Thursday, September 05 14:57:39
Irish SME's reliance on the "have a go" accidental IT manager not only risks its IT security, it can also alienate staff.
That's according to new research from Microsoft Ireland, which shows that Irish SME's reliance on accidental IT managers, people who find themselves having to manage IT issues but are not qualified (or part of their job) is proving divisive within Irish business.
The research showed that two-thirds of people in small organisations (66pc) in Ireland say they do not have any employees dedicated to manage their IT. In these organisations, the role of IT decision maker is often filled by senior management (this is the case for 74pc of those with no dedicated IT manager.
When an IT issue arises, employees in organisations with no IT manager most commonly seek external help from IT professionals (76pc), or rely on internal specialists - 55pc say they themselves take the lead, and 53pc say another technologically minded staff member does so. They also commonly take measures that consumer IT users might do, such as seeking help from friends (54pc) and searching the internet for possible solutions (48pc).
Overall, a third of those in small organisations are spending three or more hours per week on IT issues - that equates to 156 hours (or 6.5 full days) or more on IT issues per year. A further quarter are spending between 1 and 2 hours per week on IT issues, which equates to 25pc who are spending between around 52 and 104 hours on IT issues per year.
Ironically, three-quarters of those in organisations with no dedicated IT manager agree that IT plays critical role in their organisation's success.
Business owners may believe this saves money, but this short term gain could lead to long term problems within the organisation. The research revealed that 56pc of staff reported being frustrated by Accidental IT Managers and that employees under 35 years are the most likely to be frustrated dealing with the Accidental IT manager.
When it came to solving IT issues in organisations without IT support, 40pc of men and women under the age of 35 years responded they would be happy to occasionally assist, but dislike being asked to help as 20pc felt it interfered with their job.
The most likely Accidental IT Manager is most likely male, over 35 years old, and in senior positions. He is also the one most likely to be asked to help solve IT issues or drafted into being IT support.
"The Accidental IT Manager is a thankless task. There is a big difference between helping out on small IT issues, versus having to manage an IT infrastructure which they are not equipped for," said Martin Cullen Director, Small & Medium Sized & Partner Business, Microsoft Ireland (SMS&P). "Time spent fire fighting means loss of productivity, by not being able to get on with what they do best, innovating and growing their business instead of wasting valuable time on checking updates, licences and other non-productive IT issues. Cloud Services which are updated and supported automatically by Microsoft such as Office 365, CRM Online and Lync take the worry out of investing in and maintaining a costly IT Infrastructure, and enables the focus to be placed on competing and growing their business. Microsoft Cloud Services also level the playing pitch for SMEs giving them enterprise class tools to compete with the bigger competitors, which Accidental IT Managers could undermine."