The reality of life as we live it today is that there is hardly any aspect of it that can go on smoothly without some form of technology or the other. The business sector is not left out as IT has become a core aspect of any business.
From everyday business process management to stock keeping, inventory management, customer relationship management and many more, IT drives them all. There are dozens of ways that technology can help grow a small business. And businesses that fail to utilize technology can find themselves struggling against competitors.
Examples of IT Support Tasks
Some of the tasks you can expect from any IT support personnel include:
- Installation and setup of software and hardware.
- Troubleshooting and fixing malfunctioning software and hardware.
- Updating of software.
- Data management to include data backup and recovery.
- Maintenance of communication lines and networks.
- Maintenance of internet connections.
- Repairs of computers and accessories.
- Maintenance of online security and security of the business’ sensitive data and files.
- Management of business’ website functions.
And the list goes on.
As you will expect, managing all of these technological processes can become a big issue on its own. Not many small business owners have the technical knowledge to provide the kind of IT support required to keep things running smoothly. Even for those that do, they find themselves spending too much time providing support rather than getting on with the actual task of running the business.
So what’s the solution?
There are two options open to a business owner. The first is to hire an IT expert as an in-house staff who will be tasked with providing all IT support needs. The problem with this first option is that IT experts are quite expensive. This makes it an unrealistic plan for the small business owner.
The second option is to outsource the business’ IT support needs to an IT company. This is a more realistic option for small businesses to consider so we will focus on this in this article.
Why Use an IT Support Company?
There are a number of reasons why a small business should consider as a viable option, the outsourcing of its IT support to a suitable IT company. Here are a few of these reasons:
Access to IT Experts
We already mentioned above that an expert IT person will cost a reasonable sum to employ as a full time staff. Bearing such a cost may not be a wise business decision for a small business owner. By opting to go with an IT support company, you can have access to top level IT experts without having to pay their full remuneration.
With this option, you are sure that you are getting your support needs handled by real professionals.
From the above, you can already see how this option can save small businesses some money. Rather than pay a full time expert to sit with you as an in-house support tech, you can get the support you need when you need it. Best of all the support will be provided by an expert you may not have been able to afford. This puts the best support at your disposal when you need it for far less than it would normally have cost you.
You will not always need IT support. There will be times when you need it more than other times. There will also be areas where you need it more than other areas. If you employ an in-house IT expert to provide support, it is likely this expert will have nothing to do a lot of the times. S/he will only be called upon to provide support when a need for it arises. This will be some much needed funds wasting away.
By choosing to outsource this service, you not only save money, you also get to scale the service you need provided to the exact need of your business at the time. As your business grows, scaling up with it will be very easy. So you spend according to the expanding need of your business and not regardless of how your business is doing.
Choosing an IT Support Company
Having looked at why it is important for a small business to go for an IT support company, how does one go about choosing the right company? Does one just go for any one?
Of course not! There are a few things you may have to consider when you want to choose an IT company that will provide your business with the support it needs to run smoothly. Some of these include:
This should be one of the very first considerations. A company that does not have the necessary expertise has no business providing anybody with any kind of support. What kind of support will they be providing anyway? Ensure the level of expertise possessed by their staff before committing to them.
This is another very important consideration. How quickly and how often will they respond to your call for support? There are times when an entire business can come to a halt as a result of some technical problem. At such times, you need a very quick response time. Find out the maximum response time they can guarantee you and what times of the day they will respond.
This consideration will be very important if you require on-site support. Since a lot of small business now require on-site support as well as cloud-based support, you should look for a company within your area. For example, small businesses operating in London should go with support companies like 360ict Ltd that can effectively serve businesses in the area. Companies with base of operations in other cities or countries should explore solutions near them.
Look for a company that offers its services at an affordable rate. This may be by offering service options that allow you choose exactly what you need and how much of it you need, ensuring you do not spend money on what you don’t need. Choosing a company that doesn’t offer this type of flexibility can make it more costly for you.
So if you are deciding on what type of support your business needs, these four major consideration points will help you choose the right company to work with. And making the right choice for you and your company is critical to your ongoing success.