Small-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) account for over 99% of companies in Canada. While SMBs might be the engine of the economy, they face numerous obstacles to staying afloat, let alone being successful. One of the biggest challenges is technology. Multiple systems, solutions and tools are necessary to help propel the organization forward, reduce costs and minimize risk. However, navigating, managing and maintaining these technologies is a massive undertaking for most SMBs.
The first step to successful digital transformation is understanding SMBs’ most common technology challenges. In this blog, we’ll outline some of the most frequent SMB technology challenges and how working with a managed service provider (MSP) can help overcome them.
Several expenses, including hiring internal IT staff, adopting new solutions or upgrading outdated hardware, can be overwhelming for SMBs, especially as they lack the resources and sizeable budgets of larger enterprises.
For example, Canada’s average IT salary is about $70,000. That doesn’t include benefits, training, bonuses, or other employee-related expenses. It also doesn’t assume the individual has all the necessary skills to support your needs.
Solution: Working with an MSP will not only help you eliminate the cost of maintaining an internal IT team, but many MSPs work for a fixed monthly fee, enabling you to keep IT costs within your budget. Not to mention, up-to-date, secure and efficient IT systems and technology solutions will help save costs by improving security, compliance, customer experiences and employee productivity.
There is a general shortage of skilled workers across the globe. This talent shortage is a primary adoption barrier to emerging tech and a threat to business growth. As a result, competition for skilled IT workers is fiercer than ever, with no end in sight. Unfortunately, because of SMBs’ budget constraints, they cannot offer the same compensation as larger enterprises, making it increasingly difficult to attract and retain new talent.
Solution: An MSP removes the costly burden of attracting, training and retaining an in-house IT team. Not to mention, the resources and expertise of an MSP team are far greater than that of an in-house IT staff.
A huge SMB technology challenge is security. SMBs are prime targets for cybercriminals because they typically lack the security needed to protect their network and data from attacks. According to CyberSecurity Magazine, 61% of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have experienced at least one cyber attack within the last year. The challenge is that mitigating cybersecurity risk is a full-time job for an IT professional, even a team. However, it is often not feasible for SMBs to employ a full-time person(s) to manage potential threats.
MSPs have the security expertise and resources to proactively monitor and maintain your security risk posture, identify vulnerabilities, and stop potential threats in their tracks.
Just like Sales, Marketing and Engineering, IT requires planning to be successful. However, since 52% of SMBs don’t have any IT security experts on staff, building a proper IT roadmap is challenging. Without strategic IT planning, companies may make quick and reactionary hardware, software, and security decisions, which can drain already low budgets.
Solution: MSPs will create a long-term strategic plan alongside a prioritized roadmap with actionable next steps that reflect and complement your organization’s business objectives, help you remain agile, and take advantage of emerging technologies.
The global shift to a hybrid work environment post-pandemic has forced SMBs to adopt a modern workplace that ensures employees can securely work from anywhere and on any device. Fifty-four percent of Canadian employers are adopting a hybrid working arrangement. However, security, remote IT support, and unreliable networks remain significant technology challenges in managing remote workers.
Solution: MSPs will help you implement a modern workplace solution focused on driving productivity and a seamless end-user experience while at the same time ensuring adequate security controls to protect your applications and data.
Staying up-to-date on the newest technologies is key to staying competitive. However, knowing which solution is best and whether it integrates with current systems can be challenging – especially for SMBs with inexperienced or no IT staff. In addition, hardware or software upgrades and new technology implementations take time and may not always go as planned. This can result in system disruptions or downtime and can increase security risks.
Solution: MSPs are experts in the latest security, cloud, network and modern workplace technologies. They will assess your organization across multiple areas, including data, devices, applications and infrastructure and determine the tools and technologies needed to design, activate, and optimize your digital organization to ensure you are maximizing its performance.
Embracing digital transformation is critical for SMBs to optimize costs, productivity, business agility and customer experience. An MSP will help implement, monitor and manage technologies that meet your organizational goals, help you remain competitive and create an efficient and productive work environment for your employees.