How Can You Build A Better IT Team For Your Business?
Written by Steve Ross
Building a strong small business means hiring the right people - nowhere is this rule more important than in IT: so how do you find the best people for the job?
It's probably fair to say most small business owners understand how important their employees are - matching the right people with the right roles is a basic foundation for success. But, while the business team you assemble may have the skills to succeed in your industry, integrating the complex and constantly-evolving field of IT successfully is a different proposition.
IT offers unprecedented opportunities to small business - to improve efficiency and productivity, and even go up against enterprise competitors. The catch is: to take full advantage of those opportunities, you'll have to find the right IT team.
Build Your Team
Identifying and integrating the best software is an obvious first step when building your IT infrastructure - but just as important is creating an IT team which understands how to use it. There's no blueprint of what your team should look like: depending on your business' size and resources, you may only be able to allocate one person, or perhaps no-one at all, to company IT. You'll have to decide what you need, who you need, and what you can afford to achieve your business goals… Whatever your situation, basic points to consider include:
- Experience and Expertise. Your IT staff should have expertise but should also share your vision for the company. Hiring a manager to oversee your IT infrastructure is a good idea: a single point of contact who can liaise with employees across every level of the company - and can advise you when recruiting for further IT roles.
- Flexibility. Depth of technical knowledge is certainly a useful quality for employees, but your IT team in particular needs to be creative and innovative enough to adapt to the challenges of a changing landscape, and flexible enough to take advantage of emerging new technologies.
- Communication. It's a bit of a cliché, but you'll need to be able to talk to your IT staff - and vice versa. Good communication is essential to integrating IT efficiently with every level of your organisation, not to mention solving problems and serving clients. Make sure your team is comfortable communicating with people inside and outside the company.
Support Your Team
If you want to sustain an effective IT team, you'll need to support it with sufficient resources and budget. Beyond an initial infrastructure outlay - on devices, desktops and servers - you'll need to give your team the tools to ensure it continues to deliver the level of service you and your clients expect.
Updates, upgrades, repairs and other essential IT processes require time and money: your team must be able to carry out these processes with minimal disruption to work and services. As your business grows, chances are your IT network will take on more and more of the heavy lifting... the irony is, of course: the greater the extent you use IT to help your business, the more indispensable it becomes for employees and clients.
Export Your Team
No business likes to spend money on something it doesn’t need… and the beauty of the modern IT landscape is that you don’t have to. If you feel you're not prepared to handle IT demands, outsourcing all or part of your infrastructure is a viable and cost-effective option.
Outsourced IT represents a way to shortcut the potentially difficult process of finding the expert, experienced individuals your infrastructure needs. Instead, you can hire a pre-packaged expert team, offering bespoke services which plug directly into your existing business infrastructure. The greatest advantage of outsourcing is scalability: it allows you to build an IT infrastructure calibrated to your business, paying only for the services you need. Your outsource team can help you handle servers, email, e-commerce, and any other software platforms which serve your business, while also taking care of repairs, maintenance and any upgrade issues.
Outsourcing is a way for small business to unlock the potential of their IT infrastructure - and an opportunity to jump-start their competition in the marketplace. In a crowded commercial field, building a strong, reliable IT team can make a significant difference - both to your own employees, and to clients.
Are you building an IT team? Unsure whether to hire staff or outsource? Contact Shackleton for more information...
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