There’s no doubt that the role of technology in business continues to expand and evolve; and while small business owners would love to boast an entire office full of highly skilled IT professionals, the reality is that very few have the capacity to run IT effectively in-house.
While some SMEs choose to ‘just get by’ on minimal (or zero!) IT staff, others bring in outsourced IT support partners to help with the business’ technology needs. And it seems that this may be the preferred option – an August 2016 study by CompTIA revealed that SMEs that do use technology partners are the most satisfied with their IT.
The quantitative study consisted of an online survey fielded to 600 small and medium business executives and professionals in the USA. It found that SMEs that recognise when they need help (and are willing to pay for it) tend to be in a better position with their IT than those that underinvest.
Top Ways SMEs Use Technology Partners
75% of respondents reported using a technology partner at least occasionally during a typical year. The main functions and services these partners provide are:
- Repair / troubleshooting / break-fix
- General IT consulting / advisory
- Web design or e-commerce related
- Deployment, installation or integration
- Cybersecurity related
- Procurement of hardware / software
- Cloud related
Beyond the break-fix
Although troubleshooting tops the list of SME technology partner engagements, business executives and professionals say that they also need help with innovation and digital business transformation. This present an opportunity for technology providers to engage customers with emerging technologies and staying ahead of the curve to remain competitive.
With two-thirds of the SMEs surveyed indicating that technology is a primary factor in pursuing their business objectives, they will need the right partners to take their business into the future and ensure optimal results and ROI. Technology providers need to approach the SME market equipped to face the common objections of cost, execution and trust and demonstrate that functional, future-proofed IT is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’, it’s a business priority.