SMBs Are Turning to Managed IT Services over IT Department
Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have always had it tougher than large corporations. There are simply fewer resources to go around. Bill payment is a priority, while investment in technology and infrastructure usually gets low priority. Unless the business is a tech company, it’s often hard to justify spending money on an IT department or even springing for an IT professional.
In 2013, Forbes noted that the US has 28 million small businesses. Roughly half of the US working population is employed at one. Furthermore, over half of these small businesses are home-based. These stats, as well as some other interesting data, lead to SMBs turning to managed IT services for their IT solutions.
What are managed IT services? Think of it like outsourcing for business IT—only stateside, with a more personal touch. Managed IT companies work with small- to medium-sized businesses to take care of all of the IT concerns that arise. From simple server management to more complex issues related to data and information compliance, managed IT services do it all. Many managed IT service companies focus on specific programs, while others emphasize infrastructure.
Still, there are many reasons why more small- to medium-sized businesses are turning to managed IT solutions.
Information Technology Keeps Getting More Complex
Most of us have heard of Moore’s Law. The observation that computers keep getting more powerful every few years has certainly panned out. But the consequence of that power is more ability. Computer innovation continues to result in impressive yet complex computer programs and solutions.
Cloud computing and cloud servers are quickly taking over traditional servers. A 2014 report by Amdocs found that over 60 percent of SMBs in the US have adopted cloud computing services. The latest and greatest work productivity programs are cloud based or have cloud-based options. Yet few entrepreneurs have the time to become IT masters. It makes sense for them to turn to managed IT services to help sift through the details.
The type of technology and IT solutions most businesses must purchase are getting more complicated to understand and implement as well.
The Cost of Hiring a Full-Time IT Professional Keeps Rising
Many SMBs cannot afford to hire an IT professional. Glassdoor finds the average salary of an IT professional to be over $85,000 a year. IT professional community Spiceworks found that the average SMB spent around $192,000 on its IT budget in 2013. Keep in mind, of course, that this is just the average. Their survey also discovered that most of that budget goes toward two things: hardware (39 percent) and software (30 percent). This leaves little for hiring an IT professional. Many businesses feel the hardware and software purchase is far more important than an IT professional who can help them work out the details on a day-to-day basis. Consequently, 19 percent of that budget went toward managed IT services.
Also, this cost is only compounded by how difficult it is for most small- to medium-sized businesses to stay afloat. A survey from the National Federation of Independent Businesses found that only 33 percent of SMBs survive long enough to hit the 10-year mark. Among the top reasons are insufficient cash flow management and a lack of capital. When it comes to any business, cash is king. Most SMBs are working from the ground up to generate cash flow, and so a sound business plan is needed. Most SMB owners understand this. But many fail to grasp the full scope of what they need to keep IT cost overruns down.
Investing in IT Can Be a Gamble
What’s more, IT can be a double-edged sword. A wise investment can pay off big—but only if it’s managed correctly. A 2012 MIT study found that IT investment, more so than advertising or research and development, had a much larger percent increase in revenue for businesses. This, of course, assumes that the IT is properly managed by the right people. As beneficial as IT can be, when it goes down, many businesses pay for it immediately.
A 2014 TechRadar study discovered that IT failures can cost businesses big—on average, as much as $10.8 million. While that includes businesses of all sizes, even a fraction of that would be damaging to an SMB. Many businesses would not be able to recover. In the same way a fire can destroy a restaurant for good, constant server errors or stolen customer data could mean the end of a small business.
Fidelus Managed IT Services Help SMBs Take Charge of Their Cisco UC
Successful small- to medium-sized businesses use many different IT solutions. Cisco’s Unified Communications and Collaboration tools are both powerful and effective. However, many SMBs may lack the resources to fully implement Cisco’s wide range of productivity tools. And even after rollout is complete, troubleshooting unexpected errors can be both costly and frustrating.
In addition to helping businesses roll out new Cisco UC tools, Fidelus provides 24x7x365 remote management. SMBs can realize a very valuable ROI by using Fidelus as a managed IT services provider for Cisco UC and Collaboration tools. Services include remote support, high-level troubleshooting, vendor escalation, real-time monitoring, and so much more. And because the Fidelus team of Cisco Engineers are certified in all the core areas you require, you can expect expert service from start to finish.