Running a company isn’t an easy task. With 50% of new businesses failing within five years, it takes more than solid groundwork and financial backing to be successful. It also requires in-depth planning and forward-thinking to anticipate current and future needs. Every industry has its quirks and expectations, and competition is harsh for earning a steady customer base.
Even across unrelated markets, two factors influence them: technology and the internet. In 2021, an estimated 2.14 billion people made at least one purchase online. That means over 25% of the global population has access to a device that can connect to the internet and can make purchases with it. As tech becomes more accessible, that number will only continue to grow.
Technology isn’t just a tool, either. It’s an integral part of many people’s lives, from watching movies and taking photos to video chatting with family over long distances. As a result, it’s become valuable for businesses to bring their products and offerings to people’s day-to-day activities. That has made IT support essential to the success of many organizations.
What Is IT Support?
IT support refers to using technical expertise to support businesses with technology needs. That encompasses software development, mobile devices, computers, networking, cloud storage, backup solutions, cybersecurity, VoIP, remote support, and more. Businesses commonly have multiple overlapping IT needs, with 70% outsourcing their IT due to cost reduction. Managed service providers (MSPs) offer all-in-one IT support designed to cut costs and improve productivity.
How Is IT Support Used to Help Businesses?
Whether a business is looking for a complete infrastructure overhaul or a way to cut costs, there are many ways IT support is used to help. Some needs are more upfront and easier to hire for, making solutions quicker to implement. Other areas may be more difficult to analyze or anticipate. That makes an IT assessment an excellent starting point for many companies. Below we provide many of the ways IT support is used.
Automation: Many routine tasks only require simple inputs without any extra actions. Some of those tasks can be automated, allowing staff to shift their attention to higher-priority duties.
Cloud integration: Integrating a company’s workflow with the cloud can increase efficiency. It allows for project development and file storage across different devices and software tools.
Compliance: IT compliance can help in more than one way. Not only does it make an organization less vulnerable to cyber threats, but it also helps reduce the chance of legal issues.
Consultations: If a business lacks technology in many areas, it can be challenging to know where to start. An IT consultant can help find the most impactful solutions to fill those gaps.
Database backups: Regardless of the size of a business, stored files are a valued asset. All that information can be recovered if lost or stolen by keeping up-to-date backups.
Device health: If a computer or mobile device is running poorly, a diagnosis can help locate the cause and come up with a solution to solve it.
Efficiency: For many businesses, efficiency is an ongoing concern. IT support can provide analytics and optimize processes, increasing efficiency and reducing mistakes.
Lower costs: Maintaining in-house IT staff, or patchworking messy solutions without expert help, can be costly. Many organizations outsource their IT to save money.
Network security: There are many layers to network security. Firewalls, anti-virus software, network traffic, and more must be regularly updated and monitored.
On-site help: Most local MSPs have staff available to troubleshoot problems on-site that can’t be handled remotely.
Quality control: Products and services are reliant on consistent quality for their customers. IT can give customized solutions to help meet and exceed the defined standards.
Remote support: Not all problems need an in-person specialist. Helpdesk agents can remotely solve many types of routine issues.
Software development: Many businesses have unique workflows. An IT team can develop custom applications or change current ones to fit those needs.
Staff training: Whether installing new software or bringing staff up to speed, expert training can speed up that process.
Technology acquisition: Everything from smartphones to laptops can be essential to a business. An IT support team can assess the needs and get the best value on a limited budget.
Threat monitoring: Threat monitoring can help track internet and internal usage. By detecting unusual trends, issues can be responded to and prevented.
Workflow overhaul: Over time IT infrastructure can become ineffective or outdated. Doing a complete workflow overhaul can save both time and money in the long-term.
What Types of Businesses Benefit From IT Support?
Any business that uses technology can benefit from IT support in some form. Something as basic as a Wi-Fi network requires appropriate network security for companies and customers alike. Even credit card processing requires PCI IT compliance, often requiring expert help to assess and implement. Since every industry is different, below we go over how IT support can help many types of businesses.
Arbitrage: Arbitrage is buying products or assets at a low price and reselling at a higher price, sometimes in a different market. It requires data analytics and market knowledge to make educated speculation. Historical and live price tracking makes IT vital to maintaining reliability, accuracy, and uptime.
Construction: Construction businesses have some unique challenges. Temporary job sites, communication, changing user counts, remote duties, and logistics use technology. The flexibility of IT support can solve tech problems, improve workflow, and create new solutions.
Consulting: There are many types of consulting services available across various industries. Consultants provide advice and guidance at every stage of an IT project. When requested, they also give hands-on help with the integration of suggested solutions.
Consumer-to-consumer (C2C): C2C businesses provide a platform for customers to buy, sell, and trade with other people. Auctions and item listing websites are two popular models for doing that. IT support can help with data storage, inventory tracking, transactions, and web hosting.
Digital goods: Digital goods cover most types of virtual products that people buy. That includes eBooks, subscriptions, entertainment, and other digital goods. The online market continues to grow, as global eCommerce sales are expected to reach $6 trillion by 2024. Everything from development to sales involves technology, making IT support a vital component.
