Many small businesses don’t know how to manage their technology. They focus on frontend business practices while hoping their technological backend structure continues to function flawlessly. Ironically, for a short while, this appears to work. Once an IT company sets up a basic infrastructure, then most of the information processing runs automatically or with only a little user interaction.
While you don’t need to learn how to be a mechanic to drive a car, you do need access to a good mechanic when you have car problems. This is where many small businesses fall short. They can’t afford to hire an IT expert to babysit their technology, but they have no idea what to do when they have unexpected hardware or software issues.
Fortunately, the solution is remarkably simple. Outsource your IT needs. This way you don’t have to pay a full-time fee to someone who has nothing to do when everything is running perfectly. You also move beyond surviving one crisis after another to figuring out how to rapidly grow your business.
Choosing an IT Provider
Naturally, you should hire an IT company that services your geographical location. If your company is located in Ottawa, then hiring outsourced Ottawa IT support will give the tech support you need to set up or maintain your mobile devices, desktop computers, servers, and networks.
An IT company offers support that is critical to the profitability of your business. Every time your server goes down, you are losing business. Instead of calling in a nephew who has a reputation for clocking computers to see if he might be able to help or going to a big box store who only know how to do small PC repairs, you can immediately access proactive IT support when you need it.
If you don’t have any infrastructure right now, then an IT company can build one for you and help support it. If you’ve already had someone set up an infrastructure for you, then the third-party support can make sure you have the ongoing support that you need to run your business efficiently.
Technology’s Growing Role in Business
A business is only as strong as its weakest link. If your business’s weak link is technology, then no amount of business administration acumen or excellent marketing and sales will help when your backup fails and you lose all your client records.
The need for technology in business is only growing. While the cost of the hardware and software you need to run a business is going down, the price of expertise to take on higher-level computer tasks is increasing. You can’t, for instance, ignore the benefits of having unified communications across your tablets, smartphones, desktops, laptops, and notebooks. And you can’t go back to relying on paper-based business management systems, either.
How to Find a Reputable IT Firm
If you run a Mom and Pop store or a small service business, technology may not be your forte. While you may know enough how to use computers, you have no idea what to do when things go wrong. As discussed, the solution to your problems is to hire an IT firm that comes in when you need help. However, you still may have questions about how this whole thing works.
Here are 3 frequently asked questions about IT outsourcing
1. When should I hire someone full-time and when should I outsource to an IT company?
If you have a small company, say 10 people or fewer, then all you need is the initial set-up and an outsourced team for providing maintenance and fixing glitches. If, however, you have a mid-sized company of 100 people, you will have more than enough work to keep a full-time person busy.
2. Where can I find a good IT firm?
Your best way to find the right company to help you with your IT needs is to ask other business owners like you or vendors in your industry whom they turn to when they need reliable IT help.
3. What qualifications should you look for?
An IT professional team worth their weight in gold will have the following characteristics:
- They will have acquired professional computer and IT certifications. Some common certifications include Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS); Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP); CompTIA Network+; A+ accreditation; and Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP)
- They will be able to grasp how your business works by observing its operations and then provide you with useful technological recommendations on how to improve its technical backbone.
- They will be experts in implementing data security measures and analyzing the most efficient way to do backups for all the information your business gathers.
- They will be able to communicate clearly, and not hide behind geek speak to warn you about technical problems you might be having and give you recommendations.
- They should be well-informed enough to nurture your business growth, informing you when to upgrade your computer systems to keep up with the latest innovations.
Why IT Support is Essential for Your Business Success
IT support is not just for the purpose of getting emergency help when you need it. It’s about getting the expertise you need to ensure that your data is always safe, up-to-date, and backed up. And it’s about getting astute IT recommendations to optimally run your computer systems.
Jane Brown is a freelance content writer.