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Posted by Marketing | April 24, 2018

The hidden IT costs that could be draining your business

4-24-18 blog post

We get it—running a business can be hard. Sometimes it’s all you can do to keep your head above water, and if that means reducing IT spending, so be it.

However, before you start completely slashing business IT support, it’s important to consider the long-term consequences for your bottom line. Specifically, without convenient and effective ways to solve IT problems, employees will resort to whatever means they have. That often means diagnosing issues themselves, which will impact productivity and may even jeopardize the security and reliability of your IT systems and data.

The hit to employee morale and customer confidence may also be difficult to weather. Combined, these elements can siphon earnings out of company coffers, meaning your revenue takes the ultimate hit.

Sinking productivity

An hour of downtime costs the average large business over $100,000—and if you think those costs are hard to swallow, imagine how your employees feel. After all, no one understands the impact of network outages more intimately than they do. With so many applications and services hosted online, it’s virtually impossible to work without robust networks and systems.

But the costs of declining productivity can be even more insidious. For instance, without access to an on-call business IT support team, your team members may feel more inclined to personally troubleshoot IT repairs, especially if they would be required to get approval before engaging an IT services provider. From their perspective, it’s a lot more convenient to diagnose and address issues themselves.

However, this approach is less than desirable. First of all, it diverts time from other projects, hence the productivity decrease. Second, there’s no way to know if your non-IT-specialist employees actually know what they’re doing. Things could turn out OK, but much like handing them a wrench and asking them to fix your car, that’s not what you hired them for. Faced with the task of fixing a computer issue or a network problem, they might have you up and running after a little tinkering… or they might wire your horn to your brake pedal!

Another issue that frequently pops up is time spent on hold. When there’s no business IT support number to call, employees will often call product manufacturers directly. They’ll spend hours on hold, only to be told that the only way to fix the issue is with a complete reinstallation—and that means sacrificing important business data.

All in all, employees say they waste 22 minutes every day dealing with tech issues, adding up to around 91 hours a year per employee. Multiply that by $26.82—the average hourly wage in 2018—and you have an annual loss of around $2,440.62 for every team member on your payroll. That’s some dangerous math.

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Ebbing morale

Anyone who’s used a computer knows that dealing with a sluggish OS or application is one of the most frustrating experiences known to modern man. If your employees are frequently battling against slow systems, networks and equipment, the resulting drain can understandably sap morale.

By some estimates, the average employee spends as many as 167 hours a year waiting on tech. That’s over four work weeks lost in limbo while files transfer, pages load and applications open. Employees don’t want to sit there tapping their fingers while their screen unfreezes. In addition to this being annoying, it’s disheartening to feel like they can’t get work done when an important deadline is looming.

By not updating outdated computers and systems, you’re sending a pretty clear message about how much you value your employees’ contributions, whether you mean to or not—and it’s a message that employees take to heart. Aging tech may not be the sole factor behind an employee’s decision to quit, but it can certainly push them over the edge. And we probably don’t have to tell you how high turnover rates affect your bottom line.

Evaporating customer confidence

It’s not just employees who suffer when systems go down. Customers and clients feel the results as well, and their confidence may be even harder to regain. After all, your customers likely have more than one option to choose from, so if you rely on outdated equipment and systems, you could be giving your more technically minded competitors the edge.

Keep in mind that it may take years before you feel the real impact of slashing your IT budget, but if outdated systems lead to a data breach or other event, the effect could be much swifter. In fact, cybercriminal events cost the average business over $21 million in 2017, much of which resulted from legal fees, PR campaigns and the cost of engaging IT services providers in an emergency capacity to mitigate the damage.

What’s more, a highly publicized leak or data breach will likely erode public trust, which is very difficult to recover from. This is particularly true of small and medium-sized businesses, 60% of which pay the ultimate price for lax security controls by shuttering altogether after a hack.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. By prioritizing IT—and particularly business IT support—in your budget, you can significantly mitigate the long-term effects of poor technical performance. A dedicated IT services provider will not only offer advice for improving your IT systems but also help prioritize your company’s technical roadmap to create predictable, affordable IT budgets. If you’re ready to rise above yesterday’s technology issues, contact us today for more information.

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