I’m not sure who should be worried the most, but it looks like the big boys in the IT industry have just figured out what most people serving the SME market knew already… that people in small business like to do business with people they know and trust. This is just one of the conclusions from research firm IDC in their report, Outsourcing and the SME.
However, there was some good news in IDC’s report. They say that “SMEs are realising that the break-fix approach is not the long term solution to their IS management problems”. I certainly agree that if you do want to get more out of information technology, then breaking the break-fix habit is certainly one of the steps.
But while I’m pleased to see this as a trend, I would urge any size of business to think carefully about outsourcing any element of IT as a solution to their IT management problems. Outsourcing IT means that risk is transferred to the service provider, but you still need to manage this transferred risk. Unfortunately this often requires a degree of IT know-how and I suspect this may be why some SMEs hesitate to outsource in the first place. It also goes some way to explain why trust and relationships are so important.