Research indicates that today’s small business spends an average of 6.9% of its revenue on I.T. This ca. equate to thousands of dollars spent per employee for hardware, software, infrastructure and repair. Yet, all too often, what may be missing are the kinds of strategic investments that really foster growth. That’s the strategic approach to technology that an I.T. consultant can provide.
If your small business is looking to take a more strategic approach to technology, it might be time to consider an I.T. consultant. What are the signs that it is time to hire an I.T. consultant?
- You want to grow. Whether your business is just starting out, or a more established company that wants to punch past a plateau, it takes proven systems and processes to scale your business to the next level of growth. An I.T. consultant can help by looking at your entire business from a process and infrastructure perspective, helping to determine what systems will deliver the needed results.
- You don’t have in-house I.T. staff. Most small and medium companies outside the technology industry don’t have access to the kind of technical staff that is needed to deliver sustained growth. An I.T. consultant can deliver the technology and business know-how needed to take you to the next level.
- Your business is falling behind. Technology is becoming increasingly important in just about every industry. Customers expect your business to be accessible vie the internet, email and mobile technology. They expect you to be able to partner with them collaboratively. And when they call with a question about a bill or a product, they expect answers right away. To meet these needs, you need reliable technology that can deliver insight, and facilitate smooth communication. An I.T. consultant can help you meet these changing expectations cost-effectively.
- Your non-technical staff is filling technical roles. A common occurrence in many businesses is when a non-technical person, such as an office manager or administrative assistant, is put in the position of providing technical support for the business. Obviously, this has two detrimental effects – one, the person is fulfilling a role they’re not trained to perform, and it takes time away from their regular duties that may be more strategic for the business. An I.T. consultant can focus on fulfilling your technical needs so your staff can focus on your business success.
- You’re spending too much on I.T. service and repair. Technology systems are like cars, they require regular maintenance to continue running smoothly. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t treat their I.T. systems as well as they (hopefully) treat their cars. Instead, they may forego maintenance in the name of saving money, only to have to more money in the long run on service and repair. An I.T. consultant can provide the kind of regular maintenance needed to prevent issues. When an issue does arise, they know your business needs and infrastructure and can get you up and running more quickly and cost-effectively.
- Your I.T. systems are old and need replacement or upgrade. The world of I.T. is always changing. New technology forces out older technologies. Eventually, even with proper maintenance, your I.T. systems won’t deliver the same results they did in the beginning. If your servers are slowing down, your email system can’t keep up with the volume of business you’re doing, or you are experiencing other “technical difficulties” it might be time to look at replacement. An I.T.consultant can look at your current infrastructure and business needs, and select the best and most cost-effective technology replacement.
Hiring an I.T. consultant is a big and very important decision for most small businesses. It’s a decision that indicates how important technology is to your business, and demonstrates your commitment to sustainable growth.