smb-tech-trendsIt’s generally all hands on deck when it comes to running your small business. As the owner of the company, you undoubtedly wear many hats – chief salesperson, HR manager and facilities director are just some of them. And the same goes for others on your team. When you are small and growing, it’s the rule more than the exception that each of your employees has multiple responsibilities.

But there’s one area where you may actually be losing productivity by having someone take charge without the proper training, and that’s IT.  A study conducted by AMI-Partners for Microsoft found that small businesses lose more than $24 billion in productivity each year when nontechnical employees, who are referred to as involuntary IT managers (IITMs), are put in charge of managing the company’s IT solutions.

The global study of 538 IITMS in five countries, including the US, Australia, Brazil, Chile and India, found that on average IITMs lose six hours a week – around 300 hours per year – of business productivity while managing IT. While some of IITMs expressed confidence in their ability to handle technical responsibilities, most find their work productivity suffers because their work time is diverted to IT issue.

Some of the specific findings included:

  • 30 percent of all surveyed IITMs feel that IT management is a nuisance.
  • 26 percent indicated they do not feel qualified to manage IT.
  • Six in 10 IITMs want to simplify their company’s technology solutions to alleviate the difficulty of managing IT day-to-day.

Computer DiagnosticBased on the small business surveyed in the five countries – all of which had 100 employees or less- AMI-Partners determined that 3.8 million small businesses managed IT by IITMs. While these companies spent $83 billion on IT and communications; they lost $24 billion in productivity by trying to manage IT.

Opportunity in the clouds

The cloud is an area of particular interest to IITMs. Among survey respondents, 33 percent indicated they are likely to shift more IT spending toward hosted or cloud solutions. A slightly higher percentage (36 percent) is interested in a productivity and collaboration suite.

Still IITMs have some concerns about cloud computing, chief among them are security and privacy, followed by reliability, integration with existing IT investments and limited features.

If you haven’t moved your IT to the cloud and would like to know more, a good starting point is our new e-book on  “How you can take advantage of the cloud.”  It’s part of our Big Trends e-book series.