For many owners the answer lies in the essential nature of technology, the fact that it's an integral part of day to day operations and is an absolute requirement for their business's functionality. Any down time hurts their bottom line, but many don't stop to consider how much their bottom line is hurt by the time they spend working on their technology instead of selling their business!
And for many it comes down to the concern that it can be so hard to find a company you trust to take care of your technology for you.
How many have experienced hiring a new IT company only to have them come in and start putting their stickers on everything? Or more concerning to the bottom line, come in and tell them it's all old, out of date and needs to be replaced? Have you become accustomed to wait times for service of a day or longer, making it easier to just try and fix it yourself? Or worse a persistent problem, like a virus on a computer that no matter how many times your IT company comes out they just can't seem to get it removed?
These are not unusual stories, making it understandable that so many business owners have taken on the task of managing their own computers and network. However, what most don't really have a full view of are the costs of mismanaging their technology needs.
Here are several areas to review to help you decide if firing yourself from technology should be your New Year's Resolution:
IT Isn't Easy...There are many IT tasks that should be left to knowledgeable sources, time used dealing with technology is time not spent working on promoting your company and products. If you've found yourself as the key player in the technology process, it's time to remove yourself and find a reliable IT source for your day to day needs. If the duties below have been added to your schedule it's time to take your schedule back!
- General tech support - Virus and malware removals, software errors, running updates, monitoring usage and system health, and installing new software.
- Server management - Any kind of server updates, maintenance, troubleshooting and patches.
- Backups - Daily backup solutions and restoring files.
- Network monitoring - Monitoring threats including making sure your anti-virus is up-to-date, monitoring employee computer usage, keeping network policies up-to-date.
- Equipment replacements and improvements - Determining when to replace equipment may still seem like it fits into day to day managing of a business, but when you're working with a trusted IT resource having a technology replacement strategy in place would be a part of that relationship. As well as any hardware upgrades that need to be made.
- Up-to-date technology policies - Including concerns over bring your own device, social media, any personal use of company assets, as well as disaster recovery procedures.
How much time does it take to keep up with your business's IT needs? It is estimated that even at smaller companies 10-20 workstations & servers combined, IT management takes 6-10 hours of work each week. Most of that time is spent by business owners putting out fires, fixing email issues, figuring out why the backup failed, cleaning up viruses or malware and running updates.
Small business IT management trends show that approximately 3.8 million small businesses have "involuntary" IT managers managing their IT, is that you? If so it's time to stop worrying about putting out the IT fires and fire yourself from technology!
"Work on your business, not in your business!"
In a recent article SmartCompany listed hiring an outside IT support provider as one of the top ways to free up your time to work on what's really important in your business. Tim Ferriss went on to say "Test for reliability." If you're concerned about relinquishing control of your technology or worried about finding a truly trustworthy IT resource "test on a small project, not something that is mission critical."