IT for SMBs: Cutting through the Confusion

A July 2012 Techaisle survey found that 72 percent of SMBs (small- and medium-sized businesses) think vendors should make technology simpler. Technology is also identified as an SMB pain point – a real or perceived problem. Common business pain points include budgets, lack of revenue, employee turnover or a high overhead. Techaisle discovered that 54 percent of its survey respondents indicated that over the last three years, technology pain points have hurt more than ever. These findings only validate the increased need for IT managed services.

small business it
Image by Chris Evans

Why Technology Hurts

To many SMBs, it seems like there is an overwhelming amount of technology-related information rolling out every day in the form of new devices, mobile devices, security threats, software and so on. Almost 40 percent of the Techaisle respondents stated that the technology-related pain points are worse than those related to their own businesses. A reason for the suffering is the increasing variety of technological options that are essential to running a business.

It can be difficult for a business owner to know which technologies the organization needs and which vendors to choose. According to the SMBs surveyed, 44 percent feel there are too many vendors offering too many choices. Consequently, it can be difficult to find technologies that are simple to understand and integrate. Among the most confusing technologies are cloud computing, remote managed services, business intelligence, virtualization and marketing automation.

Relieving the Pain

More and more SMBs are looking to IT managed services for help. These professionals provide more comprehensive services than in-house IT techs, and for a fraction of the cost. After learning about the needs of an SMB, an IT professional can recommend concise technologies that can enhance an organization’s effectiveness and productivity within a set budget. Then the IT managed service provider takes care of issues discussed, ranging from updates to upgrades, repairs to replacements, security to data storage and more. Providers of IT managed services watch the backs of their clients, technologically speaking, so clients don’t have to forego or ignore relevant technologies – like 61 percent of the Techaisle respondents reported doing.

Additional benefits of working with an IT managed service provider include:

  • Network security
  • SMB technology assessments
  • Technology-related disaster recovery services
  • Ongoing monitoring of systems
  • Unbiased opinions of vendors and available technologies
  • The ability to provide IT professionals with specialized skills, who are familiar with the latest technologies
  • Training services
  • Help desk services
  • Maintenance
  • Preventive actions against attackers or system failures
  • Cost effectiveness

SMBs rely on accountants to assist with finances, lawyers to help with legal issues and other professionals to help keep their organizations running. There is no need for an SMB to have to figure out ever-changing technologies alone. With the help of IT managed services, SMBs can focus more on growing their businesses and leave the technological aspects to the pros.

About the Author: This blog post is brought to you by Bob Deasy, CIO of Lead I.T. Consulting, which provides focused IT solutions and business strategy consulting in the Portland area.