Monthly Archives: October 2013

What Does I.T. Really Cost Small Business?

Understanding Your I.T. Costs

 
If you are in business, then you have an IT budget. No matter how big or small it may be, without IT you aren’t in business.

Basic services like your email, calendar, accounting system and maybe even your phone system are all tied to IT. So essentially, if your IT goes down, your business goes with it and therefore having your technology safe and secure isn’t a nice to have, but an organizational necessity.

A lot of business leaders and executives question their IT expenses and constantly seek to find ways to reduce the costs. However, a better question may be…

Is I.T. a cost or a profit generator for a business. And in just about any business, I would weigh it to be more the latter than the former. Of course this depends on making the right investments and having it run by the right people.

But before we make any final decisions on whether I.T. makes us money, saves us money, does both or just costs us money, let’s look at where the IT budget goes.
 

Considering All of your I.T. Expenses

 
As an exercise, take a minute and write down how much you invest annually on each of these items. To make this most effective I would right down dollars allocated and then take a few minutes for time allocated. A lot of business owners don’t attribute any cost to things that they personally do for the business, but this means they aren’t valuing their time and in Small Business, time is money.

So here you go with the list.

IT Staff and Support $__________
Domain Hosting $__________
Exchange $__________
Security $__________
Backup and Disaster Recovery $__________
Hardware $__________
Software $___________
Cloud Software, Hosting and Applications $__________
Other $___________
 
Now take a minute and tally this up and there you have the real “Investment” in I.T. But ask yourself this question, without all of these IT capabilities, how would my business run? Takes it back to the beginning of this post doesn’t it? Since we have probably determined at this point the business wouldn’t run too well at all.

So now that we feel safe in saying that the I.T. is a necessity and that it really is a profit generator. How is it that you plan to make sure that the I.T. is running like a well oiled machine?

With so much riding on your systems, the smartest thing that we can do is make sure that your entire I.T. operation is managed and supported to be as available as your business needs to be.
 

How Would your Business Run if your I.T. Systems Went Down?

 
If you have any doubt about just how important your I.T. is to your business, then take a moment and try to run your business without it.

But for those that already know that their operation, clients and growth are depending on their systems running like a well oiled machine, the only question should be, is my technology in good hands? And while as a business owner you may think that your hands are the right hands, I’d be willing to be that there are far better ways to spend your time rather than resetting email passwords and removing viruses?

The bottom line is, well, the bottom line and unless your business is built to manage and run networks, then the best use of your time is focused on doing what your business does best and invest in I.T. resources that allow you to sleep peacefully at night knowing your systems will be there when you need them.

Small Business I.T. is More Than Just Help Desk

Thanks to the new connected world, our businesses run 24x7x365.  And while staff may not be on duty, or the doors may not technically be open, so long as your website is operational and your email box is configured, your customers, employees and just about anyone else on the planet can reach you.

This is a good thing for so many reasons.  Being able to be found by potential clients around the clock from anywhere in the world opens up a endless opportunities for businesses of any size to expand into that which dreams are made of.

Having said that, there is probably one person in the company that doesn’t love the new connected world.  Their name…” IT Guy (or gal)”

While a 24x7x365 business is good for sales, marketing and customer service, the IT person is responsible for keeping the company’s technology up and running, not to mention dealing with all of the “Computer Support” problems that stem from typical use and abuse (cookies, malware, adware etc), and on top of that they get to hold the hand of the company’s non-technical users who can’t figure out how to check their email.

And while that may not seem like a lot, when you add up just the technical support requirements of most small businesses, that alone takes a full time person to manage.  The crazy thing is that is just the beginning of what the dedicated, or shall I say delegated IT person is responsible for.   The list is much longer though…

Have you considered everything else that IT has to manage for your small business?  To name a few…

  • Telecommunication Services:  Most phone systems are now on the network, and even for small businesses that don’t have VoIP systems, they still depend on IT to setup, configures moves adds and changes, and support the phone system (including dealing with the providers).
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery:  What would you do if you lost your data?  If just one time you hear the screeching of your dying hard drive that isn’t backed up, it is enough to change your life (and behavior) forever.  IT is managing this, because your data is everything these days, and most people won’t do this on their own.
  • Network Security:  Do you worry about hackers or internal employees gaining access to data and information that they shouldn’t?  The IT department owns this problem, and has to make sure that access to programs and files is available to those who need it, but not to those who don’t or shouldn’t.
  • Cloud Everything:  IT knows that there is an application in the cloud that can “Do That,” whatever “That” is.  That doesn’t mean it is simple to integrate, secure and support.  However, the IT Person is on it.
  • Domain Management:  Making sure that your website is always up and running and that other sites, landing pages and marketing efforts are pointing back to where you want is also an IT issue.  This includes dealing with hosting providers and their intermittent issues.   The good news is that this is usually seamless to you, but it takes both time and know-how to manage this.
  • Software License Management:  Between Office, your CRM package and your business line application, the software requires patches, updates and license renewals.  This has to be tracked and managed and is hard to get done when Jim in accounting needs a system restore done because he deleted his user drive.
  • BYOD:  Hear about bring your own device (BYOD)? Pretty cool that you can use any device with all the company applications.  For IT, that is a big undertaking as every device is unique and requires testing and configuration.  While the users don’t see this happening, it is keeping IT Managers everywhere very busy.
Remember, these things are in addition to support, meaning that if you are a small business with only a small IT department, there is a lot to be done to keep your company running and secure.
So while your business may be connected around the clock in the high-tech world we live in; behind it sits a very busy IT department.  Begging the question…