SME survival: Why the spotlight should be on IT management

In a world increasingly built on software and constantly defined by change, IT management has been swept out of the shadows and into the spotlight like never before.

Why the spotlight should be on IT management

Gone are the days when IT teams were the hidden heroes of business operations, getting on quietly behind the scenes with their day-to-day tasks. Today, against a backdrop of rapid digital expansion, a turbulent economic landscape, and the skyrocketing numbers of devices to manage and secure in a work-from-anywhere world, IT teams have now earned a seat at the boardroom table and a leading role in driving business success. 

Quite simply, robust IT support and management today lies at the heart of SME success. Without it, business comes to a standstill. But with such a weight of expectation falling squarely on the shoulders of IT teams everywhere, it’s crucial to unpack and set out how IT professionals can champion change, avoid potential pitfalls, and own their new status as business leaders. 

IT is now critical to success 

Businesses have leaned into the talents and agility of their IT teams at lightning speed. The old processes and protocols lie forgotten on the scrapheap, replaced by the business imperative of dynamic IT leadership with all the tools and tricks to meet the wide and varied needs of everyone at every level with diverse needs and capabilities.

IT teams are used to wearing many hats. But today they are wearing more than ever as they deliver transformation that works for everyone, from the board to the workforce and the ever-evolving expectations of demanding customer bases. So, when you ponder their to-do lists, it’s clear why a high functioning, hard-wearing IT strategy is right at the top of business priorities. 

Although the case couldn’t be stronger for IT-driven transformation, it just can’t be turned on at the flick of a switch. Businesses must use the best strategies and processes and invest in the right technology. Implementing the most appropriate solutions is a critical part of navigating the complexity of modern working life and the proliferation of cyber threats. And that’s without even mentioning the tech and tools young digital-native workforces expect today.

Navigating SME pain points

The new working world is well and truly here, with seismic changes rippling through businesses. IT teams have become synonymous with business success and security but that rise in status has been something of a double-edged sword. 

Agility is baked into IT professionals’ DNA. But against the searing intensity of the workload, the long and demanding hours, and the ongoing talent shortages we’re seeing in the IT and cyber security world, burnout is beginning to take its toll. It comes as SMEs battle against limited resources and smaller budgets, resulting in increased cash caution in a bid to maximise every penny. New data highlights just how tangible the strain is and how solutions are at the very top of the workplace wishlist.

GoTo research shows 83% of SME decision-makers are currently focused on consolidating vendors. The research also shows most businesses aren’t blind to the pressures and pain points facing their IT teams, with a staggering 92% looking for strong strategies to tackle and reduce the burden. The figures make for grim, if unsurprising, reading when you see that 65% of organisations have reported an increase in IT workload in the last year. 

Sadly, we’re sitting on a ticking time bomb that will only see talented IT pros flee the field unless we see an urgent reset in terms of tech, strategy, and staffing for better outcomes. However, while businesses are gradually waking up to the stark reality, many leaders are left scratching their heads in the pursuit of any meaningful methods. 

Driving smooth, well-oiled solutions 

While the flexibility of remote and hybrid work models offers a range of benefits, it also poses a raft of new challenges. It’s time for a whole new approach; one that unites the very best parts of technology and people strategies. It will take vision paired with ambition but consolidating tech, automating workflows, and streamlining all parts of the process can accelerate the pace of the transition.

Supporting the needs of a scattered workforce in particular takes some serious strategic might. In many cases, it’s all about investing in a consolidated platform capable of remotely supporting help desk requests, device management, and even camera-sharing capabilities, so IT teams can troubleshoot technology problems in the physical world that would otherwise be impossible when working remotely.

Recent years have cemented the value of agility and preparation. Always being alert and ready for remote work at the drop of a hat, and offering access to consolidated remote support and guidance on IT issues, have become vital tools in the work-from-anywhere world for every industry, but particularly in critical services ones like healthcare. Take dental hardware and software supplier 360 Orthodontics for instance.

Key to the organisation’s ability to provide stellar customer support is to ensure its technicians can quicky review and accurately diagnose the problem when faults occur. However, the previous support process was inefficient and costly as simple faults were difficult to diagnose over a voice call. This meant technicians would be booked up weeks in advance to travel to their customers’ site to fix issues which could have been handled remotely if that had better visual aids to identity the problem.  

360 Orthodontics realised they needed an innovative approach to reduce the workload for the technicians and avoid customer churn by resolving issues quickly. To alleviate those risks, they adopted Rescue built by GoTo. The company immediately recognised the Camera Share feature of GoTo Resolve could transform its remote hardware support.

In the first month of its implementation, Camera Share enabled 360 Orthodontics to avoid up to ten site visits, minimising downtime and lost revenue for customers, optimising technician resources, and saving time and money for both customers and 360 Orthodontics. GoTo Resolve Camera Share is user-friendly – based on zero-download, browser-based technology. Previously, 360 Orthodontics technicians might ask customers to use WhatsApp or Facebook to show them the fault, but this meant customers having to share their personal details. That is no longer necessary with Camera Share. Camera Share also has educational benefits for customers. By watching the issue being solved, they may learn how to fix it for themselves – easing the pressure on 360 Orthodontics support resources. 

Leveraging tools and educating workforces 

IT management has never been a one-way street but it’s a common misconception that we need to get rid of fast. Leaders must drive home the message that strong and secure IT management is a collective, company-wide responsibility, and they need to give staff the tools to do play their part. Shaking off all the outdated thinking and landing this new message will undoubtedly drive down the burden on IT teams while also empowering staff.

However, the key stumbling block is many businesses are still struggling to simply get going on their digital transformation journeys with IT service management solutions. Innovation is the talk of the town, yet legacy systems and a failure to fully migrate IT systems to the cloud are hampering progress and businesses are missing out on all the cost-saving and IT management benefits. At a time when using and consolidating tech can offer so much, it’s the right moment to lay the foundations of this whole new approach. 

There is an opportunity to do so much more. Take, for example, the rise of AI and automation, which has captured the attention of the world. Implementing AI and IT automation tools into IT support in the correct way means common queries can be instantly responded to by advanced digital assistants, freeing up human support staff to focus on more complex issues that require their expertise. A win for employees, customers, and IT teams. Despite the uncertainties and anxieties that surround AI and its role in our futures, let’s embrace the change full-on. AI can and should be used to empower staff to do more, rather than make them fear they’ll be doing less to the point of redundancy. 

The next steps for SME leaders

As economic uncertainty, scrutinised budgets, and overburdened resources persist, IT decision-makers are faced with determining the right set of goals and objectives to maximise their investment, grow their business, and streamline their processes. With their limited budgets and resources, SMEs need to make careful decisions regarding where they invest. Choosing an IT management solution that works for them is a crucial decision that can positively impact every aspect of the organisation. 

Paul Carolan
Paul Carolan

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