When small businesses start out, it is typically on a lean structure and a small budget. At this point, investing in things like IT support may seem like a luxury that is a long way off. But as your business grows and evolves, when does this faraway luxury become an essential necessity?
If you want your business to be sustainable then it pays to give some attention to your IT. The easiest option is to delegate IT management to someone in the organisation with a bit of hands-on experience, your accountant perhaps, but this approach has proven to be flawed.
“It’s very normal in a small business to have a designated IT person that actually already has a full-time job and plenty of responsibilities elsewhere in the business. Unfortunately, whilst the theory sort of makes sense, the reality is, no one can do two jobs at once,” says Daniel Baptist, Account Manager at Retrac.
The problem with internal support
No matter how well intended your part time internal resource is, they will only ever stick with what they know.
“It’s human nature to want to stay in your comfort zone. But with IT, you need to be forward thinking and constantly looking at what tools can you use to ensure you are up to date and compliant. Many of these internal resources won’t even have a clear understanding of their compliance requirements,” explains Daniel.
According to Daniel, internal resources know what they are doing at the start but then have no further learning or upskilling. This means they have no way of knowing which technology they should be introducing to better enable their organisation. As a result of this knowledge gap, the business is at risk of falling behind in terms of both security and functionality.
“There comes a time when you need to explore different avenues. This isn’t because your inhouse person has failed, it is just that your business has changed, and your IT needs dedicated specialists to ensure it grows with your business. It needs to be somebody’s core focus, it’s just business evolution,” says Daniel.
How do you know when you need to level up your IT support?
So how do you know when it’s time to seek specialist support? According to Daniel there are several reliable indicators to look for.
#1 Functionality: If you are looking at doing something and don’t know how to achieve it, or use technology to achieve it, then it’s a good time to ask for help.
“You need your IT to mould around your business model, not the other way around. To do this, you need an understanding of modern workplace capabilities and customisations,” explains Daniel.
#2 A significant increase in team members: As your team grows so does the volume of support queries and demand on IT.
“We worked with a new customer recently who had grown quickly and was basically monkey barring their IT. It wasn’t set up the way they wanted, and this was causing team headaches as well as impacting their functionality,” notes Daniel.
#3 (The least fun indicator of the three) You have a security breach: If you have a breach, the chances are your security wasn’t as robust as it should have been and you were therefore unaware of your vulnerability.
“There are of course more triggers than just these three, but basically when it comes to IT, if you find yourself going from comfortable to uncomfortable, it’s time to ask for help,” says Daniel.
The benefits of outsourcing your IT
When it comes to outsourcing your IT, the benefits are multiple. As outlined in a previous article, Who looks after IT in your business? Three reasons why it should be an MSP three core benefits are depth of knowledge, cost, a finger on the pulse and a passion for technology.
“You get specialised support. Even within the Retrac team, we all focus on different areas and are working on different things. This means we have a much broader breadth of knowledge. No one person can compete with a team of experts,” says Daniel.
In addition to having a range of experts within the team, Retrac also partners with organisations such as Microsoft, Cisco & HP, which gives customers direct access to additional specialists.
“Customers benefit from Retrac’s connections as well. There’s a lot of value in that, if you have a machine go down, we can get it back up and running or replaced quickly,” adds Daniel.
The cost conundrum (solved)
Finally, the million-dollar question, or rather the most common perceived barrier to outsourcing IT, the cost.
“This is tough to address, only because if you move from internal to outsourced you are effectively going from a zero cost to cost model. But it’s not comparing apples to apples. Ultimately, the value of good IT to your business can be massive but only if you have people with the right knowledge steering the ship,” says Daniel.
Think you have outgrown your inhouse IT? Contact Retrac today to learn more about our managed services and find out how the costs compare.