Below is information on the results of theIT Effectiveness Index,
in which Smallbiztechnology.com is a sponsor of. While the results are
appalling, let’s also think of what SOLUTIONS are in place. Which I’ll
outline at the end. Editor
According to the IT Effectiveness Index (ITEI)
Mid-Year Report 2009, another 37 percent of small businesses are barely
maintaining their IT operations, scoring only a “C” grade. The report,
based on surveying hundreds of small businesses, further reveals that
these companies are falling further behind as economic pressures have
forced nearly half of the respondents to reduce, delay or cancel
critical IT investments.
The ITEI program offers a free online benchmarking tool for small
businesses to audit their IT effectiveness, and explore best practices
and affordable options and alternatives for improving or maintaining
effective IT standards. In addition, the ITEI will begin providing
survey participants with free peer comparisons based on company size
and industry. The free online survey and tool can be found at www.iteffectivenessindex.com.
“The results to date indicate that many small businesses are falling
behind when it comes to implementing accepted best practices for IT
operations and management,” according to Steven Kahan of The Planet,
one of a consortium of sponsors behind ITEI.
The results so far are especially disturbing, according to Kahan,
since more than two-thirds of the small businesses responding to the
survey indicated that IT and Web commerce are the foundations that
enable their business success. “The IT Effectiveness Index is telling
us that in nearly two-thirds of businesses with 100 employees or less,
IT operations are failing to fully support or keep pace with small
business needs,” he emphasized.
In many cases, he explains, the symptoms of mediocre or failing IT
grades are displayed in a lack of security protection against cyber
threats, an inability to prepare for or respond to incidents, as well
as growing concerns about IT availability and unacceptable levels in
downtime of IT systems.
“The take away from all of this,” according to Anita Campbell, principal of Small Business Trends (http://smallbiztrends.com),
“is that small businesses are finding themselves at a competitive
disadvantage. During the recession, some have had to make do with less
staff, cancel or put IT projects on hold, and slash capital
expenditures in their IT budgets. The benchmarking and self-audit tool
helps small businesses understand where they have fallen behind so they
can work on the building blocks for better technology effectiveness,
leading to greater overall success in their businesses.”
Survey results also show that nearly half the businesses are facing
obstacles in implementing new IT projects because of cuts in capital
investments, and nearly one-third lack the staff to properly manage
their IT investments.
The IT Effectiveness Index offers those who take the survey a chance
to examine their results in more detail through a personalized report
that is provided immediately after taking the survey. The survey will
soon enable respondents to compare their scores against peers in terms
of size and respective industries. The sponsors of the Mid-Year 2009
Report also provide suggestions for small businesses to help them
upgrade their IT performance and effectiveness without the capital
expense typically associated with IT budgets. Among the suggestions are
for small businesses to concentrate on core competencies while seeking
to explore outsourcing options, take advantage of free software and
other offerings, explore the benefits of Cloud Computing whereby
applications are utilized and maintained on a subscription basis, and
consider IT infrastructure alternatives to capital expenditures through
hosted hardware, software and services.
The IT Effectiveness Index represents the first industry coalition
to measure the IT effectiveness of small- and medium-size businesses
around the world. The online survey offers business owners and IT
executives a free online benchmarking tool that uses a methods-based
framework. Participants take a 12-question, 10-minute survey to receive
an immediate and confidential score, accompanied by a detailed report
with consultative suggestions about how to improve their IT processes.
In January 2010, the ITEI Partners will publish the SMB IT
Effectiveness Index Annual Report, which will be provided
free-of-charge to survey participants.
During the year, ITEI Partners will issue periodic news as research
trends emerge. To participate in the survey or learn more about the
participating partners, visit the ITEI Web site at www.iteffectivenessindex.com.
What can small businesses do to more effectively use technology as a tool