Although taking advantage of the benefits of using an IT outsourcing company is common practice within the corporate sector, surprisingly few SMEs are taking advantage of the same opportunities. In part this is due to the short sightedness of many IT outsourcing companies failing to provide a suitable level of service to the SME sector.
Yet the fact is that SMEs represent a significantly larger market than the corporate sector alone, and annually spend more on IT than the corporate sector. SMEs represent an ideal opportunity for IT support companies, but equally it's important that sole traders or owners of SMEs become fully aware of the potential benefits of hiring an IT outsourcing company.
In many cases small or medium businesses are using a network of technology which has grown organically, gradually becoming more and more complex, more and more interconnected and more and more liable to run into problems. Those problems take more time to sort out, and ultimately cost the business more to put right.
The dependence on technology is a two edged sword, both cutting through tasks in ways never before imagined, yet quite capable of cutting profits back sharply. For small businesses and sole traders it's important to realise that there are two problems to face.
The first is that to succeed it is increasingly necessary to compete on an even footing. Technology has provided that opportunity, enabling SMEs to compete with the behemoths of the corporate sector in not just a fair way, but sometimes in a way that provides real advantages to the more nimble and adaptable small enterprises.
But this requires development, progress, new technologies, integrating existing technologies in new ways, and knowing what to do, when to do it and how to do it.
As businesses rely on technology more, and have more of their business tied in to their IT infrastructure, security becomes one aspect which is always in need of being developed, refined and improved. Even knowing how to achieve all this still leaves the small business owner with a second problem, and that's time.
Keeping up to date, moving forwards and tightening efficiency and security requires both extensive knowledge and specialist understanding of the IT sector as well as potentially damaging amounts of time. Trying to run a business full time during the day leaves little time for IT maintenance, expansion, upgrading or development.
It is for these two reasons that SMEs need to think seriously about the very real benefits of using an IT outsourcing company to provide the level of support needed, when it's needed.
Even within an IT support company there needs to be a wide range of personnel with different niche specialisms. No sole trader or small business owner can hope to have the same breadth of experience, or the depth of knowledge required. By enlisting the services of an outsourced support service for IT the small business gains the advantage of both breadth and depth, being able to call upon the support required, only when it actually is required, knowing that the support will be targeted for maximum efficiency, accuracy, reliability and speed.
Many IT support services provide Service Level Agreements (SLA), giving SMEs the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if a website goes down, the email account has been hacked, the server's offline, critical data files have been corrupted, or the workstations have been infected by a virus, the help and support will be there when needed, helping the business get back on track sooner rather than later, and in a stronger, more resilient and more secure fashion than before.