Firms need IT to achieve revenue growth
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Firms need IT to achieve revenue growth

For many enterprises, technology-related needs are changing rapidly. In order for businesses to achieve greater flexibility at a price that fits within a range of budgets, leaders must consider the wide range of options that are available to them. After all, for companies to stay competitive, the proper implementation of high-quality IT solutions is paramount.

According to a recent study from AMI-Partners and Microsoft, businesses that neglect to deploy IT services with the help of trained professionals and the right technologies set themselves up for financial losses. Researchers found that in many organizations today, the individuals managing technological solutions are not actually experts, but instead non-technical employees whose main job is not IT-related. Using involuntary IT managers (IITMs) directly results in the loss of $24 billion in productivity each year as a result of time taken away from these workers' primary responsibilities, Microsoft noted.

The survey involved 538 IITMs from nine countries, with a focus on those employed at small businesses in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Chile and India. Overall, the study suggested there may be as many as 3.8 million IITMs worldwide. Thirty percent of these employees said they see IT management as a burden, and another 26 percent admitted that they are not qualified to perform the duties they've been assigned.

"Many small businesses don't have the budget for formal IT support, so they rely on the company's most tech-savvy individual to manage their technology," said Andy Bose, founder, chairman and CEO at AMI-Partners. "As our research shows, relying on an involuntary IT manager can have an adverse impact on small businesses' productivity, which can negatively affect revenue and translates into a very high opportunity cost."

Bose noted that one way companies can strike a balance between deploying in-house IT solutions and saving money is to look into cloud services. He explained that by moving operations to the cloud, enterprises would be able to achieve greater productivity without the need to spend daily on IT support.

Microsoft pointed out that though IITMs may not be formally trained IT professionals, they see the potential in the cloud. Six in 10 respondents were eager to simplify the technology being used in their organizations, and 36 percent cited cloud solutions as an option they plan to spend more on.

Gartner has noted that business leaders are clamoring for the public cloud. The market for these services is forecast to increase 18.5 percent in 2013, reaching $131 billion globally. Among segments of this market, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is expected to experience the greatest growth. IaaS spending reached $6.1 billion in 2012, and Gartner predicts a 47.3 percent increase this year, bringing this figure to $9 billion.

For the IT industry, there is no better time than now to continue innovating. In order for businesses in any industry to succeed, they need to implement the best technologies available to help streamline operations. Investing in the cloud can boost productivity and improve bottom lines, and those benefits only increase as providers continue to improve their offerings.