Are you an Involuntary IT Manager?

The phrase ‘Involuntary IT Manager’ refers to an employee responsible for delivering IT Support in an organisation, but who is not an IT expert and who has to do it alongside their other duties. Having such an employee is a common way to cut costs and keep control in-house, but a recent survey by Microsoft has highlighted some of the dangers of the approach.

In summary, the Microsoft/AMI-Partners report estimates that it costs small businesses a whopping $24 billion a year globally in wasted productivity. Every minute an employee spends trying to fix or resolve an IT issue is time that they are not spending doing the job they are paid to do. 
In addition, the survey also found that:

  • 36% of those surveyed think IT is a nuisance,
  • 26% do not feel qualified to deal with IT,
  • 60% want to simplify their IT to reduce the difficulty of managing it on a day-to-day basis.

Taken together, this means there will be a big impact on their motivation and ability to address IT issues. Given that IT is such an important part of any business, the message is clear; using an involuntary IT Manager, or IITM for short, is detrimental to any business.
The Microsoft report was commissioned to support the development of cloud computing but we see it as a bigger issue; ineffective and wasteful IT support. From our perspective it’s not about whether you use a cloud or traditional solution, it’s about making sure the IT support you have is effective and appropriate for your needs.
As Peter King, the Director of SMB Hosting and Cloud Services at Microsoft says, “While many small businesses see dedicating IT support to an existing member of staff as a way of saving money the truth is they are actually stifling their business. As the research shows, IITMs are less productive and this can have detrimental effects on sales and revenue.”
Regardless of whether it’s a cloud or traditional set-up, you need the expertise, motivation and experience to deliver the support you need. It is unlikely that this can be delivered by someone ‘doing IT’ on a part-time basis alongside their other job, they need to be a dedicated professional. We first wrote about this back in March 2012 in Employees in an IT Support Role – maybe the world is starting to catch up with us!

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