Are they helping shape the long-term growth of your business or are they busy tinkering with Claire in account’s broken computer?
If it’s the latter, it might be time to hire an IT manager (or an extra techie). But it’s not always easy to know when to get someone on board.
It’s not necessarily a question of size. We work with businesses of 30/40 employees who have an IT manager and those with significantly more who don’t. The question is do you want technology to work for you and help build your business?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is an IT manager?
If you’re unsure what an IT manager is, it might be best to explain what they’re not.
A lot of businesses have someone in an IT role, but their understanding of that role is that they fix things when they break. A tinkerer. A doer. This isn’t an IT manager.
A true IT manager focuses on strategy and oversees how the business uses all sorts of technology, not just computers. You might even call them a technology manager due to the scope of what they cover. That strategy should involve improving sales efficiency, customer service and supporting staff. An IT manager can help you develop a cyber security strategy, inform your use of cloud solutions and much more.
It’s all about enabling technology to further the growth of your business. That might involve new projects, deciding when to initiate change and partnering with IT suppliers and support services to get the best out of the tech you’ve got.
The most successful businesses have people with digital skills in top positions at their company. It shows that they value IT as something which helps steer the ship that is your business.
When is it time to bring an IT manager into the business?
So when do you make the leap to having an IT manager, whether that’s someone who’s already in the business or a new hire?
In a phrase, the answer is: when you stop thinking of IT as an expense and start thinking of it as an enabler.
There’s nothing wrong with having someone on call who can fix things, but successful businesses will be thinking about how tech can help you work better, speed up processes and make the business more profitable. At this point a managerial position is essential.
You’ll need someone to oversee that vision and help it come to fruition. They don’t have to be super skilled in many technical areas of IT. Rather they need to be good managers and big picture thinkers with a focus on IT and technology.
The problem many businesses face is that they ask one person to do everything. They then become overworked, fighting fires, and never having time to find long term solutions.
Maybe you’re a growing business of 20-30 employees but you feel like you’re treading water. You’ve hit a plateau and have no time to upgrade or think about how you can use technology better. If that’s you, it’s time to bring an IT manager into the team.
Do we need an IT team and an IT manager?
Now you may be thinking, ‘that’s all well and good but who’s going to do the tinkering when problems occur’?
We also appreciate that not all businesses can afford everything. Often the concern comes from how many people they can employ in this area. An IT manager will command a manager’s salary in most companies. However, we can’t think of many positions where you will get as big of a return on investment.
Having an IT manager is probably a better investment than someone who goes around fixing things. You can always hire an external service provider to help with that, who can work closely with your IT manager to get things moving.
Sure, there will come a point where you do need to employ a larger onsite team of engineers. People whose full-time job it is to make sure everything’s working. But don’t expect one IT manager to do this. In fact, in today’s world, IT managers are less technical than ever before, such is the ubiquity of computing in business. And that’s fine.