Most people who work in offices and are college-educated with a sense of professionalism tend to be capable of performing some degree of tasks generally performed by IT professionals. They know how to physically plug in a computer, install the specific programs their job duties require, and link to printers, networks, or other in-house resources. Just because they can doesn’t mean they should. Although they understand the general types of software most companies use, they might not have a deep understanding of company-specific programs. There’s always a learning curve for new employees to get up to speed, or for established employees to learn new software.
There are a few reasons why specialized IT services people are the best solution for a company’s computer-based resources. An IT person can be an in-house employee, but the service is often better performed by an outside consulting firm. A common problem with in-house IT personnel is their affinity with the company and the ability to steal perhaps or expose company secrets if their employment is terminated. Outside consultants don’t tend to have the same motivations or access to how the computers are being used, making it far less likely of a scenario. With that said, there are a few signs a company would be the right candidate for hiring a specific IT consultation service.
Old Software Versions or Programs which Aren’t Used
Over time, new software is developed, or industry-wide standards change. As new software is introduced, old software tends to remain on the computer. In other cases, a particular employee might have a personal preference of software, which later isn’t used as company standards change, or they become more familiar with the programming other workers use. When that happens, the old software uses computer memory, eventually slowing down the speed and efficiency of the computer and, at worst, causing a premature failure requiring computer replacement. The issue here is that even though someone knows they no longer use a specific program, they usually want to keep it as a backup, “just in case” they need it in the future even though they never will. The IT professional recognizes such an issue and is far more proactive about removing old software, which is no longer helpful toward work goals.
Lack of Consistency by Department or Individual Employees
Generally speaking, most people dislike computer updates. This is not just because of the inconvenience of waiting on the updates to take place, but because it might mean a favourite feature of a program is no longer going to work as it used to. Beyond simple updates, major software upgrades can be even more challenging to relearn when it comes to specific details of the programming. When people throughout the office are using different versions of the same software, or especially other brands of software, it can slow down work as they share information and each person has to figure out how to read the data with their preferred methods. The IT consultant will recognize and correct such problems, as they don’t have the same level of personal interest in the computer other than to make it as efficient as possible.
Hardware likewise becomes outdated. A person who takes care of their personal computer at home might get more time out of their system, but on average, a professional computer at the office is expected to last about three to four years. New hardware is not only essential for efficient work conducted in the office but is also what clients expect. Clients don’t have much faith in companies using outdated software, especially if it’s so old as to no longer be compatible with their needs.
Every business has expenses, some of which can be avoided or minimized. Maintaining up to date computer gear is not an area to cut corners in today’s world. Companies that try to avoid the expense of a specialized IT consultant usually lose money until they finally come around and realize the importance of such service.