Any firm struggling during a recession looks for areas where they can cut costs. Often, they will decide that they can do without an IT specialist as they only seem to be needed every now and again and besides so-and-so in another department knows a thing or two about computers – maybe they can step in.
A false economy
The problem is that you only really appreciate your IT support staff when things go wrong. When everything is working perfectly, they are barely noticed. People assume that the technology is reliable and will always remain thus. Then suddenly there is some sort of catastrophe – a massive data loss resulting from corrupt storage media or somesuch – and you realise why you employed an IT specialist in the first place.
Often, it is about staying on top of issues so that things don’t go wrong. Any network connected to the internet is constantly at risk and your IT manager needs to stay abreast of current threats. In the worst cases, a virus can basically bring down an entire company.
It’s also about being able to identify faults. Often, a computer will continue working but at an unworkably slow speed. What is causing this? Is it a particular process, a particular piece of software or is there a hardware fault? It is not just a matter of deducing the problem, it is also a matter of doing so quickly.
When computers don’t work well, productivity is affected. A lack of expertise means problems take longer to resolve, even if they can be correctly diagnosed. On top of this, if you don’t have dedicated IT support staff, you may end up with a situation where the person best placed to tackle a computer problem simply doesn’t have the time to do it because of other work commitments. You need somebody to take responsibility for this sort of stuff.
One excellent solution is to outsource your IT support. This means that you can benefit from great expertise and IT manpower when you need it without having to pay a whole group of people the rest of the time. For smaller firms, this is particularly appealing – particularly if directors or management do not know what they should be looking for were they to try and recruit someone themselves.
There are a great many considerations when managing a computer system. You need to secure data, protect the system, manage hardware and assist staff. Although these all fall under the banner of information technology, they are actually quite disparate tasks. It is hard to find someone who is a real expert in all areas. However, if you outsource, you have access to a whole range of professionals and different specialists can assist with different tasks.
Most modern firms are extraordinarily reliant on their computer systems. It is simply ludicrous that some would put them at risk in a bid to save money. Just think what a single day without computers would be like at your firm and imaging how much effort it would take to get back on track even if the problem were magically resolved the next day.
Sid Manning is currently looking for IT support in Manchester.