A Smarter Small Business: Think About IT
Posted by Erica Bell on June 27, 2013 in Business Software, Business Technology [ 0 Comments ]
Small business owners often have a lot on their plates. From managing expenses and payroll to marketing and business development strategies, day-to-day activities can be draining. Unless you’re running an IT services business, chances are you struggle to maintain the technology your business currently uses. You may even be holding back with technological advancements that could benefit your business due to a lack of time or expertise. Here are 5 areas of your business’s technology you should consider outsourcing to save time, money and your sanity.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), or outsourcing equipment such as hardware and servers, can help your business save. Creating an infrastructure and maintaining it requires both a monetary and a manpower investment from your business. Because an infrastructure service provider is responsible for owning, running and troubleshooting the systems, your business releases a majority of the responsibility it would have if the system were in-house. Pricing can vary, but users often pay on a per-use or subscription basis.
2. Cloud Hosting
Cloud computing is becoming more popular among small businesses. With cloud hosting services, you’ll have accessibility to the information you need from anywhere. Cloud hosting can help your business stay competitive and current. Cloud-based systems can pose a security risk, but with outsourcing your business can reduce that risk. Just make sure the provider you go with has a data backup and recovery plan before you sign on.
3. CRM Software
Businesses are successful when their customers are happy. The right CRM software can help you manage customer relationships more effectively and allows your sales and customer support team to easily add the human, personalized element. To help your business learn about customers and develop stronger relationships, look for a CRM system that’s easy-to-use and provides insightful data in the behaviors of your customers. Some CRM solutions even help your sales team manage incoming leads.
4. Web Design
Your website design could be the difference in whether or not someone becomes a visitor. Consumers expect businesses they buy from to be online. Don’t drop the ball when it comes to running a successful site. The navigation, mobile optimization and branding are all things to keep in mind. Often times, you can find a great designer who offers their services at a low-cost and you don’t have to worry about sacrificing quality. Outsourcing your site design and functionality to a third-party successfully can help your small business build a reputable online brand as you provide users with a great experience.
5. Cyber Security
The security of customer and business information should be a top priority. Don’t let your small business fall victim to a cyber-attack. The volume of attacks against SMBs increased threefold, compared with 2011 resulting in its percentage almost doubling from 18% to 31%. Cyber-security experts can help your business mitigate threats. Although many IT service providers offer tight security measures, if your business has especially sensitive data online or on your desktop, make sure you have the extra layers of protection your business and information needs. Cyber-security specialists can help prevent data theft and offer solutions when security issues arise.
While these are only a few of the tasks and services your business can outsource, you should consider outsourcing when a business process or necessity falls outside your expertise. Have a clear vision of what you’re looking for and what your budget restrictions are before you speak with a sales representative. Knowing these two things can help streamline the research process and aid you in the process of determining which provider is the best fit for your business.
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