Many entrepreneurs overlook the dangers in running a one-person IT department, and fail to address the obvious vulnerabilities it creates within their growing business.
It’s all too easy for business owners to fixate on a vision, and to focus entirely on achieving core objectives. Yet the backbone of many modern SMEs is the IT behind it, driving the business forward. This ought to be a top priority.
In this post we discuss the advantages of outsourced Managed IT Services and how it can help strengthen small businesses that have become too reliant on one person -- the “IT guy”.
The Risks of a One-person IT Department
During the growth stage of your small business you may feel no reason to start questioning your one-person IT department. The phrase “If it isn’t broke, don’t try to fix it” springs to mind.
Frailties may however come to light when one or more inevitable problems arise.
Consider the risks involved in running a one-person IT department, such as:
These risks are somewhat obvious -- yet often overlooked.
If for whatever reason your IT department can’t -- or won’t -- respond to a situation, then your entire ability to generate revenue can be halted for extended periods of time. You could be left with a group of staff on the payroll, unable to do their jobs.
The one-man-band approach to IT invites numerous problems. So either now, or later down the line, you’ll need to strengthen it. Your best bet is to preempt difficulties before you run into them. Start plugging the gaps now, rather than reacting in the event of a crisis.
Managed IT Services -- The Solution to a Fragile IT Department Within Your SME
If your IT guy is leaving the company, or you’ve decided that it’s time to strengthen your IT department, then now is the perfect time to assess new options -- such as outsourced Managed IT Service Providers.
Importantly, what advantages can Managed IT Services bring to a small businesses that’s reliant on one member of IT staff?
Can one person have the depth and breadth of knowledge equal to a team of several IT professionals?
One major advantage of (reputable) Managed IT Services is that they enforce comprehensive staff training and continuous education to stay ahead of the curve. This encompasses each and every client IT need, as well as learning about the latest technologies. So you’re not reliant on one person to self-teach the required skills. This heavily reduces the likelihood of experiencing “learning from mistakes” scenarios.
Furthermore, a professional Managed IT service will specialise in areas outside of your main focus.You may not know exactly where you’ll be in the future, but an established IT service will be there to accommodate your changing needs.
A one-person IT team can’t realistically afford the time to learn the skills an average growing company requires.
Many IT support plans offer SLAs that promise average response times to their clients. This level of certainty isn’t usually agreed in ‘less formal’ contracts made between SMEs and the individuals running their IT internally.
Managed IT Services often have multiple members of staff on-tap that are able to respond to your needs -- no matter who’s on holiday, off sick, out of the office, or just busy. A reliable IT service is able to cope with the loss of staff who move away, or switch job roles. Therefore response times tend to be consistently faster and more predictable than the one IT guy situation.
SLAs do command a premium. But for many small companies the peace of mind and ability to provide an “always on” service makes the investment crucial for sustained success.
Your current IT guy might have his own preferred methods. That’s fine -- under his supervision. But it poses the risk of rendering systems that can not be supported or enhanced by anyone else.
Indeed across all aspects of computing -- programming, web development, software design, IT systems -- there’s great difficulty in adapting unfamiliar implementations made by someone else.
So once your one-person IT member leaves the company, new staff could face the struggle of “decrypting” someone else’s work, learning all its nuances along the way, before they even start to take it over. It doesn’t make for a smooth changeover.
Managed IT Services use industry standards -- which is the key to “future-proofing” your business from the outset. Multiple members of staff fully understand the setup that’s been deployed. And if you do decide to switch providers later on, then a new provider will understand your industry-standard technology, too. Win-win.
IT Managed Service Providers have the staff, resources and technology to provide 24/7 support, and ensure your business never stalls.
Whilst a remote support package might seem like a fairly large expense for a small business, it serves to maximise system uptime, reduce stress, and eliminate any “out of hours” pay to your IT guy during turbulent periods.
Remote services have the advantage of enabling business owners to focus on pressing objectives without the need to oversee -- and depend on -- one individual to pull-through with a timely resolution.
All IT systems fail at some stage. It’s unavoidable. So it’s really case of striking the optimal investment into your IT department that reduces risks, and justifies the costs incurred.
Does Your Business Need Stabilising?
Business owners struggle to deal with the downtime, slow growth-rate, and general underperformance that comes with small, bottle-necked IT departments.
So avoid stunting the growth and success of your SME by relying on one individual -- with limited resources (and interest) in your business -- to single-handley manage your vital IT operations.
Consider the benefits to outsourcing your IT to an experienced vendor looking to maintain their own strong reputation & business interests, by delivering a first-rate service to startups and budding entrepreneurs. Consider UK IT Service.