What are they doing to help you avoid IT obstacles and exploit its opportunities?
Do they know what the challenges are for small businesses? Do they know how their clients use technology and can they identify areas where technology can be applied to increase productivity, decrease costs and have a positive long-term impact on revenue?
According to the U.S. Bank Small Business Survey “small business owners are more innovators and early adopters of new technology compared to the general population.” 24% of small businesses surveyed classify themselves as early adopters compared with 14% for the general population. While a healthy percentage of small businesses are early adopters of technology there are many more that fail to fully take advantage of technology in their operations. Yodle’s, a small/local business marketing company, 2013 survey of small businesses’ adoption of technology showed utilization rates in the following areas; “…accounting (51% ), scheduling and booking (39%), customer relationship management (34%), point-of-sale systems (25%) and acquisition marketing (14%)”. Even more surprising was that, “more than half of SMB owners do not have a website (52%) or even measure the results of their marketing programs (56%)”.
Nevertheless, small business owners haven’t the time or resources to adopt as quickly, efficiently or successfully as they might like. Would they hire themselves to accomplish what they are trying to achieve on their own? According to the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Service Provider Survey “it is critical that (IT) providers go beyond the third-party service-delivery relationships of the past and find ways to become more like value-added partners.” And… According to the techaisle’s 2014 survey of small businesses there are direct relationships between small businesses’ top ten 2014 business issues, top ten IT priorities and top ten IT challenges; check out their insightful info graphic. Which of your IT priorities and challenges are you truly equipped to handle and where do you need the advice and experience of a trusted IT professional?
They are a lot of technology providers in the marketplace; which is why it is becoming more and more important to have a long-term relationship with a Service Provider who manages all of your IT and provides insight into technologies for lowering costs and increasing revenues. A good provider is able to provide or source all of your needs from vendors as necessary and, more importantly for the business owner, to effectively manage all of those relationships. From software and hardware to delivery and support, a successful provider will have knowledge, expertise and lower acquisition costs for these products and services. Are you spending a measurable amount of time managing or dealing with IT issues and if so are you able to remain fully focused on your business and its success?
A truly beneficial relationship with an IT & Managed Services Provider requires that they know your business, priorities, challenges and goals. They must bring together their technical know-how, vendor relationships and economies of scale, in order to, contribute to your success.