Best Argument: No
The solution? The cloud
Christopher Dawson: If you run an SMB, chances are you’re all too familiar with the many hats you wear. Manager, CEO, CFO, CIO... Even for medium-sized businesses that have more established roles and staffing, IT tends to be an afterthought until it breaks. No matter the size of your organization, though, doesn’t it usually run better when your time can be devoted to strategic thinking and growing the business instead of bothering with software licensing, hardware rollouts (or fixing old hardware), and the security of your expanding stores of customer and supply chain data (to say nothing of intellectual property and other digital assets)?
Yes. Yes it does. The solution? The cloud. Leveraging hosted software-as a-service on whatever devices are affordable and keeping your employees happy means your attention is on the business while cloud providers deliver everything you need online. Pay the Internet bills and go change the world.
Adult supervision required
Heather Clancy: Just because cloud infrastructure and applications can be provisioned easily by line-of-business managers and be paid for outside of regular IT budgets doesn’t mean your SMB can eliminate its IT department as you take them on. The role of the SMB IT manager actually becomes even more strategic and complicated as SMBs invest more deeply in cloud services. Some small businesses that have relied on outside IT services companies in the past may even want to consider bringing someone on staff to manage the big picture.
There are three big reasons: 1) Moving to the cloud requires disciplined data management. 2) As different services are adopted from different cloud service providers, someone must maintain a holistic view of a company’s entire IT footprint. 3) Someone needs to figure out how cloud services should interact and integrate with remaining on-premise applications.
To be truly strategic, cloud investments require IT management oversight.