How to Ensure Your IT Services Don’t Become Outdated

Being a small company has many positives.  Flexibility, creativity, and entrepreneurial excitement are common pluses for sure. But there are also many challenges unique to a small business. When it comes to IT, the challenges for many small businesses come from places and people that often surprise.

One example that came across my desk the other day was:

Be careful not to get stuck in a rut, advises Caroline Renn Weitzel, head of talent and transformation at IT staffing and project services firm Experis. “In a rapidly moving industry, IT pros who spend significant time at a single company or role can end up with outdated skills,” she warns. “This reality may disproportionally impact professionals who have built long careers in a specific company or technology.”

As the CEO of an IT services company, I realize and understand this reality and wonder how many small businesses have thought about this very real and present concern.

How, do you make sure the IT support you rely on stays up to date?

One way, to address this is to manage IT support through a co-managed or managed services model to an outside IT service provider.  Often outside IT service providers have more fiscal bandwidth built in to address this challenge.  For instance, at Lead I.T. Consulting, we invest 25% of our available service hours, at a minimum, in training. Included in our training curriculum is reviewing what we know and what we need to know to support all our clients with champions assigned within our staff to stay abreast of the needs of this ever-changing landscape, (times XX clients!). Then this, non-billable or “unproductive time” gets added to the mandatory vacations and time off section of our business ledger. So, this “staying current” training “expense” is built into our very business model.

How many small businesses can afford to plan for this cost?  And beyond that, do you have the internal bandwidth to assess and address any technology gaps that may be widening for your staff?

The warning here is that the timeline for your single IT person is being shortened by industry experts, the fast-changing pace, and the demand to improve or be left behind.  Everyone who has been in IT for more than 7 years knows that you are only as good as what you learned yesterday. So, what to do? 

Another way Lead I.T. can help support your internal IT team is to complete a strategic review of your systems from a business perspective vs. a technology one.  We are technology-agnostic IT advisors.  A third-party IT Health Assessment can assess current or near-term IT soft spots in strategy, staff, and systems. We can address the best ways to leverage and build development.

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