Firms can banish their IT woes

Technical problems like slow computers and e-mail downtime are causing headaches for small business owners – both in terms of time and money.

Fortunately help is at hand through BT, the telecoms provider, and Business Link, the government-backed advisory for small firms.

A sample of 1,000 different businesses, most of which employed a workforce, taken by BT found that more than one third currently suffer an IT problem everyday.

When added to the 66 per cent of businesses hit by IT problems every week, the findings suggest enterprise owners spend over 20 hours each month trying to find a fix.

Not only do IT glitches drag productivity, but on average they cost each company about £5,000 a year to put right, BT said this week.

The sum is extra to the cost of hiring personnel to provide IT support – a facility that almost seven out of ten of the responding companies said they enjoy.

But the mounting cost and time devoted to fixing IT problems may convince businesses to look beyond their in-house team for solutions.

“In today’s business world, small businesses depend on reliable IT infrastructure and systems to compete and thrive, whether it is communicating with clients, managing suppliers or delivering services for customers, “ BT said.

“The always-on demand for e-mail, the internet, computer applications, and critical areas such as managing customer data and thinking about business continuity can become extremely costly when IT problems arise.”

Cue BT Business IT Manager - a nationwide service for small to mid-sized firms that offers them “the equivalent of their own IT manager at a fraction of the cost of employing one,” BT said.

Users ‘pick and mix’ from a range of assistance, like advice over-the-phone, remotely running software applications and updates, installing PCs or networks or advice on a more complex long-term solution.

“There is even an option to proactively monitor a company’s network to spot potential for danger and prevent problems from occurring,” BT explained.

The company’s IT service comes on the back of a new tool from Business Link, which ensures individuals spend wisely on their IT needs, before problems occur.

By taking a short online survey, visitors to the Business Link website can get recommendations on the hardware, network and internet systems that best suits their needs.

The impartial service neatly sidesteps naming any brands, and concentrates more on the specifications that individuals appear to need, based on the input they submit in their surveys.

The free tool is being used by some entrepreneurs who wish to get clued up on ICT before they speak to suppliers or vendors keen on selling them a solution.


31st May 2007

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