Why Your Pimple-Faced Nephew Cannot be Your IT Person

Joe Reithmeier April 3, 2015

Here are the top five valuable services your company is missing out on by having one “IT guy” handle all of your technology needs.

“My nephew is really good with computers. He can take care of our IT.”

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

When small businesses look for areas where they can cut costs or save money, one of the temptations is to hire one person—who may not even be a full-time employee—as the “IT guy” to troubleshoot any computer technology issues. Oftentimes, this individual is not a seasoned IT professional but a family member or acquaintance who is “good with computers.”

While your pimple-faced nephew may be able to help your company in some way, if he is your sole means of IT service and support, your business is definitely putting itself in a precarious situation. Let’s take a look at some valuable services your company is missing out on by not leaving your information technology management to the experts:

1. Expertise

Your nephew may be great at setting up home computers for you and the family, but does he have experience working with businesses? Business networks, even small ones, are much more complex than many people realize. Your network is much more advanced than what the average amateur is used to working with, and you probably have reliability requirements more strict than an average home computer. You wouldn’t allow an employee with insufficient training to work in your area of expertise yet that’s exactly what your nephew would be doing with your network in this case.

2. Proactive Services

Proactive monitoring and services are a valuable component of IT support. Unless you’re one IT person has mastered the ability to manipulate time, odds are he or she will spend most of his or her working hours reacting to issues as they arise. The biggest problem with that is the potential downtime it can cause for your business.

If you are working with an IT managed services provider (MSP) or employ a dedicated team of IT experts, they will be able to constantly monitor your IT environment to catch issues before they happen. So instead of trying to fix issues after they already bring your business to a halt, they will perform preventative maintenance and maintain proper backups to ensure your business can stay afloat even if a disaster occurs.  Your pimple-faced nephew may command a lower salary, but how much will you be paying in the long run when you are faced with extended downtime?

3. Cost Certainty

Speaking of costs, while hiring your nephew will result in an immediate cost-savings what exactly does it do for budget forecasting and cost certainty? Not a whole a lot… unless he is clairvoyant. A major issue of the one “IT guy” system is the inability to predict IT costs. Information Technology is an ever-evolving field, and a piece of hardware or software that works great for you today may need to be upgraded or replaced unexpectedly tomorrow.

If you have an IT MSP or staff of experts who can monitor your IT systems and predict well in advance items that need to be replaced, it will allow you to plan ahead to fit these upgrades in your budget.  Many IT MSP’s also offer fixed-cost monthly plans to cover all of your support needs, which provides a clearer picture of your IT budget.

4. Expert Consultation

Your pimple-faced nephew may have been building his own desktop computer by the time he was nine, but how much does he know about your industry and marketplace? Rather than viewing information technology as a necessary cost in order to maintain your business operations, you should view it as an investment that aligns with your overall business goals. Each business has its unique set of needs, but there is a way for everyone to leverage technology to stimulate business growth.

This is where expert business technology consultation can provide added value to your business. Seek the knowledge of IT experts who have experience in your industry. Find an individual or an IT provider who has helped companies like yours implement successful IT strategies. Your nephew may be able to fix a computer after something breaks, but a business technology expert can recommended technology solutions to increase the efficiency of your business processes and create a more productive workplace.

5. Backups… We’re not just talking data here

Backing up your business critical data is obviously important, but what about backing up your personnel? Let’s say your pimple-faced nephew finally gets the girl of his dreams to agree to a date, and during their date, your network goes down unexpectedly. Do really you think he’s going to run out on her to go help you? A reliance on one person to manage your IT is problematic because of unplanned or extended absences. Not having backup or extra personnel to help your IT person could also leave him or her overextended.

Working with a team or an IT MSP means there are multiple individuals who are familiar with your IT infrastructure. You are able to get expert advice from different perspectives, and if your primary IT consultant needs to take an unplanned leave of absence, others will be ready to step in and fill his or her shoes. If extra hands are needed for a project or an emergency support issue, you will want to make sure you have sufficient resources available for your businesses.

We’re sure your pimple-faced nephew is a great and smart guy, but unless he has real-world business experience and has mastered the science of human cloning, you want to leave your IT support to the experts.

What are some of the challenges your business has faced in IT support? What do you wish your “IT guy” could have done better? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about how you can leverage computer technology to help run your business better, contact us today to speak to an experienced IT adviser.

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