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 company's IT solutions.
Although these businesses spend $83 billion on IT and communications, they still suffered the financial loss trying to manage their internal IT.
This finding was reflected in a study by AMI-Partners and commissioned by Microsoft, which surveyed 538 IITMs across Australia, Brazil, Chile, India and the United States.
The research determined that about 3.8 million small businesses in these countries currently manage internal IT using IITMs, resulting in productivity losses as they take time away from primary business role and subsequent activities. "The pressures of running a small business can mean that an employee in the company is forced into the uncomfortable position of diverting their attention from meeting critical business needs to managing an immediate problem with the company's IT systems," Microsoft Australia corporate communications manager, Ben Tan, said.
The study also revealed that Australian IITMs lose more than 3.1 hours of time every week managing IT solutions instead of tending to their day-to-day job responsibilities, equating to 161 hours of lost productivity annually.
However, of the five countries surveyed, Australian IITMs recorded the lowest level of lost productivity hours wasted; but the loss still represents a significant economic impact to Australian small businesses. Other findings from the study include:
- Australian small businesses are more content with the status quo: 55 per cent of Aussie small businesses are unlikely to change the way IT is managed, compared to a global average of 37 per cent.
- Australian IITMs are the least inclined (14 per cent) to shift more IT budget to the Cloud, and are the least likely to purchase integrated online productivity suites (15 per cent).