Bob Deasy is CIO of Lead I.T. Consulting, which provides focused IT
solutions that support any company's unique goals. Lead I.T. Consulting offers IT
expertise along with business strategy consulting for organizations
throughout the greater Portland metro area. Their service offerings
include IT consulting for cloud computing, virtualization, change
management, productivity and workflow. Bob brings a thorough knowledge
of business strategy to Lead I.T. He understands how business leaders
think because he is one – Bob spent more than 20 years as an executive
in the high-technology sector, working for organizations such as Intel,
Sequent, Mentor Graphics, Floating Point Systems and the U.S. Military.
Technology is a major pain for small businesses, according to a survey of SMBs released by Techaisle in July 2012. The majority of small- to mid-sized businesses (72 percent) said they felt technology should be simpler. In their attempts to make sense of the latest IT (information technology) advances, SMBs conduct research on the internet, contact IT vendors directly and consult with IT managed services, but many experience limited success. When asked about pain points and real or perceived problems, 39 percent of survey respondents said those related to technology are worse than those that are business related.
A Necessary Pain
Up to 54 percent of the Techaisle participants reported that technology-related pain points have become worse in the last three years. This is, in part, due to budgetary challenges, security threats, management of mobile devices, employee turnover, training needs and the need to modernize applications.
It doesn’t help that the variety of technological options available sometimes seem more confusing than helpful to business owners who are not sure about which vendors to choose, the organization’s true technological needs or how to integrate ever-changing technologies. When asked about seeking advice regarding vendors and technologies, the survey respondents admitted that it’s sometimes difficult to find unbiased opinions. Among the top headache-makers are the following newer technologies and terms:
- Remote managed services
- Marketing automation
- Business intelligence
- Cloud computing
- Data centers
- Big data
When an SMB doesn’t know what a technological term or service is, it’s sometimes hard to find an explanation in plain English. Thus, SMBs are left unsure whether a technology is really needed. IT can be so confusing that 61 percent of the survey participants reported that they ignore new products or services that could promote growth. What a lost business opportunity!
How IT Managed Services Can Help
An IT managed services provider consists of a group of professionals who respond to the IT needs of SMBs. Think of them as a firm filled with individuals who each have their own professional specializations. For example, if you were to call a residential repair service provider for a leak in your home, the provider would send out a plumber. When you need help installing lighting, the firm would send out an electrician. IT managed services work in a similar manner – they provide SMBs with ready access to a range of technical skills.
Many businesses use an IT managed service provider in lieu of or to supplement in-house IT staff. The outsourced IT professionals provide comprehensive services without the costs associated with hiring an employee. The following are just a few of the many services IT managed service experts provide to help ease technology pain points:
- Concise, unbiased technology and vendor recommendations
- Technology upgrades, updates, repairs and replacements
- Ongoing monitoring and maintenance
- Technology assessments
- Disaster planning and recovery
- Data storage
- Security and technology failure assessments and prevention
- Help desk services
- Communication with vendors on behalf of SMBs
The use of the right technologies can help SMBs become more effective and productive as they grow. There is no need for SMBs to be left in the dark when it comes to technology. With the help of IT managed services, technologies can become simpler to understand and adopt.