What Is an Involuntary IT Manager?

It’s a story recognized by a large number of SMBs operating today. Something happens to an employee’s computer. They take a little while to try to resolve the problem themselves. Then they ask their colleagues to diagnose their issue. And in a last ditch effort to get their machine going, they contact IT. The IT team member fixes it in 5 minutes flat. When will people learn that IT is there to help with these problems, and they’re likely to determine the issue faster than someone without experience in the field? Now, take this other example. An SMB is starting to grow — fast. All of sudden, there are about 86 employees operating in a space 3x larger than when the company began, yet the IT team still only consists of one person. Employees are happy to reach out to IT for help, but they know the resource is bogged down with their own day-to-day work. That means when they need help, finding someone they need to get their machine up and running isn’t there. These employees will usually self-diagnose to become what the industry refers to as “involuntary IT managers.” They're staff members without the proper training who take IT issues into their own hands.

The Numbers

In 2017, Microsoft commissioned YouGov in Australia to survey 1000 SMB employees and discover what the IT environment is like at their workplace. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said they perform their own IT duties on top of their required day-to-day work. That means more than 6 in 10 people would fall under the category of involuntary IT manager. From this 63%, nine in 10 say they spend at least four hours a week on IT-related tasks, and 71% say they're always on the lookout for new and more efficient IT management tools. It's clear there's room for improvement in the eyes of SMB employees who are doing IT tasks beyond their regular duties.

Why Do Employees Become Involuntary IT Managers?

There are many reasons, but it mainly happens in absence of a proper IT team. As per our example above, employees who believe there aren't resources available to help them will fall back on their own knowledge, the knowledge of coworkers, or the Internet for solutions to their IT problems. Plus, employees may not fully understand how their IT team operates, depending on how they were on-boarded. If you tell them you need to place a ticket into the IT queue for help, and their wait could be a day or more, they'll likely opt to try and find a solution on their own before requesting help from IT. If, however, you tell an employee from their start date that IT is there to help and is only a quick email away, the IT department won't be their last resort.

What Can You Do?

First things first: make sure your IT team is properly staffed. Though an average SMB is said to need one IT personnel to every 70 employees, it may vary depending on the needs of your business. If every single employee depends on their machine to be fully functional, and you’re hoping to develop or implement new IT processes on a regular basis, one IT member will not be enough. If you can’t afford to hire more staff, consider outsourcing your IT. When you outsource, you’re essentially using services from third-party companies to keep each IT department’s need fulfilled. StorageCraft, for example, provides storage, backup, and data recovery services to fit the needs of MSPs and other businesses. We offer 24/7 assistance when required, and you can operate our easy-to-use platforms yourselves to keep a small number of IT employees free to handle in-office issues.Contact us today to find out how we can help simplify your IT strategies and take a load off of your involuntary IT managers.

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