You’ve Outgrown Your IT Guy: Now What?

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When consulting with small and medium businesses about IT and technology it common for us to run into situations where a business has outgrown their IT guy.  That can take various forms.  Sometimes they need a higher skillset, sometimes they need more time from IT, sometimes they need more strategy or proactive support, and sometimes their IT guy just needs some help.

We’ll try to outline various scenarios we commonly see here and make some recommendations on what the best solutions might be.  Every business is different, but we hope this can give some direction on what solutions to explore.

Accidental Techie

This is a common scenario that we see in small businesses, or ones that have grown rapidly.  The IT guy is an employee with no IT training that was hired to do something completely different.  They may even be a key player or C-level within an organization.  When the company was small, they made the mistake of fixing somebody’s printer one time.  Ever since then everyone in the company has been bringing them their IT problems, and they’ve been attempting to help where they can.

This can be a problem for a few reasons.  One is that is incredibly inefficient.  Since they have no IT training or experience when asked to fix something they fumble through or spend time googling it.  While it is possible to find solutions this way, it can take a lot of time away from the Accidental Techie’s real job they were hired for.  That in turn means that the individual with the problem is out of business for longer than necessary while waiting for them to fumble onto a solution.

Sometimes business owners don’t stop this behavior because they feel like they are “saving” money.  This is likely costing you more than hiring a professional would, because you have 2 employees not able to do the jobs they were hired for.  Instead of contributing to the business, making sales, or helping customers they are both sidelined dealing with IT.

In addition to this lost time, there are a lot of things accidental techies DON’T do.  They don’t put security solutions in place to lower your risk.  They don’t manage backups.  It’s not their job to apply patches or updates on the network, and they certainly aren’t doing any strategic planning for you.

Accidental Techie – What to do instead?

If this is happening in your business, it’s time you got some professional IT help.  If you’re business is 15 employees or less, your IT needs may be very basic.  That would make you a candidate for an hourly IT professional to help as needed.  They can help troubleshoot problems as they come up and unburden your staff.

If your business is larger, (20-200 employees on computers) you may need more consistent help.  At this size there are more IT helpdesk requests as well as needs for cybersecurity, proactive maintenance, and IT strategy.  An IT service provider (sometimes called managed service provider) may be a better fit for your needs.  They typically offer a per user or per workstation cost structure and will provide helpdesk support, cybersecurity, strategy, and proactive maintenance.  This will take the burden of managing IT off your staff while offering a complete solution to the needs.

Your IT Guy Is A One Man Band

Another common thing when it comes to IT is for a small business to have a “Guy”.  This frequently happens organically.  As IT needs start coming up, they ask around the company to see if anybody can help, and someone says they know a “Guy”.  Sometimes it’s a cousin, friend, somebody’s neighbor etc.

This person is brought in and helps solve whatever burning problem was happening at that moment.  They are then the solution going forward and get a call whenever there are needs.

There are a few potential problems with having an “IT Guy”.  These can range from skillset, to capacity, to competition.

Not all IT guys are created equal.  Just because somebody fixed your desktop once, doesn’t mean they have the skillset to setup a server or do complicated networking tasks.  Thus, your employee’s cousin might not actually be the answer to all your IT problems.  The bad thing is they likely won’t tell you when they are out of their depth.  They’ll just continue to bill you hourly and sometimes make things worse along the way.

Sometimes they are skilled, but they don’t have the capacity you need.  They thought this was an occasional hourly thing, but as your company has grown, they are getting more and more calls.  Sometimes they have another job, or other clients, and they just don’t have the ability or desire to fit you in.

Competition is another problem.  The very best IT guys with excellent skills and bedside manner tend to be popular.  They pick up a bunch of clients fast, and easily manage to overload themselves with work.  When this happens, they stop responding to their clients, or take days to get them an answer.  All these situations can cost you money in one way or another.

A One-Man Band – What to do instead?

Most businesses that have been using a one-man band regularly are 20+ employees and have significant IT needs.  An IT service provider will likely be the best choice for businesses of this size.  They aren’t big enough yet that it makes sense to hire a full-time employee, but they have more needs than a one-man band or accidental techie can comfortably provide for.

An IT service provider also solves the problems you run into with a one-man band by giving you access to an entire team of IT experts and depth of knowledge.  The team approach to IT allows them to easily get you support when you need it even if the needs are frequent.  IT providers are also built to be able to easily help multiple clients without extended wait times.

Your Company Needs Proactive IT

Another way that companies can sometimes outgrow their IT guy is by having needs that they simply can’t meet.  Not all hourly or mom and pop IT shops are really set up to proactively maintain networks.  Frequently they don’t have the right software, tools, or team to be able to do so effectively.

If you’re finding that you have outages or security problems because your provider hasn’t been sufficiently maintaining your network, that could be a sign this is the case.  If you have reoccurring problems that they don’t seem capable or interested in solving, that’s another indicator.

Solution for Proactive IT

Most businesses with between 20-200 computers will have regular maintenance that needs to be completed proactively to minimize risk and downtime.  Managed Service providers have the right toolset, staff, and knowhow to make sure that your network is proactively maintained.  The best ones will also make proactive recommendations around security, and provide you reporting on hardware inventory that helps you to plan projects and create budgets for IT.

Best in class providers assign an account manager that will proactively meet with you on a regular basis and provide strategy and proactive reports and updates.

Your company has an inhouse IT guy they’ve outgrown

Sometimes we run into organizations with full time IT employees inhouse that seem to outgrow either skillset or capacity of their employee.  These are frequently great employees, but if your business has grown to 150 computers or more your IT guy may be over capacity.  They may also struggle to have the expertise you need in areas like cybersecurity, automation, server administration and more.  It’s a broad field, and it’s unreasonable for employers to expect IT staff to have expertise in everything.

Solution for outgrowing inhouse IT

You could always simply hire more IT staff to fill the need.  The challenge there is that you can only hire in quantities of one full human.  If the need has your current IT overwhelmed, but isn’t enough to justify another FTE what do you do?  If the problem is skillset instead of capacity, do you hire another FTE and pay them a premium just so you have more high-end networking knowledge when needed?

In most businesses this can be a pretty inefficient and expensive way to operate.  A better option is frequently to hire a managed service provider to work WITH your IT team.  This is called Co-Managed Services.  This allows you to fill in whatever gaps you have in your IT staff.  Do they need help with capacity for more service tickets?  No problem.  Do they need help with tricky networking?  Again, no problem.

An MSP can fill in the gaps you may have in your inhouse team and work along side them seamlessly.  They can also usually do it for a fraction of the cost of an FTE.


There are a lot of potential reasons that your business may have outgrown your IT guy.  Managed services are the answer for a lot of these scenarios.  If any of these scenarios resonate, book some time with our expert to discuss your needs.  The consultation is free and there is no commitment to buy anything.  If nothing else, you’ll walk away more education about the problem you’re facing and potential solutions.  Click the HERE to book your free consultation today!