IT Support San Antonio
6 Reasons to Consider External IT Support
What do you need to focus on to make your small business more successful?
When I am talking to a small business owner about this topic, solving the underlying technology need is at best only half of the discussion, and often is the easiest part.
Small businesses by definition have resource challenges that larger businesses may not necessarily face. Limitations on the owner’s time, the number of employees, and credit lines shape almost every decision a small business makes, including decisions around technology and IT support.
The number one reason why small businesses fail is because of a shortage of capital. A few years ago small businesses had to build their own datacenters and had to accept the fact that they were going to have to carry some of the burden of maintaining their own IT support.
Today that is not the case. Today we are comparing the cost of building and maintaining a data center with the associated IT support costs to managed and hosted technology/support solutions. In many cases it does not make financial sense for small businesses to stay in the IT business, or provide their own IT support.
There simply is no need. IT can and is being delivered as a service today, just like electricity and water. Our recommendation to these small businesses is do not buy infrastructure unless there is a compelling business case. Buying, owning and supporting IT infrastructure can add more distractions and variables than it is worth. Preserve capital and get your IT infrastructure on a pay-as-you-go model. The same is true for IT support.
In the pay-as-you-go model, there is no significant outlay of capital resources up front. You pay for what you need and as the business needs change so can your IT infrastructure. While significant, this capability is not the most compelling reason for small businesses to explore this path.
When IT is converted to a service, you strip away all of the “stuff” related to buying and building a small datacenter. Business owners can turn their full focus to growing their business without worrying about the technology and variable IT support costs required to handle day-to-day business operations.
Looking specifically at IT support, the business case is even more compelling. Many of our smallest customers are using the same technology that the largest companies in their industry are using, but cannot justify the payroll requirements to maintain a group of IT support specialists for these key technologies.
A managed or hosted IT support model is perfect for these scenarios. IT support providers can afford to maintain a deep and wide pool of technical talent because they can share those costs across many customers and projects over the course of a year. A small business that only needs a few hours of work a month simply cannot justify the expense.
The average company in the United States has 16 employees, typically providing a handful of applications like email, Microsoft Office, an accounting application, etc. on a few servers and printers with some level of 3rd party IT support.
Does it really make sense for small businesses to own technology infrastructure today? Does it make sense to hire an internal IT support staff?
The answer here is no with a few exceptions, data security and compliance being two of them. Solutions around hosted solutions are out there for financial services, healthcare and other regulated industries. It is more a matter of determining which one is best for your particular business.
Disaster recovery is also a concern as you look at how and where the business will work in the event of an outage.
6 Reasons to Consider External IT Support
- When IT is not your core expertise. Plumber, lawyer, banker or doctor, you are likely making more money building your core business than you do by working on your technology infrastructure. IT infrastructure is necessary to run your business, but that technology infrastructure does not have to be in your building to reap the benefits. The cost of maintaining your own IT support staff to maintain your technology investment cannot be justified.
- When you are in startup mode and need to preserve capital. Cash is the lifeblood of business. Pay-as-you-go models are out there today for even the most robust technology needs. You can build your own infrastructure, but in most cases your capital is better spent elsewhere.
- When your existing IT infrastructure is old and impacting the quality/productivity of the underlying business. If your business has been around a while you may very well be experiencing this problem where your technology is beginning to show its age. Compare the cost of replacing your outdated hardware to moving to a hosted model and see if the math makes sense for your business.
- When you lack the ability hire key technology staff to support the applications that your business is built on. Infrastructure cost is one concern, but the long term IT support costs are typically a bigger concern. If access to key IT support resources is a priority, moving your infrastructure to where the experts are may make more sense than paying for IT support to come to you.
- When your technology needs are diverse. It is difficult to hire and provide internal IT support when you have a handful of technologies to support. If your business requires a wide array of IT support services and applications to function, trying to hire the right staff can become problematic. The question typically is one of cost vs. available resources.
- When you are located in a remote region, or an area starved for resources. Businesses that are not located near a good supply of local IT support or are using a technology not readily available in their market.
IT Support and infrastructure costs can be significant, and while important, these costs do not have to consume capital the way they did a few short years ago. Look at the time you spend talking about and focusing on IT related issues and ask yourself if that is the best use of your time. If there are better uses of your time, look at having your IT infrastructure managed or delivered as a service.
There is a reason we all do not own our own individual power plants to provide for our electricity needs, the same is true for technology and IT support. Explore your options.