SMEs lose $24b annually to involuntary IT management

Small businesses are losing $24 billion and 300 hours annually in business productivity to involuntary IT management, according to a new survey conducted by Microsoft and AMI Partners.

The findings were drawn from a survey of 538 small businesses across Australia, Brazil, Chile, India and the United States, which examined the impact of non-IT professionals managing technology in small businesses.

The survey found that approximately 3.8 million businesses used non-IT employees to manage internal IT processes, costing billions of dollars in lost productivity. At the same time, such businesses also spent US$83 billion on IT and communications.
While firms globally indicated a proportion of involuntary IT managers were confident in their technical skills, 30 per cent felt that IT management was a "nuisance" and 26 per cent felt they were not qualified to manage IT. Moreover, six in 10 indicated a desire to simplify their company's technology solutions to allay the difficulty of day-to-day IT management.

According to CEO of AMI Partners, Andy Bose, these results stem from a lack of funds for formal IT support.

"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. Relying on an involuntary IT manager can have an adverse impact on small business productivity, which can negatively affect revenue and translates into a very high opportunity cost."

Small businesses can alleviate the burden on their involuntary IT managers by using cloud computing  or outsourcing their IT requirements.

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