10 IT Mistakes to Avoid in the Journey of Small & Medium Sized Businesses (SMB): A Path Revealed (Part 2)
Today I am writing the second of a 2-part blog series concerning the most common technology issues encountered while running your Small and Medium Sized Business (SMB).
I will present to you the top 5 common IT misfortunes to befall the small business owner, presented in reverse order. To read common issues numbers 6-10 please refer to my first blog on this topic a few weeks ago.
5) Training- One of the activities surely to cause yawns and frowns in any small business is employee training. Many people have had bad experiences, were bored, or just had no interest whatsoever in learning something new or found it too complex to understand.
It is said that only 20% of software application functions are utilized, leaving 80% of the possible time saving capabilities, or functions to reduce costs unused due to lack of proper training. These issues result in many functions having to be done manually, which increases time and possibly errors to complete, and when these tasks are repeated day in and day out, it is easy to see how the costs multiply.
4) Illegal (Pirated) Software – most have heard about software pirating, but do you know the real cost behind it? The BSA (Business Software Alliance) estimates that 22% of all North American software being used today is unlicensed.
Many business owners may not understand the differences between OEM, retail and open license and the different costs associated with these designations. Many manufacturers have become increasingly aggressive in prosecuting offenders and have resorted to changing how their software behaves once activated. Business don’t actually own software, rather their applications and programs are usually licensed. By promoting or using pirated software you leave your organization open to audits or monetary penalties, which can also cause delays due to product activation issues.
3) Power Supply Backups – It is vital to provide a proper power solution to help protect the major financial hardware investment in your business. Electrical environments face many challenges these days from surges and brownouts, to lightning strikes, making it imperative to have a solution in place to help protect your equipment. Each business must customize their environment to suit their needs and while most power related events are hardly noticeable, your equipment feels it every time your electricity deviates, further declining the integrity of your hardware. The cost of damaged systems with corrupt or lost data can be high not to mention the downtime encountered when not having an adequate power solution for your equipment.
2) Hardware/Software Issues – Computers these days in the business world have an ideal shelf life of 3-4 years. Most people think that by being able to keep a computer for 5, 6 years or more, they are saving money by not having to purchase new equipment. Nothing can be further from the truth. After a certain amount of time, electronic components will wear out and start to fail. Some components will begin to slow in response time, making the time to complete tasks longer, or some may even cause your system to hang or crash entirely, costing you time and productivity. The same can be said for software, as over the years, companies make improvements in their software to better manage data, or respond with quicker access. By holding onto older software your system falls behind in technology. If left long enough, you may not be able to benefit from the advancements made by the companies and their software, if you haven’t kept up with version currency.
All of this may result in increased maintenance or support costs, so you are not really saving in the long run.
And the number 1 IT mistake to avoid is:
1) Insufficient Technical Support – Companies commonly make a mistake when it comes to adequate technical support for their organization. There are companies that will run their technology without the benefit of any support personnel, and sometimes it’s a relative, who has “dabbled” in computers, who becomes the resident “IT expert” to take your IT related issues to. Others companies look to the person who spends the most time on a computer to resolve their computer woes and this usually resolves nothing. The hardware manufacturer’s support lines will make a best ditch effort to resolve issues but their main mandate is-uninstall and reinstall the software, to get you off the phone so they can move to the next client. Dealing with a technician working at an electronics store? Well you may never get the same repair technician twice and you may be dealing with an inexperienced “professional”.
At Mantralogix, we can help you with your technical needs and give you advice you can take to the bank. If something you read struck your fancy and you would like to know more, give our team a call at 1-866-320-8922 and we would be pleased to speak with you about how to avoid IT mistakes that will cost you more in the long term and leave your business at risk.
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