Education: While not all educational facilities are businesses, many operate on tight budgets. Many schools are maintaining in-person and remote teaching capabilities. The flexibility of computers and remote teaching tools allows for that. Due to the complexity of the infrastructure, the education industry uses IT support in many ways
Event planning: Event planners help their clients plan, prepare, schedule, and run their activities. Some specialize in one area of focus, while others provide broader services. Due to the number of tasks throughout the process, technology is often a crucial part of a well-planned event.
Healthcare: Healthcare organizations handle medical, financial, and patient data. That makes data security and HIPAA compliance essential to staying operational. Technology also impacts the patient experience, especially in a hospital setting. IT support can help protect from cyber threats while ensuring other systems and offerings are stable.
Hospitality: Hospitality caters to guests’ needs and provides services to enhance their experience. Some examples are hotels, concert halls, catering, golf country clubs, and museums. These can overlap with other industries, too.
Financial services: Most financial service companies focus on maximizing net gains. Clients’ needs and budgets can be variable, making it essential to have a dynamic set of software. With the support of IT and analytics-driven tools, they can provide high-value input.
Insurance: The insurance industry can give peace of mind and cost savings for anticipated expenses depending on its use. Some companies, like health insurance, may store in-depth medical records and claim requests. With increased digitization, 69% of insurers use some form of online distribution.
Legal: There are many types of legal firms, many of which focus on specific areas of law. Client data, confidentiality, and security of case files can impact the effectiveness of their services. With IT support, customized solutions can be both secure and practical.
Logistics: A logistics business acts as a middleman for acquiring and distributing goods. Most systems are digital, making different software solutions a key component. An IT team can help with the setup, operation, maintenance, and cybersecurity.
Manufacturing: This industry covers everything from smaller component producers to large-scale production facilities. The type of IT services used varies, ranging from simple to complex, depending on the needs. They often use technology to handle data, communication, and production functions.
Marketing: Modern marketing leans on tech, as ads can reach more people through digital distribution. While print advertising costs have remained similar, digital advertising costs are expected to increase by 13.59%. IT support can help the workflow of both the creation and distribution process.
Non-profits: Non-profits are reliant on outside support and often have limited funding. Technology is also a core element, depending on the kind of work and services they do. Outsourced IT support can be a cost-effective way to install better infrastructure and keep things running.
Recommerce: The recommerce industry involves acquiring, selling, repurposing, restoring, and recycling products. While it’s most common for physical goods, the rights to old digital assets can also be resold or licensed. Besides business needs, used devices may need to be examined by an IT specialist.
Restaurants: A restaurant provides food, drinks, and ambiance that can change the dining experience. Many are themed around specific foods or beverages. Online ordering has become high-value, with 66% of surveyed adults ordering takeout or delivery in the previous week. For some, online ordering has become more profitable than dine-in customers.
Retail: A retail business sells goods and services from a physical location. That allows customers to view, compare, and buy a product that can be taken home that day. IT can include payment processing, computer systems, networking, and inventory. Some retail stores offer companion websites or apps.
Social services: These are often community-based and non-profit. Some examples are job training, food assistance, housing, pet shelters, and child protective services. IT supports many backend functions, allowing them to serve their communities better.
Transportation: Transportation services can include taxis, buses, subways, trains, airplanes, and boats. Payment and scheduling often involve using a mobile app or website. They often use mobile apps and websites for scheduling and payment. Since many of those businesses rely on technology for sales and functions, IT can help with many aspects.
Wholesale: These businesses sell directly to customers, allowing for lower costs. The IT involves many layers, such as inventory tracking, transportation of goods, and automation. While these businesses share similarities with retail stores, logistics can be different.
When Should a Business Get IT Support?
Every business is unique and may have its own needs, priorities, and goals. While most companies can enjoy IT support in some form, knowing when to use them can vary. As of 2022, outdated IT upgrades factored into 47% of IT budget increases. Creating a new infrastructure from scratch can be even more expensive. Even so, having an online presence is important to reach the entirety of the market.
If a business is uncertain if they need an MSP, an IT assessment is a good place to start. A consultant will analyze a wide range of factors. That includes workflow, network mapping, device health, data back-ups, cybersecurity, and compliance. The assessment aims to find areas to improve efficiency, increase productivity, and cut costs. From there, an overview will point out issues and offer solutions to fix or enhance those areas.
Technology already has a significant role in many businesses. The reliance on computers and mobile devices has extended to customers too. User penetration for the U.S. eCommerce market is expected to reach over 80% by 2025. Globally, it’s trending to jump from 53.8% to 62.4%, showing that similar shifts are happening in other markets too.
Some business owners are still hesitant, though. An organization needs enough of a technology integration plan to warrant the upfront cost, and not all may want to invest in that. That being said, in a shopping survey across 25 countries, 79% of people shop online once a month, while 22% do it once a week. That has made having an online presence and virtual storefront a growing need to stay competitive.
Whether a business is already established or is looking to jumpstart its tech usage, IT support can help. MSPs like ITonDemand offer a wide range of solutions and serve many industries. While not all companies take advantage of IT, it’s worth looking towards the future. With customers’ evolving needs and growing online expectations, an IT service provider can keep businesses a step ahead.