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The Small Business Technology Dilemma | TechStak

May 1, 2017

Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs), especially law firms, health care organizations, accounting and finance companies, engineering firms and manufacturing companies are in great need of technology providers to keep them competitive and productive in today’s world.  In fact, SMB Group mentions how small businesses understand that they need to put technology to work to transform their businesses for the future. But by no fault of their own, these organizations often lack the expertise to know precisely what they need, who are the best technology providers and how to select the one that is right for them. Small businesses are often searching for multiple out-sourced tech solutions that include;

  • Cloud Service Providers
  • Managed Service Providers
  • Data and Network Providers
  • Internet Providers
  • Cyber Security Firms
  • Hosting Vendors
  • Telecom Providers
  • Mobile Providers
  • Web and/or Software Development
  • Digital Media Providers

Search options are limited for small businesses to find and compare such providers. They often simply do a Google search, come up with a short list, do some basic research on their websites, and call on those providers they hope are the best fit based on their decision criteria. If their criteria is simply cost, they miss out on other services that could bring more value and make the tech provider more effective for achieving their overall business goals.  Some small businesses may even fail to get the right references.  In short, small businesses need better technology intelligence to help them make a better and well-informed decision.  

Larger companies either have the expertise in-house or have the resources (people, knowledgebase or funds) to find the right providers.  Small businesses often do not.  Small businesses are known for their domain expertise in their individual areas.  While some may have IT professionals, they still need to out-source some functions. One of the areas that they want help in is determining which organization to use.

There are several obvious issues with selecting the wrong technology provider.  First is the small business ends up with the wrong fit or solution which they may perceive as poor quality or service ultimately making them unhappy and frustrated. The next is the time and money lost if they need to replace that provider.  The landscape seems to be littered with SMBs that have made this error.  And while there is no foolproof way to completely eliminate this issue, there is a better way to increase the odds of choosing the right technology provider and having a happy, painless and profitable experience.  

So, the ability to have a trusted list of providers in each of the above categories, as well as references, and even the ability to customize their candidates based on criteria that can be established by a trusted source is priceless – but it’s been missing.  Matchmaking of SMBs and tech providers is essential to ensure that the right provider is matched with the right company to save money, ensure quality and prevent constant and costly switching from provider to provider which can disrupt a business.  

The key criteria for this matchmaking service go beyond just price and budget. When selecting a tech partner, small business should be highly concerned with and evaluate:

  • Specific areas of expertise
  • Description of services and differentiation
  • Size of staff and certifications
  • Industry focus
  • List of other suppliers that are partners
  • Existing customer comments and reviews from that provider

Small businesses would prefer to have recommendations of the top three providers that match their criteria, have reviews of these providers and even have a service that can help them with the selection.  

An ideal scenario would be that an SMB go to a single, trusted electronic source, choose what they are looking for, list criteria, if they have it, and let the trusted source simply and easily provide a comprehensive list of providers who match the criteria with reviews from similar kinds of organizations. This saves time, money and provides for a higher quality decision and better outcome.

Today’s technology landscape is complex and keeping up with all of this technology requires assistance.  Choosing the right partners for technology services can have a big impact on an organizations success.  Having the right information delivered in the right time frame and in the right way can help SMBs do a better job of selecting and implementing required technology for their businesses.  

To learn more about how to solve this problem reach out to a TechStak consultant today.

TechStak helps small businesses find and hire vetted, out-sourced technology providers so they can make tech partnering decisions with confidence.

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About the Author, Ted Dacko

Ted has over 42 years’ experience in executive-level management and leadership principally in the area of software applications and solutions. Ted was the CEO of HealthMedia Inc. which he took from being a small company to being a $30M in annual SaaS sales business. Ted has an extensive background with early stage tech companies. Prior to HealthMedia®, Ted served as President and CEO at Centromine, an Internet-based behavioral health firm, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Orion Micro Systems, which was based in Waterbury, Connecticut. He has also worked in larger organizations including Hyperion Software, Comshare and General Electric and has held a full range of positions across the company including software development, finance, client services, sales, marketing, strategy development, M&A and CEO. Ted has also authored a series of eBooks titled From Passion to Profit and often serves as a been the keynote speaker.

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