Dragging Their Heels: Understanding SMB Perspectives on IT
Small and medium businesses (SMBs) are often content to admit that their day-to-day IT infrastructure is ‘good enough’.
They may not have the fastest WiFi, the most up-to-date PCs, or the latest supported version of Windows; but they have what they *think* they need in order to operate day-to-day.
Why? Because they don’t know any better. Either that or they’re reluctant to undertake what they think will cause massive IT disruption – something they assume will also come at great expense. And, of course, because many companies of this size don’t actually have in-house IT experts.
Compounded by the fact that most SMBs have industry-specific apps and APIs that they use to conduct a large part of their business operations, and it quickly becomes clear why so few actively look to change up their IT stack.
However, like an iceberg, the main problem lies beneath the service. SMBs are often compromising their productivity and security by making do with a mix of different pieces of software – the kind that can become quickly incompatible or obsolete.
While what they have right now seems to work OK; in the next few years they’ll quickly discover that the ongoing demands of teams and clients will become even more sophisticated.
Tools That Are Fit For Purpose
For example, if they have plans to offer employees more flexibility – through initiatives like remote working and BYOD (bring your own device) – they’ll need to ensure that both data and device security are prioritised.
Equally, to maintain a productive environment when employees are distributed, companies need to explore different ways of ensuring they can stay in constant contact with each other – through messaging apps and collaborative tools.
Companies that don’t begin looking at viable, safe, and trusted ways of providing the business-critical tools employees need to thrive, could find themselves vulnerable – to immediate competitors and to larger companies able to provide employees with the modern workplace and mobility tools they need to do their jobs.
What You Can Do To Help
As a Microsoft Partner, you have both the experience and expertise to advise SMBs on the best ways of meeting these ongoing IT challenges. While as an IT professional, you may have a tendency to go straight for the technical jargon, it’s just as important to fully understand your clients’ business needs – and to focus on the overall benefits of the solutions you’re offering.
For example, tools like Microsoft Teams and OneDrive are ideal for businesses that want to offer remote working to their employees without sacrificing real time collaboration; while software like Secure Score allow you to constantly monitor their overall security risk.
If in doubt, always start with the customer. That way you have a greater opportunity to earn their trust. And if you’re able to provide robust software as well as the right advice, there’s every chance you’ll be able to continue SMB clients them as they grow.