or: Penny Smart, Pound Foolish
There is an age-old problem when it comes to small businesses and technology: small business owners have a hard time finding value in paying for IT services to support their businesses, and they spend a lot of money not addressing the issue. For a wide variety of reasons, small business owners just seem to have a hard time justifying the costs of outsourced and/or managed IT services. Strangely, many business owners end up spend more money and time trying NOT to outsource – they just won’t acknowledge this reality.
Let’s consider that a business has been operating for a few years, and maybe has revenues approaching $1M annually. A million dollars in annual revenues isn’t anything to sneeze at. Now let’s also consider that this small business has a small computer network which supports their operations. This network is likely made up of older machines, legacy desktop software, and a few random little applications or software constructions they’ve acquired over the years. Is this business focused in properly securing the network with firewalls and security software, and is this portion of the network monitored regularly? How about data management and backups? Does the business frequently back up data offsite, and then test those backups to verify that the data can be properly restored? Is the system protected from virus or intrusions? Is it monitored? Is it tested? Is someone actually responsible for all of this stuff? If this business is like most small businesses, the answer to most of these questions is “no” or “not really”.
It’s not unusual for small business owners to fail to fully recognize the real value of their business technology (as opposed to the purchase price), and the necessary costs to manage and maintain it properly. There’s an old saying in the IT world that there are only two types of business – those who have lost their data and those who will. The business who has lost their data understands the value of IT management, because they have had to bear the cost of repairs, replacements, lost productivity, and lost revenue. Once they realize the cost, they understand the value of mitigating that risk. Unfortunately, it often takes just such an experience to get the small business owner to really recognize that not spending on IT management is actually a decision to spend more later when bad things happen. And bad things will happen. Count on it.
Now, let’s talk about the ability for that business to have their IT solutions hosted and delivered to them as a subscription service. The security, including firewall monitoring and virus protection are part of the service. Regular data backups are part of the service, as is technical support. While the business still pays for (and owns) their software license assets, the rest of the system – the engineering and technical labor, the platforms, the network – are all part of the subscription, and are under the care of skilled engineering and technical personnel. As an example, InsynQ QuickBooks hosting solutions are priced at around $50 (ish) per user per month, depending on service, and provide a comprehensive managed IT approach for small businesses. For a business owner who knows that they will spend (lose) far more if their systems are out of service, or if their paid workers aren’t able to work, that 50 bucks proves to be a pretty small price to pay.