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Technology has revolutionized the world of business. It’s now easier for companies to expand globally, recruit internationally, store and manage data, and do a host of other things cost-effectively and with just a few clicks of the mouse.
Large corporations are leading the digitization charge, but small and medium-sized businesses aren’t too far behind. However, while big companies have the money to access the best technology and build state-of-the-art IT departments, SMBs, with their limited budgets, often run into various IT problems as they strive to catch up.
In this article, our focus is on some of the common IT issues SMBs face, and what you can do to solve them.
1. Shortage of Tech Talent
A tech system is only as good as the users. You can invest in the best hardware and software, but if your employees don’t know how to put it to use, your investment won’t deliver any tangible returns.
Building an IT team to deploy, operate, and maintain your IT infrastructure is key to the success of your digitization efforts. Unfortunately, assembling the best tech talent for your organization is one of the common challenges SMBs are running into.
The current tech talent shortage is primarily driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the great resignation that followed it. In a 2023 tech talent gap Deloitte survey, 90 percent of industry technology leaders said recruiting and retaining tech talent remains a major challenge even as the coronavirus pandemic becomes a distant memory.
To make matters worse, SMBs often struggle to compete in a labor market, even when the labor market is thriving. The big companies can lure the best tech talent with lucrative compensation benefits.
Are you going to blow your labor budget to compete with the large corporations? This is a risk most SMBs aren’t willing to take. They’d rather settle with cheaper, less-experienced tech workers and train them on the job, which comes with additional costs.
Parting Ways with Legacy IT Infrastructure
If it’s working, don’t fix it — so goes the adage.
Well, it appears that’s the working principle behind most of the people who run SMBs — at least as far as technology transformation is concerned. Roughly 60 to 70% of businesses in the U.S. are still using legacy technology in their operations. The extent to which these legacy systems are being applied varies from business to business, but the average stands at 31%.
Legacy technology might be getting the job done, but at what cost?
It’s holding back your organization from achieving greater operational efficiency at a lower cost. It’s also increasing your risk for cyberattacks.
This begs the question: why aren’t more SMBs moving away from legacy IT infrastructure?
Cost is one of the biggest reasons. Upgrading your tech systems comes at a steep cost. From buying new computers, software applications, and other essential items of an IT infrastructure, you could spend millions of dollars, largely depending on the size of your organization.
Faced with a huge bill, SMB owners have no choice but to keep using legacy systems. The best they can do is start upgrading in phases, which takes time and can even turn out to be more costly than upgrading at once.
The biggest downside of digitization is it makes an organization a target for cyberattacks. Hackers are on the loose, and they’re looking for vulnerable systems to breach and steal valuable data.
SMBs are particularly at a greater risk because hackers know that they’re using legacy systems or don’t have strong defense systems. A single data breach can cause a $4.5 million loss. This is why over half of small businesses that are hacked go out of business within six months.
As a small business, you might be wondering why any hacker would be interested in your business. Perhaps you don’t even have a website. As a result, you’re more likely to ignore putting up adequate cybersecurity measures to protect your business.
Unfortunately, such business owners get a rude awakening once they’re hit with a data breach. Suddenly, you can’t log into your systems and your data is corrupted. If it’s an ransom attack, the hackers will be demanding you to make a huge payment or risk losing the data.
You have no choice but to invest in cybersecurity, whether you’re using legacy or new-age tech. Use firewalls and strong passwords, train your employees to raise their cybersecurity awareness, and build an in-house cyber defense team.
Another strategy is to outsource cybersecurity to a managed IT service provider. Start by searching “managed IT services near me” to find providers in your location.
Rapid Tech Advancements
These days, it seems like they’re a new tech innovation hitting the market. Just as we were settling in with smart digital assistants like Siri and Cortana, AI-powered systems like Chat GPT-4 are here, and they’re taking over.
As a business owner, it can feel like there’s always a newer, more advanced technology solution to every problem your business faces. It’s true that the world of technology moves quickly, and what was life-changing yesterday can become outdated by tomorrow.
The never-ending need to upgrade to the latest tech hardware or software can be a big IT problem if you don’t know how to handle it. The solution is to be confident in your current systems, as long as they aren’t legacy tech.
Eventually, you’ll need to upgrade to keep your business competitive, but these upgrades shouldn’t be happening every other year. A 5-year upgrade cycle is decent enough to keep your business operating at the edge of new technology.
Don’t Let IT Problems Bog Down Your Business
The benefits of business digitization are well-documented. Unless you want your business to be uncompetitive, you have no choice but to embrace technology.
Unfortunately, digitization comes with a raft of IT problems. From finding the best tech talent to operate your systems to financing costly upgrades from legacy systems, there are many IT challenges SMBs must overcome. The good news is there are practical solutions to these problems and any business, small or large, can implement them.
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This article is published by NYTech in collaboration with Syndication Cloud.