Small businesses lose USD 24 bn in productivity

New Delhi, Apr 24 : Small businesses lose more than USD 24 billion in productivity every year when non-technical employees, referred to as involuntary IT managers (IITMs), are tasked with managing their company's IT solutions. This loss is a direct result of the IITMs taking time away from their primary business activities, according to an AMI-Partners small-business study commissioned by Microsoft Corp. The Involuntary IT Manager study takes a broad look at the prevalence of the IITM's role in nine countries in North America, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, focusing specifically on the adverse business productivity impact of IITMs in small business in the following five countries: Australia, Brazil, Chile, India and the United States.

Surveying 538 IITMs across nationally representative samples of small businesses with 100 employees or less in the five countries, the AMI-Partners research study determined that approximately 3.8-million small businesses managed internal IT by IITMs.

Although such small businesses spent USD 83 billion on IT and communications, paradoxically they lost USD 24 billion in productivity trying to manage their internal IT.

The survey also found that small businesses' IITMs think cloud-based solutions can help alleviate some of the burdens of managing IT.

The Drawbacks of Having an IITM

On average, IITMs lose six hours per week (around 300 hours per year) of business productivity while managing IT, according to AMI-Partners.

The white paper stated that while some IITMs are confident in their technical skills, most find that their general work productivity suffers when their work time is diverted to managing IT issues.

Key study findings include:

30pc of all surveyed IITMs feel that IT management is a nuisance, 26pc indicated they do not feel qualified to manage IT.

6 in 10 IITMs want to simplify their company's technology solutions to alleviate the difficulty of managing day-to-day IT.

Communication, collaboration, and cloud solutions are top of mind among nearly 40pc of IITMs looking to leverage technology for business growth.

In India, the findings are as follows:

Small businesses in India lost USD 2.67 billion in productivity, while spending USD 6.67 billion on IT/Telecom.

IITMs in India lose 7.6 hours of productivity per week managing IT - this was the highest productivity loss of all countries surveyed.

"Many small businesses don't have the budget for formal IT support, so they rely on the company's most tech-savvy individual to manage their technology," stated Andy Bose, Founder, Chairman and CEO at AMI-Partners.

"As our research shows, relying on an Involuntary IT Manager can have an adverse impact on small businesses' productivity, which can negatively affect revenue and translates into a very high opportunity cost. These companies can potentially leverage cloud services to alleviate the need for day-to-day in-house IT support with positive impact on their business productivity."

"The cloud, when delivered right, is a game-changer, providing small businesses with the IT solutions they need to solve their most challenging small-business technology concerns," said Meetul B. Patel, General Manager - SMS and P India, Microsoft.

"With Microsoft cloud solutions, the job of the Involuntary IT Manager gets a lot easier."

Small-business Cloud Adoption

AMI-Partners found that IITMs are interested in leveraging the cloud in the next 12 months to manage their IT needs.

Among the IITMs surveyed in the five countries, the following was learned:

31pc (approximately one-third) are likely to shift more IT spending toward hosted or cloud solutions.

36pc are interested in a productivity and collaboration suite.

In India, the findings are as follows:

25pc of small businesses are likely to shift more IT spending toward hosted or cloud solutions.

39pc of the small businesses are interested in purchasing online productivity suites on a per-user, per-month basis.

Microsoft democratizes IT for small businesses by providing enterprise-class solutions that level the IT playing field for small businesses.

Office 365, Windows Intune, Windows Azure and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online are Microsoft's most complete cloud services to date.

They provide small businesses with access to powerful applications from anywhere and on multiple devices with both privacy and security features built into each solution.

--IBNS (Posted on 24-04-2013)

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