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Best Practices for Building an IT Team in Small and Midsize Organizations: New Research Study

Jeff Loeb

This is the second of a two-part series that summarizes the results of a market research conducted by Wakefield Research on IT Trends in small and midsize businesses.  The first blog post in the series focused on IT’s Increasingly Critical Role in Small and Midsize Organizations.  

Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) know that IT matters – 93% consider IT to be business-critical.   But here’s the dilemma.  SMB’s face most of the same technology challenges as large organizations, but don’t have anywhere near the same IT resources.  This leads to a significant IT skills gap.  Finding qualified personnel that can manage regulatory compliance requirements, maintain data security, leverage the cloud, support end users, keep critical applications and infrastructure up and running is a real challenge for SMBs. How does the average small to midsize business handle this situation? What are the options for SMBs to successfully manage all aspects of their IT environments?  

Well, Logically commissioned the market research firm Wakefield Research to answer these questions. Wakefield Research surveyed 250 business decision makers (BDMs) and owners of companies with annual revenue between $5 million and $50 million. The first post in this series covered IT’s Critical Role in Business and how IT Complexity is Straining Small and Midsized Businesses. This post will focus on the difficulties and best practices for closing the IT skills gap in order to reduce downtime, improve information security and increase productivity.   

The critical shortage of uniquely skilled professionals in the labor pool only magnifies the challenge of building maintaining an IT team. Business decision makers (BDMs) are aware of problems managing their IT infrastructure and recognize the need for improved IT capabilities. For example, nearly half of BDMs agree their company does not have people with the right skills to get where they want to be in cloud adoption.  

The lack of expertise in specialized IT areas often is a major problem. Here are a few statistics on how businesses are experiencing the IT the skills gap: 

  • Nearly half of BDMs (45%) agree their company does not have people with the right skills to get to where they want to be in cloud adoption.  

  • 59% of SMBs report difficulty retaining IT staff 

  • 57% have difficult recruiting and hiring staff 

  • 46% don’t have enough time for strategic focus due to day-to-day firefighting. 

It’s important to understand what options are available to address these challenges. As the skills gap continues to expand, many companies are looking at emerging options that can increase capabilities and save money. According to the study, companies are already exploring ways to meet the challenges of emerging technology—a third of companies (33%) are now outsourcing some of their IT responsibilities, while another 40% are planning to do so in the future.  The study identified the top benefits organizations get from improving their IT capabilities: 

  • Improved data security – 58% 

  • Reduced downtime – 57% 

  • Lowered operational costs – 52% 

  • Enhanced productivity and collaboration – 52% 

  • Better quality customer experiences – 52% 

For most business decision makers, it’s extremely difficult to not only recruit new IT personnel but also to retain IT staff. The risk is too high to not have an IT solution that reliably meets the needs of your organization. BDMs are looking outside their organization for the right people and strategic guidance to take their company to the next level. Check out our research study conducted by Wakefield to learn more about the key IT trends impacting small and midsize businesses.