Do You Need an IT Department in your Small Business?

Redefining IT for XaaS

Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) and digital solutions such as cloud hosting have changed how small business leaders see information technology departments.

IT once focused on managing on-premise servers, workstation app environments, administer software licenses and other local network needs. Now Everything-as-a-Service eliminates these duties.

This represents a changing paradigm for small and medium businesses. cloud services replace on-premise hardware. And non-techies manage software licenses via tech apps. This means IT is no longer a priority.

IT departments no longer have hardware to manage or apps to oversee and install. Does this make these departments human resources redundancies? The situation prompts entrepreneurs to opt instead for a reactive, wait-and-see approach.

Smaller companies with tiny budgets could save a few thousand getting rid of these departments. And it may seem like a harmless cut. But changing realities don’t eliminate the need for IT. It just means its responsibilities will shift.

If you’ve gotten rid of your IT department already, watch out. Everything-as-a-Service quickly goes from cure-all to problem. The applications, platforms and tools need management.

The Lure of Shiny Objects

Clunky legacy systems become relics. And everything-as-a-Service steps up to make business computers and networks more efficient. This trend may be tripping up larger, older companies. But smaller upstarts find themselves in better position to make this transition smoothly.

The ease of adding these new apps makes small and medium businesses eager to try out new tools.

Businesses see the obvious benefits to using cloud-based tools. The cloud increases accessibility, agility, advanced collaboration options, the ability to scale simply as your startup grows. And of course, it lowers overheads. But these benefits quickly turn to disadvantages when not implemented or managed properly.

Check out what a recent survey from RightScale reveals in the chart below. They identified the biggest downsides of implementing cloud-based tools in their business:

Redefining IT for XaaS


Cloud servers present the perfect example. They prove useful for lowering costs and improving performance. But low-cost cloud solutions balloon out of control when not managed.

Redefining IT for XaaS

Problems come from overlooking compliance issues and the fine print of your tools’ data sharing permissions. But they also come from choosing the wrong instance model or failing to monitor compute costs. You can even add too many server deployments without needing them all.

Similarly, simply stacking new SaaS tools to deal with problems as they emerge can be a good thing at first, but on-demand becomes problematic when your company grows, or when you try to integrate mismatched services.

As the chart shows, organizations are spending a considerable amount on tools across a range of applications. Managing all of these solutions under one platform can make the job easier for IT managers. Or small business owners without an IT person on staff.

Redefining IT for XaaS


That’s why it’s so important to find tools that don’t supplant the need for an IT manager but make their lives easier. Such is the case with solutions like Torii, which can simplify the process of tracking multiple applications in a centralized manner. The platform lets IT teams centralize the administration of things like credentials, adding and removing users, expense budgets, app permissions, and even determine which applications are being used, and which can be removed safely.

When you have too many SaaS tools operating at the same time, your team can easily forget about existing ones, and managing the growing list of users as employees join and leave your company can lead to serious security concerns. Having to manage permissions for current and former employees can become nearly impossible if you have to sort through dozens and dozens of applications every time.

Fully Autonomous Clouds Still Beyond the Horizon

By 2020, cloud computing is projected to hit $158 billion in annual revenue, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17%.

The chart below shows the growth is going to continue until 2022, achieving revenue of $216 billion, while total IT spending will only grow at an average compound growth rate of 4%.

Redefining IT for XaaS


For startups that have already made the quantum leap to the cloud, it might seem as though these systems should be able to manage themselves. Nevertheless, the fact that these services are easy to use and include automation tools doesn’t mean they can be left to their own devices. While this is a terrific ideal, it’s often far from reality.

In the past, centralized IT systems made it easy to keep tabs on software credentials and different applications. Licenses meant software needed to be handled from one location. However, the decentralized nature of SaaS tools, and their flexibility, requires a different sort of oversight. Instead of a monolithic approach, the new IT requires embracing IT-as-a-service.

Instead of allowing everyone to decide their course of action, SMBs should focus on ensuring the multi-faceted approach has a sense of cohesion and coherence.

Other companies are taking on the cloud’s Achilles Heel: privacy. Keeping cloud assets safe is no small task, and cybersecurity firms like Hytrust and Proofpoint are holding cloud hackers at bay. Investing in an automated strategy for cloud protection enables startups to avoid future embarrassments, uncomfortable conversations with shareholders, and severe data or monetary loss.

Out With the Old, in With the New

Instead of ignoring IT, the new status quo allows managers to adapt and embrace the cloud to more effectively administer technology.

Even so, it requires a conscious effort to create a position and respect it. Instead of looking for ways to ignore IT, organizations should find ways to put their IT teams in better position to succeed.


Pratik Dholakiya Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. As a passionate SEO and content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory, and Inc42, to name a few.