

For the most part, I recommend DELL computer systems.  DELL has a reputation in the industry that has consistently out-performed other vendors over the past 5 years running, based on survey results from IT professionals such as myself.  The quality of their hardware and their technical support is second to none.  And when you are supporting over 400 computers, as I do, it isn't hard to get a very solid feel for who's good, who's bad, and who's just plain ugly.  DELL stands at the top of the pack, from my experience.

So my opinion is that it's well worth paying for an hour or two of my time to make sure that the large amount of money you're about to spend actually buys quality equipment that you need.  Consider it a small amount of insurance for a very large investment.

Does KeyBridge Computer Services sell software?

No, KeyBridge Computer Services does not sell software.  But similar to my approach to computer hardware, KeyBridge is here to help you determine what software will best address the needs which you have.

Decisions about software are critical.  Though software is typically less expensive than the computers themselves, it is software which ultimately drives decision-making regarding computers.  In fact, the first step in determining what kind of hardware to buy is to determine what kind of software you will be running on that hardware.

I have considerable experience in using and supporting a wide variety of software in business settings, and I can use that experience to help you to make good, strategic decisions regarding the software which will best address your business needs.  And once we've determined the product which you need, I can also help you to find the best price for that product, and can even take care of making the purchase on your behalf if you prefer.

Does KeyBridge Computer Services fix computers?

You bet.

The real work of "fixing" computers these days really amounts to developing and fine-tuning the trouble-shooting skills necessary to determine exactly what component is malfunctioning.  Once the problem area has been determined, the next question to answer is whether the problem is the result of failed hardware or simply a configuration or software problem.  Failed components can typically be easily replaced, either buy purchasing a new component or by having a replacement shipped from the manufacturer if the system is under warranty.

Over the past 15+ years I've gained lots of experience trouble-shooting and fixing malfunctioning computers and computer peripherals.  There are plenty of times when malfunctions are the result of configuration problems rather than failed hardware, and I get lots of satisfaction solving problems such as these where no additional money needs to be spent to replace the component.

And then there are viruses, which are quickly becoming a primary cause of problems for computer users everywhere.  I've swatted plenty of "bugs" in my day.  Of course, hardware does also occasionally fail, and in these situations the key for most businesses is to get the computer system back up and running as soon as possible, and KeyBridge can provide that service with both speed and quality.

KeyBridge Computer Services can also help you to protect yourself against computer failures.  Backup systems can be put into place, disaster recovery plans can be designed, etc.  I always tell my clients that it's never a question of "whether" a piece of hardware is going to fail, but rather "when." Another question which is a favorite of mine is: "If tragedy would strike and your place of business would burn to the ground tonight, how much money will you lose for every day that you do not have your computer systems back up and running?"  Proper planning for the possibilities of such failure or disasters can save your business weeks of work and thousands of dollars.  In the most extreme cases, such planning can literally save your business.

Should we call you for help with computers which are still under warranty?

Well, that depends.  If you're comfortable getting in touch with the manufacturer on your own in order to resolve the problem, you should certainly pursue that avenue, at least at first.  The reputable, quality computer manufacturers have good technical support staff who can almost always resolve your problem.  (Technical support from some vendors is fairly shabby, however).

But here's the rub: you need to be willing to spend a good bit of your own personal or company time on the telephone talking to the technical support representative.  And often, if a piece of hardware is judged defective, the manufacturer will simply ship to you a replacement part.  Many times you are responsible for removing the defective part and installing the new replacement part.  Again, if you're uncomfortable doing such work on your own, the manufacturer's technical support staff are usually quite willing to help you to perform this task by giving you instructions over the phone as you do the work.  However, this is even more time which you will need to spend on the task.

So the key question is whether or not you want to spend the amount of personal or company time and energy required of you to repair a computer which is under warranty.  If you do, that's perfectly fine.  You'll save a bit of money that way.

However, you may judge that your time is more valuable being spent on other things.   In this case, it may be cheaper and/or much more convenient for you to have me trouble-shoot your problem, contact the manufacturer for the warranty support, and install the replacement part, if necessary. Chances are good that I'll need to spend a lot less time with the manufacturer because on my technical experience.  So though you'll be spending some money for my assistance on a computer which is still under warranty, you may still be ahead once you take into consideration the time saved and headaches avoided by not attempting to do this work yourself.

Why would we ever need your help if we already have people on staff who handle our computer support?

Indeed, you may not need my assistance in this case.  But on the other hand, you may want to consider it.

Many business which have their own technical staff still have occasions when the services of an outside contractor can be helpful.  There may be one-time, occasional projects which come up where a contractor can be efficiently utilized.  Or there may be a particular department or workgroup within the corporation for which computer support is less efficient or practical coming from internal staff than from a contractor.  Or, quite honestly, internal staff may be struggling to keep up with the work-load, and it would cost less to use a contractor to fill in the gaps than it would to hire additional staff.

I'm very happy to work with the technical staff in a corporation on specific projects or in an on-going way for a particular department or workgroup.  Having the technical staff on-hand can make my work very efficient, since they can bring me up-to-speed on the technical aspects of the work more quickly than if I needed to familiarize myself with your systems on my own.

Give me a call if you believe there may be a role for me to play as a contractor along-side the technical staff in your organization.

What about all this hype about the Internet? What can it do for us?

What can the Internet do for you?  Well, that depends quite a bit on what sort of business you're in, what your business plan is, etc.  The Internet can 1) provide you with a valuable communications tool connecting your customers, subcontractors and staff, 2) provide access for you to get to Internet resources provided by your vendors, customers, contractors, subcontractors as well as many other valuable resources, 3) it can serve as an efficient and very affordable medium for marketing your products and services, and 4) it can even serve as an electronic store-front through which your customers can actually order and purchase your products.

If any of these described uses of the Internet interest you, I can help you set it up.

Give me a call if you're interested in how the Internet might serve your organization.

What do you do when you come across a problem or task outside of your area of expertise and experience?

First, let me say that a regular part of this line of work is coming across something new which needs to be learned.  There are literally hundreds of new products which are introduced into the computer industry every month.  Staying current with all of that technology is not only challenging, it's downright impossible.  They key is not so much attempting to learn everything there is to know, but rather knowing where to look to find the answers and information that one needs.

However, there are times when I come across a significant problem or am faced with a large issue about which I know very little, where another contractor with more experience in that area may provide my client with better service.  My philosophy in these situations is to be totally honest with my client and to let them know that this particular task is outside of my work experience.  At that point we can talk about whether they want to pursue another contractor without me, whether they want to retain my services in brokering services and working along side another contractor, or whether they would prefer that I take more time and learn the new technology myself in order to complete the project and provide long-term, ongoing support.  There may even be times when we can negotiate a lower hourly fee if it's my judgment that the new technology is worth my while to learn at reduced rates.

The key is that I'm always upfront with my client when I run into these circumstances.   You will never find me wasting my client's time and money on a project for which I do not believe I'm properly qualified.

 

Contacting KeyBridge

Email:  steve@keybridgeltd.com
Telephone:  (330) 231-1899        FAX:  (330) 893-4022
Postal Address:  PO Box 7, Berlin, OH 44610

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