Every business with more than a few PCs needs IT talent. The larger or more technology dependant your company is, the more talent you need. DAVID MARKUS
By David Markus
I frequently find small and medium businesses with as few as 20 staff employing a young IT person to work for them. This person often is expected to advise, manage and fix all the technologies within the business – and is often quite simply not capable of the task.
Recently I was called in to a finance company that had a high demand for IT systems and so hired a young university graduate to look after their computers in-house. They believed that having a full time resource with the right qualifications would give the best results for their organisation.
Unfortunately universities do not teach the best practical skills, and the young graduate failed to establish suitable disaster recovery systems, which lead to a several-day outage after a hardware failure.
The graduate also had a poor understanding of business, and took the approach of implementing cheap hardware solutions for the company to “save them money”. Over time the infrastructure was de-stabilised to the point that it was costing the organisation significantly in downtime when staff could not access information or process orders.
The two edges of the sword are that keeping the talent close and having them know your system is good, but having only one or two people in your IT department is a high-risk, high-cost approach to solving the problem. The most expensive part of IT is the services – if the talent you employ full time lacks the skills you require, it can be very expensive to train the resource or supplement the skill set.
Today with remote management technology being as advanced as it is, companies of any size can benefit from replacing or supplementing in-house technical resources with outsourced arrangements.
This way you can tap into a pool of talented people with a wide mix of technical capabilities. You then benefit from the experience these consultants gain on other sites, get a better managed system, and faster, smoother upgrades when your technology needs it.
If you have over 100 computers, a mix of in-house strategic management and junior support with outsourced mid-level support can work very well. You can even gain a fully managed help desk that keeps your in-house technical resource well managed for you, ensuring your IT services budget is spent as efficiently as possible.
If you have less than 100 staff it might be time to consider outsourcing the entire support role to reduce costs and improve productivity.
David Markus is the founder of Melbourne’s IT services company Combo. His focus is on big picture thinking to create value in IT systems for the SME sector.