SMB IT Question of the Month: How do I Know what IT Services I Need?

A small business IT consulting firm typically offers a diverse menu of services to clients. However, it can be difficult for SMB leaders to understand and prioritize available IT services. The following is a look at the basic options a small business IT consulting firm is likely to offer, from IT help desk or service requests from users for support to change management services, as well as how leaders can determine which IT services are needed.

How to Determine Which IT Services Your SMB Needs

1. Launch an internal examination of where IT is falling short. Don’t limit your IT budget to putting out fires. Small business IT consulting professionals can provide far more than a “quick fix” for IT crashes. They also offer IT engineering as well as change management services (as described in further detail below.) To best understand the IT services you need, start bringing awareness to how IT works in your business.

Journal your own IT frustrations and wishes on a daily basis. Invite employees to brainstorm where IT is failing or what innovations they think could boost productivity. This should help you figure out your main goals and needs in partnering with a small business IT consulting firm.

2. Speak to customers about how to improve your IT. Make time to talk to your clients and customers to see how they are also impacted by your IT situation. Ask them about which IT changes they’d like to see in your procedures. You may discover that in order to delight your clients, you need to upgrade your hardware or software, for instance. IT isn’t just a cost of doing business these days – it can also influence your company’s popularity with customers as well as its overall success.

3. Prioritize according to your budget. Review your available IT assets, and prioritize the services that will bring you the greatest ROI. The time of making change for the sake of change is long gone as has been replaced with making change that only has a positive impact on the bottom line

Services Offered by SMB IT Firms

While carrying out these steps, it will behoove you to understand the three basic tasks a small business IT consulting firm typically offers.

Help desk support. An IT help desk fields questions and problems from both internal and external customers. You may need this service if your internal IT employees are just too overwhelmed to properly handle requests. Alternatively, you may take this route to improve your focus on core business processes and offerings.

Troubleshooting for technology snafus. Once the IT help desk has identified a problem, engineers step in. They have the technical knowledge to manage problems and implement change. This may be the right IT service for you if a certain technology challenge is beyond the understanding of your in-house IT workers.

Change management. At the higher levels of the IT hierarchy, we find the CIO or CFIO, who organizes IT changes and oversees the change management process. The most thorough way to plan change is to apply ITIL (International Technology Infrastructure Library) standards, a group of international IT guidelines. ITIL principles can help CIOs and CFIOs understand which new technologies (cloud-based storage, software as a service, virtualization, etc.) should be added. IT efficiency and maintenance can also be improved by applying ITIL standards.

Contract for change management services if you need advice on how to improve your IT circumstances, or if you need a temporary IT leader to supervise system changes.

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