The Problem of the Single “IT Guy” Approach

September 13, 2013 6:22 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Information technology is now part of almost every business in the country. Keeping computers and systems up and running is a full time job for many companies. Very early in the growth of the business, owners have to make the decision about the need for an IT department. As a cost saving measure, many choose to have an “IT guy” or outsource this service completely.

Having an IT guy has a few advantages- mostly that you have a dedicated employee ready and available to keep the system healthy. But, when looking at the pros and cons of the IT guy, the cons far outweigh the advantages. First and foremost, the IT guy can only know what he knows. There is a single minded focus to this approach. The depth of his experience dictates what he is capable of doing. If the business continues to grow, it is very possible the IT needs will quickly surpass the IT guy’s skill set. The company then begins to rely on outdated IT solutions and possibly gives up strategic advantages in the marketplace. The outsourced IT staff has a deeper knowledge base and is constantly learning. This keeps the company current and keeps IT as a strategic advantage.

Another problem with the IT guy is quite frankly what it costs to have one. When you look at the average salary of an IT guy, a company can easily pay $70,000 or more a year and add 25% on top of that for benefits for that individual. Obviously, the decision to have an IT guy initially meant that there was enough work to keep him busy, but if there is ever a time when that isn’t the case, the company ends up paying someone handsomely for downtime. Outsourcing IT support quickly removes the need to pay benefits and saves the company thousands of dollars a year in annual salary. Also, outsourced staff is either busy or not present- no downtime to pay for. This helps the company’s bottom line regardless of the economy.

Yet one more problem with having an IT guy around involves a common problem that companies run into. There is a natural bottleneck when “everything” runs through one person. Having a single IT guy means he is the sole proprietor for that company’s data and how it is maintained. There have been many cases when the relationship between the IT guy and the company deteriorates which can place the business in a difficult position. Having a single IT guy can be a liability for a company.

Lastly, when a company decides to use an outsourced IT resource, it is important to know what to look for. Outsourcing to a single individual will save money, but does nothing to maintain the strategic advantage. Using a professional service organization maintains a deeper experience and knowledge base because there are more resources to draw from. This allows for more flexibility and creativity in finding solutions for your business.

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This post was written by James Wright

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