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Stressing over your IT costs?

(This is the third blog in the blog series, “What Keeps C-Level Execs Up at Night,” from Jeanette Prenger, president and CEO of ECCO Select)

The challenge of keeping up with technology is never more apparent than with the rapid release of new smartphones. I get to congratulate myself for maybe a moment or two on having the latest and greatest before I’m bombarded with enticements to upgrade to the newest version that has even more bells and whistles.

It’s exhausting.

Yet, as any business owner or CEO knows, keeping up with tech is essential in today’s world. Your IT systems and processes are crucial pieces of your company’s foundation. The problem is many companies can’t always afford to maintain a full IT department to help them stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving technologies and maintain their current standards.

We’ve all seen examples of business leaders who didn’t take a proactive approach to their IT needs and suffered the consequences. A good friend of mine worked for a large nonprofit here in town when the organization’s entire email server and the server hosting their CRM system went down (with no backup system)—for six weeks before their largest fund-raising event of the year. It turns out the in-house IT person had been holding everything together with string and duct tape for years, and the whole system finally spiraled apart.

Failure of a crucial aspect of your IT infrastructure can mean more than just lost productivity for your people; it can mean the loss of crucial data that could cripple your business—possibly for good. No one wants to experience this kind of damage, but for nearly every business, the investment they make in their IT services is limited by one thing: cost. So, what’s the solution?

Help is out there

The “cloud” is now part of our vernacular, but are you taking advantage of what it has to offer? Many companies may see only the upfront cost of purchasing software but forget to factor in the additional costs of ownership, such as support, hardware and other internal expenses. In fact, the IT Budget Report from Gartner shows that health care companies, for just one example, spend close to 75 percent of the IT budget on internal system maintenance.

If this is something you’re struggling with, it might be time to move to the cloud. Many cloud services can reduce your expenses by allowing you to only pay for the usage you need. Plus, you’ll enjoy a greater reliability and automatic updates—two issues I’m sure you’d be glad to hand off.

Writer Zach Lanich elaborates in Forbes:

“Most business owners know that spreading the cost of large purchases out over time is more beneficial in the long run since a budget can be spent appropriately on marketing and other needs for company growth. Cloud services operate on a subscription model, where your cost is based on usage over time, preventing you from spending all of your budget at once.”

Of course, you still need to maintain certain systems internally – the cloud can’t do it all for you – but do you need multiple FTEs for that? With the rise of more and more subscription-based software and outsourced help desk services, your business may only need one person 20 hours a month to maintain your systems and configure them as your business evolves.

An outsourced IT partner can actually bring with it a variety of benefits, including a reduction in your labor costs, an increase in efficiency and competitiveness, and the ability to quickly implement new technology. And for small businesses, an outsourced partner allows you to level the technology playing field in your favor by giving you access to the same types of technology the big guys are using.

Finally, unless you have a background in IT, hiring the qualified IT experts you need is often a gamble—and possibly an expensive one. With an outsourced partner, you can trust that the IT professionals serving you are trained and experienced, possessing not only the necessary certifications but also the overall qualifications you need to fit your business and culture.

Whether we like it or not, the rules are changing, and technology is running full steam ahead. Make sure your business is staying agile and proactive so you don’t get left behind.

This is the third blog in the series, “What Keeps C-Level Execs Up at Night,” from Jeanette Hernandez Prenger, president and CEO of ECCO Select, a talent acquisition + advisory consulting company, specializing in people, process and technology solutions for our clients. ECCO’s experienced advisory consultants can help your organization with a variety of business challenges, many of which are caused by the rapid pace of technology. Let us know your thoughts on Facebook or on Twitter @ECCOSelectCORP.