As a small business owner, I know there is a dichotomy in the small-to-medium business sector; you want to grow the business with minimum risk and maximum return. In addition, you need to give excellent service to existing clients while spending time gaining new ones. And to make matters more complicated, you need to spend money on hardware, software and other technology upgrades in order to remain more competitive in the marketplace.
But it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it might seem and the process of technology choices can be more streamlined.
Here are three facts as they pertain to SMBs:
- It is estimated that Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs) spend $2,000 per employee, per year on IT
- 60% of SMB are already using the cloud
- 54% of all business data losses are due to hardware failures and 14% of those losses are never recovered
Source: Harvard Business Review
If you are behind in any of these areas, don’t fear. Here is some great information to help your organization balance acquisitions within the IT budget and take a hard look at mobile and cloud implementation measures that your organization should be making this year.
Get Your IT Budget in Line
Per a survey of 1,000 SMB owners by Spiceworks, an information technology company, here is the average IT budget allocation percentage by company size:
Less Than 20 Employees
Using the data above, if a company has 100 employees, their total IT budget for the year should be $200,000 – divided up in the following way:
- $78,000 for hardware upgrades
- $60,000 for software
- $40,000 for consulting and
- $22,000 for cloud computing.
So if you don’t have an allocation for consulting and the cloud at this juncture, now is the time to make those investment allocations. And if you are running on 5-year old hardware and software, it is time to upgrade your computers.
Implement a computer rental learning lounge where employees can test drive different hardware and software configurations and vote on the ones they enjoy using. Cash flow an issue? Consider looking at a 6 or 12-month technology leasing option.
Move toward Mobile
A Harris Interactive poll of 500 SMB owners found:
- 75% credited mobile devices as important to the their firms’ future success and
- 66% agreed that mobile units increase the company’s efficiency.
Based on a Bank of the West poll of 504 small business owners, mobile devices are used in the following ways:
- Accepting payments from consumers
- Monitoring their financial accounts
- Expense reporting
- Inventory tracking and
- Payments to suppliers.
Not sure what mobile devices to purchase? Rent an iPad or tablet to find out what works best in your working environment and ask for a 30-day trial of software you are looking to implement.
Invest in the Cloud
According to another survey from Spiceworks of 500 respondents titled “Catching Up to the Cloud”, they found SMB owners are using the cloud for the following:
- 46% are using it for email
- 35% for Productivity Suites such as spreadsheets, word documents and presentations
- 30% for Backup and
- 24% for File Sharing
What is the difference between public, hybrid and private clouds? Public clouds such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud are free, easy to use but not necessarily the most secure. Hybrid clouds allow you to make some documents public while others are completely private to the company. Private clouds are the most secure and require login and passcodes to access. In addition, each employee can only view the files they are authorized to access.
When considering a cloud solution, look at the following five factors:
- Accessibility on any device (web responsive) and from any location
- Ease of Use
- Key Features
- Cost and
- Amount of available storage
In addition, the cloud offers the ability to backup and automatically sync an employee’s work at the end of the day before they shut down their workstation.
“On average, the cost to recover data is approximately $9,000 and 14% of SMB owners are never able to recover lost data due to hardware failures,” stated Deni Connor, Founding Analyst at SSG-NOW, an IT industry analyst firm.
When looking at alternatives, be sure to consider a cloud computing rental option.
Hartford Technology Rental is Your SMB Source
We understand the technology needs of Small to Medium-Sized Businesses. Give us a call at 888.520.5667 to speak to one of our experienced sales representatives about our hardware, mobile and cloud computing rental solutions!