While much of the public debate about IT in business focuses on the big headline-grabbing issues such as mobile working, Web 2.0 and open source, new research has found that the biggest headaches for IT managers are actually the basic everyday problems.
IT support company Connect surveyed 200 IT managers and directors for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK and found that 37pc said regular IT hassles were their biggest worry, with IT security the second-biggest problem at 32pc.
Security was more of a problem for businesses with less than 50 employees (35pc of these said security was one of their top two headaches compared with 27pc of firms employing between 50 and 250).
“Much of the IT debate currently revolves around what we’d call ‘big ticket’ items – concepts like mobile working, Web 2.0 or open source software dominate the news agenda for IT,” said Mark MacGregor, chief executive of Connect.
“While we’re certainly not dismissing those concepts, the reality is that for the entrepreneurs and owner-managers that drive much of the innovation and growth in our economy, the issues are really much simpler. They just want robust, cost-effective IT systems that actually work. One of the challenges we need to address as an industry is how we can deliver more of that type of IT.”
Some 30pc of IT managers cited lack of understanding by staff in use of IT as one of their two biggest IT headaches. The bigger companies found this to be more of a problem (42pc) than the smaller ones (20pc).
Some 27pc cited cost as one of their two biggest headaches (30pc from the smaller companies, 22pc from the larger firms).
Some 19pc of IT managers cited email/internet downtime as one of their top two headaches, with smaller companies (24pc) more concerned about this than larger ones (12pc).
“The IT supply industry needs to assess this kind of discrepancy carefully and to find better ways to ensure that small companies have the internet and email tools they need to run and expand their businesses,” said MacGregor.
By Niall Byrne