Small and medium-sized businesses have to get creative to increase their ROI from tech investments.
Spiceworks, an IT advice site, estimated the average yearly IT budget for an SMB to be $108,000. That number might not seem small—until you consider that large enterprises spend about $15,000 on IT per employee, which is equal to a budget of $750,000 per 50 employees. In 2005, for example, Wal-Mart spent $4.5 billion total on IT—or about the same amount as 42,000 SMBs put together.
SMBs can help to overcome this disadvantage by trying out some jerry-rigged or unorthodox techniques, such as the ones suggested in this TechRepublic blog post (“10 ways tech can boost sales for SMBs”). Some of the tips in the blog post are no-brainers: “#5: Get a CRM,” “#10: Use Real Email, not a free email account.” Others are less obvious: “#1: Turn off your spam filters,” “#4: Automatically notify customers of status changes.” These tips contain helpful advice that applies to SMBs in all industries, but they should also inspire SMBs to think of techniques specific to their industry that could further maximize their IT investments.
An additional takeaway from the article: many low-cost tech resources are available for SMBs these days that equal or surpass the quality of the resources available only to billion-dollar enterprises. SMBs can no longer claim that their budget restricts them from installing the same internal IT infrastructure and offering the same level of tech-related services to clients as enterprise-level competitors.
-Like enterprises, they should be able to send status change notifications and provide reference numbers to clients, either manually or with low-cost e-commerce software.
-Like enterprises, they should deploy a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution—with software packages from ZohoCRM, Sugar CRM, and Salesforce.com a fraction of the cost of the mainstream CRM systems from EMC, IBM, and others.
-Skype provides international calling and Web conferencing for free.
-The budget of the average SMB can afford professional-looking websites and company-specific email handles.
Likewise, IronOrbit provides enterprise-level hosting services within the price range of the large majority of SMBs. Essentially, IronOrbit has the software, hardware, and staffing resources of the average enterprise’s IT department—but rather than a single organization we support the operations of thousands of SMBs at once. Our clients receive the same level of performance, network speeds, security, and service as an enterprise. Meanwhile, we take care of the enterprise-grade hassles of purchasing, integrating, managing, and repairing the IT infrastructure, while providing 24x7x365 support.
IronOrbit has 15 years’ experience supporting the operations of SMBs. We understand your unique needs, requirements, and concerns. Don’t let your budget limit your IT ambitions!