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Why IT Causes You Headaches, pt. 4

You Spent Too Much Time on IT !

There are several common issues that we see as a Managed IT Services Provider. 

At times we identify issues within our processes and use it as an opportunity to improve. Often we will find a new and better tool solution via a webinar, conference, or vendor product demo. But the most common issues we see relate to pain points we hear by talking to prospective customers—and we hear many of the same things repeatedly. Through this series of blog posts, we will examine some of these common items and talk about how you can deal with them. 

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: you’re sitting down with a fresh cup of coffee, maybe a snack too. You’ve finished your morning meeting and cleared your schedule for doing the growth plan you’ve been putting off. Your phone rings. It’s James in Accounting, and the printer is not working. Yes, he’s tried that one trick but now lights are blinking, something about the network. You get up and go check it out.

Time is a precious commodity. We’ve all heard the idiom that “time is money”. This is true, in many ways, but time is also finite, how we spend time is choice, and that choice’s decision becomes an exercise in opportunity cost. This contrasts, in some ways, to the manner in which many entrepreneurs approach his or her business: build it from the inside. What this often translates to, especially at first, is the entrepreneur beginning from a one-person or otherwise very small shop. For this scenario, it may not be terribly challenging to set up a basic IT network. (Let’s ignore, for a moment, businesses that require more complex setups right from the start—often, but certainly not always, due to legal compliance requirements such as NIST, CMMC, or HIPAA. Those businesses should likely consult IT professionals very early in the life of the business.) 

Some entrepreneurs recognize that IT is not a strong suit for them and, at this point, consult a qualified professional person or organization. However, others may have some IT knowledge and continue to provide IT support—be the “IT Guy/Gal”—for the office and his/her employees. This saves money for the business and the computers work so it’s a win-win! Right?

Unfortunately, this approach begins to fray as the business grows. Since the owner is likely focused on actually running the business, and not IT, items may begin to fall through the cracks a bit. Equipment ages and breaks, and larger networks require larger effort and equipment. IT planning may not be as robust as desirable. As systems architecture becomes more complex, the owner may or may not be technically proficient in maintaining stability and security. Even at high levels of expertise, there is an increased time commitment that is virtually impossible to dodge. 

Suddenly, the business owner finds himself fixing printers, troubleshooting workstations, or correcting corrupted network shares instead of planning for the growth of the business. Time that could otherwise be spent strategically planning growth is creating user accounts for new employees. Even so, this doesn’t account for monitoring equipment, making sure security patches are up to date, or planning the IT systems for the future. In essence, not only has the opportunity cost grown for the CEO’s time but also have the number and complexity of the problems he or she must solve. 

It’s a bad mix. It’s a mix that continually tilts further and further from spending time productively and profitably. 

Time management becomes essential for a busy CEO. If one reads several articles regarding CEO time management, a general consensus will likely be reached around managing people, strategy, and cash flows. This is unsurprising to most, of course, but we find a troubling number of prospective customers find themselves in the position of performing CEO level tasks while also managing IT (and not always well). Most have not done a true calculation of what their time is worth multiplied by the number of hours spent on corrective IT. 

While I won’t go into full detail in this post, this IT Headache blog series is wrapped up in the many other disadvantages of not remaining on top of IT problems: loss of productivity, security failures, and poor planning, among others. A CEO stretched between managing IT and his or her main duties is much more likely to allow things to go unnoticed until they are major issues!

For most SMBs, a Managed Services Provider stacks up well against a full time IT employee. Check out why!

Here’s some good news, though…if you‘d like to delegate the day-to-day IT responsibilities, we are here to do JUST THAT! Click on the Contact Us link and let us know what is giving YOU a headache! 

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