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Small Businesses With "Involuntary" IT Managers Lose $24 Billion in Productivity Annually, According to AMI-Partners Study

Microsoft-commissioned AMI-Partners study examines impact of non-IT professionals managing technology in small businesses across several countries.

REDMOND, Wash., April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Small businesses are losing more than $24 billion in productivity each year when nontechnical employees, referred to as involuntary IT managers (IITMs), are tasked with managing their companies' IT solutions. This loss is a direct result of IITMs taking time away from primary business activities, according to an AMI-Partners small-business study commissioned by Microsoft Corp.

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The Involuntary IT Manager study takes a broad look at the prevalence of the IITM role in nine countries in North America, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, focusing specifically on the adverse business productivity impact of IITMs in small business in five countries: Australia, Brazil, Chile, India and the United States. Surveying 538 IITMs across nationally representative samples of small businesses with 100 employees or less in the five countries, the AMI-Partners research study determined that approximately 3.8 million small businesses managed internal IT by IITMs. Although such small businesses spent $83 billion on IT and communications, paradoxically they lost $24 billion in productivity trying to manage their internal IT. The survey also found that small businesses' IITMs think cloud-based solutions can help alleviate some of the burden of managing IT.

The Drawbacks of Having an IITM

On average, IITMs lose six hours per week (around 300 hours per year) of business productivity while managing IT, according to AMI-Partners. The AMI-Partners white paper stated that while some IITMs are confident in their technical skills, most find their general work productivity suffers when their work time is diverted to managing IT issues. Key study findings include these:

  • Thirty percent of all surveyed IITMs feel that IT management is a nuisance.
  • Twenty-six percent indicated they do not feel qualified to manage IT.
  • Six in 10 IITMs want to simplify their company's technology solutions to alleviate the difficulty of managing IT day-to-day.

The Involuntary IT Manager study also found that when IITMs work at small businesses with 15 or more employees, their firms lose even more productivity time than IITMs working at companies with fewer employees.

"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. These companies can potentially leverage cloud services to alleviate the need for day-to-day in-house IT support with positive impact on their business productivity."

Small-Business Cloud Adoption

AMI-Partners found that IITMs are showing an interest in leveraging the cloud during the next 12 months to manage their IT needs. Among the IITMs surveyed in the five countries, the following was learned:

  • Thirty-three percent (approximately one-third) are likely to shift more IT spending toward hosted or cloud solutions.
  • Thirty-six percent are interested in a productivity and collaboration suite.

Although IITMs older than 50 spent the most time managing IT, the study found they are also the most likely to devote their limited IT budgets to acquiring cloud solutions and purchasing online productivity suites. Among the top concerns for IITMs in deploying cloud solutions were these:

  • Security and privacy (66 percent)
  • Reliability (61 percent)
  • The ability to integrate with existing IT investments (53 percent)
  • Limited features (46 percent)

"The cloud when delivered right is a game-changer, providing small businesses with the IT solutions they need to solve their most challenging small-business technology concerns," said Thomas Hansen, vice president of SMB Worldwide at Microsoft. "With Microsoft cloud solutions, the job of the Involuntary IT Manager gets a lot easier."

Microsoft democratizes IT for small businesses by providing enterprise-class solutions that level the IT playing field for small businesses. Office 365, Windows Intune, Windows Azure and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online are Microsoft's most complete cloud services to date. They provide small businesses with access to powerful applications from anywhere and on multiple devices with both privacy and security features built into each solution. More information about how cloud-based solutions from Microsoft, such as Office 365, can help small businesses can be found at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us. The complete Involuntary IT Manager survey can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/presskits/smb.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

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