Smart IT for Small Business – Simplify Your Life

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Computer

Information Technology is an annoying distraction.

Does that statement ring true for you? If so, you’re in good company – most owners and managers share the sentiment about IT for small business. Someone has to manage the IT environment in your company, but formal IT support is too expensive. So, the job falls on a tech-savvy employee whose primary responsibility is not IT. That person becomes your company’s Involuntary IT Manager. Perhaps that person might be you.

The Involuntary IT Manager is constantly distracted with demands to install this, upgrade that and deal with the occasional catastrophe. Some folks enjoy this type of work. For most though, it’s an annoying, sometimes stressful experience. In any event, the role of Involuntary IT Manager is a time-consuming addition that has a significant impact on productivity.

A recent study commissioned by Microsoft found that the typical Involuntary IT Manager loses six hours per week of business productivity while managing IT. That adds up to over 300 hours per year – a full 8 weeks of work! According to the study, this loss of productivity translates into a negative effect on revenue and a high opportunity cost.

What can you do to reclaim that productivity? Unfortunately you can’t get rid of Information Technology altogether – it’s become a necessary part of every business. However, you can simplify it, which in turn reduces the workload on the Involuntary IT Manager.

Consider the current reality: most small businesses have a variety of computers running various versions of multiple programs on various operating systems. In addition, many small companies are running one or more in-house servers for email, file storage, database and application services. Is it any wonder your Involuntary IT Manager spends so much time on the care and feeding of such a complex IT environment?

Now consider this vision: an office with no servers and very little desktop software. Most of your applications are accessed through a web browser, reducing the amount of software to be purchased, installed and maintained on your fleet of computers. Those browser-based applications are online services maintained by an external service provider. You no longer need in-house email, application and database services, so your server becomes a simple file storage device. Desktop computers require less grunt and storage, so they’re simpler and less expensive. More of your IT budget goes toward agile mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and smart phones. Your simplified IT environment works better, your employees are happier, and your Involuntary IT Manager (who’s the happiest of all) can focus on more productive activities.

Clearly, simplifying your IT by moving it online has major advantages. But, it also has drawbacks. In next month’s newsletter we’ll talk about the risks of taking your business online, and how you can mitigate those risks by taking a deliberate, incremental approach.

If you’d like to learn more, please register to attend our seminar All you need to know about Cloud Computing, on 20 June 2013 at 4:30 pm, at the Xero office just up the street from the ICEHOUSE. This seminar is co-sponsored by Arrowrock Ltd, Generate Accounting and Xero Online Accounting.

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