Running a small- to medium-sized business comes with many successes and challenges. Most SMB owners not only have to worry about running their business, they have to concern themselves with their IT issues as well. They may find that they know just enough about technology to justify saving money by maintaining their networks and other technology needs themselves, often to be caught off-guard when a problem comes along that they are unable to fix and forcing them to hire a tech to come in after the issue has spiraled out of control. Fortunately, there is a solution – hiring an IT consultant to handle your technology needs for you. Here are some benefits that you will enjoy when working with an IT consultant:
More time to focus on doing what you love
Whether you enjoy fishing, participating in charity events, or being an active part of your business, hiring an IT consultant can give you more time to focus on doing the things that make you happiest. Figuring out your own technical problems is distracting and takes you away from what you’re really good at. IT consultants give you and your employees that time back by taking over things like researching new solutions, implementing technology, and fixing any IT problems.
Gain more efficiency
You may think you are saving money by handling your technology yourself, however with lack of experience comes lack of efficiency, costing you more money in the long run. Hiring an IT consultant gives you access to better, faster, and cost efficient technology solutions and services, which in turn saves you the time and money you would normally spend on fixing your IT issues yourself. A skilled IT consultant can implement new technology solutions with greater speed and efficiency than a non experienced person would be able to and reduce the risks of technology failure by doing it right the first time.
Save money and control operating expenses
By hiring an IT consultant, you’ll know exactly how much you are going to need to budget for technology expenses each month. Many IT consultants operate under a flat rate fee, sending you a consistent monthly bill for the services they provide under your SLA. You’ll reduce technology spending by up to 50% and will no longer have to worry about recruiting, training, turnover, and paying benefits such as vacation, sick time, and holidays for an extra employee.
Access to highly specialized talent
IT is a rapidly changing industry. It requires a multitude of knowledge to understand even the basics. By hiring an IT consultant, you won’t have the added expense of constantly training an in-house IT person in order to stay up-to-date with current technology. You’ll have access to a wealth of knowledge from a team of consultants to provide you with more support than you can source from one individual.
Increased on-demand flexibility
As a business owner, you know far too well how quickly your business can change. You may have to hire more people during a busy season and reduce staff during slower seasons. Keeping up with the technology to do that is cumbersome at best and can create a huge HR problem if unplanned. With an IT consultant, you’ll have the flexibility to scale your technology up or down as your business needs require and you’ll only have to pay for what you are actively using.
Communication is critical in the productivity of your business. Improved communication can lead to greater collaboration and knowledge sharing, supporting employee innovation. By hiring an IT consultant to plan, implement, and maintain your technology, you’re improving your communication across a multitude of platforms including file sharing, wireless connectivity, mobile platforms, and email exchange, resulting in fewer misunderstandings and greater productivity amongst your employees.
When your business is down, you’re losing money. Even just a few minutes can cost your business hundreds or thousands of dollars. Think about it; you’re paying employees, service technicians, and many other expenses while everyone waits to get back up and running. IT consultants make sure that your downtime is at the absolute minimum. They can’t guarantee that you won’t experience ANY downtime, but they can make sure you experience less of it and more uptime.
Gain a competitive edge
By utilizing an IT consultant, your business immediately gains a competitive edge in your marketplace. They’ll provide you with the latest technology and provide ongoing training and real world experience to educate you on what is and is not worth investing in. You’ll be able to make rapid moves if necessary to get you back into the market quickly.
Hire better employees
You know what they say: people don’t leave companies, they leave people. While hiring an IT consultant can’t improve your people, it can reduce the stress they feel by having to manage their technology themselves. Employees want technology hardware and software that works and helps them to excel in their positions. When your employees have to face excessive downtime due to ineffective technology, there’s more time for them to find fault in the people around them.
Access to hard to get support
Without an IT consultant, it’s nearly impossible to get top of the line support from a manufacturers customer support line. Software manufacturers rarely give individual end-user support to businesses seeking it out. If they DO provide support, it’s usually very minimal and may be unreliable. IT consultants, however, can give you access to thousands of technology vendors including Microsoft and Cisco, oftentimes with priority access.
As you can see, there are many advantages of having an IT consultant for your business, regardless of it’s size or industry. If you aren’t currently utilizing one, you’re missing out on all the benefits that an outsourced IT department can provide.