Business has taken off and our IT team is stretched – what do we do now?

In a small business with less than a couple of hundred staff, scalability in IT is a really difficult thing to manage well. Over-resourcing in equipment or staff is expensive, and now people are looking seriously at elasticity in the supply of IT. Cloud computing is being hailed as the solution. Turn it on, turn it off as required, get just what you need and pay the right price for it. Sounds simple right?

However, moving to this holy grail of IT solutions is fraught with issues and does nothing about the scalability of your IT support services. Each move to the cloud is a project that requires resources to find the right solution, build the business case for the move, design the project, run the test case, do the work, and clean up the fall out.

If your business is growing and your IT systems need refreshing, waiting for your limited resources to have spare capacity for updates and expansion or evaporation (as I like to call ‘migration to the cloud’) is possibly not the best course of action. Many businesses, ours included, are finding hiring new IT staff is getting harder as the war on talent heats up, with only 5.1% unemployment and limited immigration of skilled professionals. Hiring the right person is becoming less of an option as it is harder to offer an IT person the right environment in a non-IT related business.

In the cloud, we already have Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). There are now elastic offerings in IT; specifically, the next trend on the way is Technology as a Service (TaaS), where a single company will offer hardware, software, hosting, connectivity, mobility and IT services as a monthly fee type of solution.

As a result, owning any hardware may become old hat. You will run off virtual servers on virtual desktops, off mobile devices that work anywhere. But when any component of this stops working, you will call your TaaS provider and they will resolve it for you. Simply put, you will have a one-stop-shop providing everything you need in technology for a monthly fee.

This is something like a telco service offering you traditional fixed-line phones, then adding the fax, then the mobile phone and then the internet connection, then leasing you all the equipment you need to run the connections. The next step is to add in the other servers, PCs and IT support. Twenty years ago when the fax machine was high tech, who could have imagined all these other services?

Today, the TaaS concept is a little sci-fi, but it is not too far off. The question is – can you find these technology partners of the future who will cover some aspect of your elasticity problem today? There are many IT service providers who have the capability to work with your business or your IT department to offer resources that compliment and expand your skills and availability. Bringing in specialists from these companies can help us skill or cross-skill your existing staff, while helping you to get past your bottlenecks in a timely manner. Outsourcing part or all of your support load may alternatively free up your internal resources to apply their local knowledge to projects that improve productivity for the rest of your team.

It’s essential for small businesses to remain nimble to take advantage of new technology as rapidly as is sensible to ensure they get the jump on their larger, less flexible competitors. Having elastic IT resources to go with elastic licensing and platforms may be the key to this for many businesses struggling to come to terms with the rapid pace of change in the IT industry.

If you’re stuck with insufficient IT resources, or lack the strategic plans that tell you where to move next in terms of technologies or resources, now is the time to partner with the right people to get the advice and people you need to solve your problems quickly and effectively – ensuring that IT is not impeding your business growth.

 

Click here to read more IT Systems expert advice.

David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.

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