In yesterday’s small business, IT consulting was a largely technology-facing job. IT consulting services concentrated on maintaining hardware and software. Their role was preservative and largely behind-the-scenes, as evidenced by the stereotype of IT offices being isolated in basements. Saturday Night Live even lambasted the isolated, socially awkward IT persona by inventing Nick Burns, the rudest IT employee ever. But these days, small business IT consulting is evolving beyond these roles and influencing many different departments within an organization.
Indeed, many business leaders and IT consulting services now see IT as a driver of innovation, customer service and even sales and marketing success. A recent Zoomerang survey found that IT staffers are involved in day-to-day operations at 79 percent of SMBs. Moreover, when interviewers asked the 525 SMB decision-makers included in this survey how IT had shifted in the past year, 30 percent of respondents answered that IT’s role has moved away from the sidelines and toward daily involvement in operations. Finally, 15 percent of these SMB leaders reported that in-house IT workers are now more involved in business development and sales.
Depending on your industry, your in-house IT workers may have powerful contributions to make toward your marketing and sales outcomes. For instance, your networking guru may surprise you with social media marketing ideas. Or your web programmer may have brilliant ideas up her sleeve about how to capture customer information during online interactions. (Your marketing department would likely see this customer data as a goldmine of potential sales.) The point is to involve IT employees in your brainstorming sessions and innovation retreats. Creativity skyrockets when different types of thinkers (including IT employees) are invited to contribute to company progress.
If you don’t currently have in-house IT support, IT consulting services can serve a similar role in pioneering new marketing and sales approaches. Small business IT consulting firms are typically happy to brainstorm how your IT resources could better support other parts of your business.