The do-it-yourself economy is flourishing, with more and more consumers feeling confident enough to tackle projects involving home improvement, appliance repair, auto mechanics and more. The DIY mindset can be disastrous when extended to IT support, however.
Small businesses lose $24 billion annually in productivity when they ask non-technical employees to manage IT systems, according to a Microsoft study. So-called “involuntary IT managers” frequently cannot fix the problem, often make it worse, and sometimes alienate employees and customers, the study found.
Despite the clear risks, the practice is nevertheless commonplace. The U.S. Small Business Administration says 83 percent of small business owners do not have IT staff, choosing to handle a range of complex technology matters themselves — everything from email and printer support to application management and transactional security.
The IT environment has become far too complex for do-it-yourselfers. Even a trained IT generalist can quickly become overwhelmed when asked to support applications, desktops, servers and the network without additional help. Mobile, cloud, virtualization and cybersecurity demands increasingly require qualified experts with specialized skill sets.
For small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that lack the budget to hire full-time IT staff, managed services providers (MSPs) such as Atlantic-IT.net offer practical and cost-effective access to qualified expertise in a broad range of IT disciplines. Managed services are delivered for a predictable monthly fee based on the work performed and the results produced, relieving you of the need to budget for salaries and benefits.
Training can be another issue. Since skills gaps are a natural part of the IT industry due to the speed of innovation, ongoing training is a fact of life for IT pros. Such training would be overkill for most SMBs —you’re rarely going to need a full-time server specialist, network engineer or desktop technician. It just wouldn’t make sense to hire and train full-time staff in each of those disciplines.
The lack of training opportunities can make it difficult for SMBs to retain a high-quality IT staff. Without the opportunity to hone their skills and work on new technologies, skilled engineers worry about losing their value in a competitive market. Atlantic-IT.net’s team supports a wide range of customer environments and receives certifications from leading manufacturers. There are opportunities for growth and advancement that just aren’t possible in the small IT shop.
Even if you have an employee you believe is capable of handling most of your IT needs, relying on one individual can be risky. People get sick and go on vacation. Relationships sour. It is not uncommon for the lone IT person to literally hold the company hostage because only he or she knows the server passwords. What’s more, DIY tech support can be harming the company in ways nobody realizes. Companies often keep a cobbled-together environment up and running without realizing that some strategic upgrades could save the business a lot of money and improve operations.
Working with Atlantic-IT.net gives you the benefit of multiple perspectives. Our team of engineers and technicians have experience with a range of varied environments, allowing us to develop tested procedures based on real-world experiences. We’ll document everything and bring multiple individuals up to speed with your environment, ensuring there will be no gaps in your support.
DIY projects can give you a sense of satisfaction and save you money. When it comes to your critical IT systems, however, the odds of a successful outcome are simply not in your favor. Give us a call and let’s discuss how we can help you minimize downtime and maximize productivity by outsourcing IT maintenance, management and support.
I’m currently a junior at Rutgers University, majoring in Human Resources with a minor in Music. My love for music has already led me to an associates degree in Music from Raritan Valley Community College.