While there are still some differences between enterprise IT management and SMB IT management, the two are becoming more similar. This is due, in part, to the fact that SMBs are now able to access many of the same tools and services as their larger counterparts. Let’s explore the differences between enterprise IT management and SMB IT management, as well as the benefits of switching to an enterprise approach.
What is enterprise IT management?
Enterprise IT management focuses on using IT to increase the value of a business by integrating IT into the business strategy and ensuring that it aligns with the company’s goals. To do this, enterprise IT management needs a deep understanding of the business and its specific needs to develop an IT strategy.
Essentially, enterprise IT management takes a higher level and more strategic approach to managing IT beyond managing the day-to-day IT operations.
What is SMB IT management?
SMB IT management focuses on managing a small or medium-sized business’s day-to-day IT operations, including servers, networking, and security. While SMB IT management does need to be aware of the business goals, its main focus is keeping the IT infrastructure running smoothly.
Enterprise IT vs. SMB IT: The differences
While enterprise IT management sounds a lot like “SMB IT management… but more”, there are some critical differences between the two.
Strategy vs. operations
The first and most obvious difference is how the two approach IT. Enterprise IT management is more strategic, while SMB IT management is more operational.
For example, if enterprise IT management and SMB IT management are lost in a forest. Enterprise IT management would use a drone to get a bird’s eye view of the forest to map out the best way to get back to civilization. They would then develop a plan ensuring that all available resources were used efficiently to ensure they reached their destination quickly and safely (and in one piece).
On the other hand, SMB IT management would focus on more immediate concerns, such as finding food and shelter. While there is nothing wrong with this, it would not be as effective as the enterprise IT management approach.
In other words, enterprise IT management is focused on the long-term, and on using IT resources efficiently to achieve specific business goals, while SMB IT management is more concerned with day-to-day operations.
While the specific tasks that each team is responsible for will vary from business to business, SMB IT management is typically responsible for tasks such as the following:
- Managing servers
- Managing security
- Providing user support
- Performing backups
- Updating software
- Adding and removing users
- Resetting passwords
Enterprise IT management is also responsible for additional tasks, including:
- Developing the IT strategy
- Planning and budgeting for IT
- Implementing the IT strategy
- Managing relationships with vendors
- Evaluating new technology
- Training staff on new technology
- Managing projects
- Efficient allocation of resources
- Ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements
- Providing executive-level support
The real issue is that even in terms of percentages, SMBs allocate a smaller portion of their overall budget to IT. For example, the 2022 State of IT report from Spiceworks Ziff Davis (SWZD) shows that 64% of enterprises plan on raising their IT budgets compared to 45% of SMBs. There’s also a difference in how much those budgets will increase with enterprises planning on a 31% raise versus 22% for SMBs.
This difference may be attributed to how enterprises and SMBs perceive IT. For enterprises, IT is a key driver of growth and innovation, while for SMBs, IT is often seen as a necessary evil.
Enterprises usually have large IT departments with multiple teams, each responsible for different areas of IT. SMBs usually have smaller IT departments with fewer teams. In some cases, there might only be one IT team responsible for all areas of IT. And, in some cases, “team” might be a bit generous as there might only be one or two IT staff members responsible for everything.
SMBs can mitigate this staff shortage by using managed IT services. With managed IT services, businesses can outsource some or all of their IT needs to a third-party provider. This allows businesses to focus on their core competencies while still having access to the latest IT technologies and expertise.
However, enterprises are again leading the charge as the SWZD report shows that 21% of their IT budgets will be spent on managed services compared to 14% for SMBs.
Finally, technology is another key difference between enterprise IT management and SMB IT management. Enterprises usually have access to the latest and greatest IT technologies. They can afford to invest in cutting-edge technologies because they have the budgets to do so. Also, they are in a better position to take on the risk that comes with new technologies because they have the resources to mitigate any potential problems. So, they are more likely to experiment with new technologies and be early adopters.
SMBs, on the other hand, are usually lagging regarding technology. They usually can’t afford to invest in cutting-edge technologies and are more risk-averse. So, they are more likely to wait for new technologies to mature before adopting them.
These differences in technology adoption can be attributed to the different IT budgets of enterprises and SMBs. Enterprises have the budgets to invest in cutting-edge technologies, while SMBs often have to make do with what they can afford.
Benefits of adopting the enterprise IT management approach
Adopting an enterprise IT management approach might seem out of the realm of possibility for many SMBs. However, it might not be as daunting if one were to look at it as a system guided by certain principles rather than a rigid set of specific practices. Here are some benefits that SMBs can expect to see by adopting an enterprise IT management approach:
- Improved efficiency and productivity. By centralizing IT management, businesses can eliminate silos and duplication of effort. This leads to improved efficiency and productivity as teams can focus on their core competencies and leave IT infrastructure management to the experts.
- Cost savings. One of the main benefits of enterprise IT management is cost savings. By consolidating IT management, businesses can save on costs associated with managing multiple IT systems. They can also take advantage of economies of scale to get better deals on IT products and services.
- Improved decision-making. With centralized IT management, businesses have access to better data and analytics. This allows for more informed decision-making as businesses can make use of data-driven insights to guide their decisions.
- Increased agility. With an enterprise IT management system in place, businesses can quickly adapt to changing market conditions and technologies. They can also easily scale up or down as needed without having to worry about the management of IT infrastructure.
- Improved business outcomes. Ultimately, the goal of any business is to improve its bottom line and increase the value of its business. Adopting an enterprise IT management system will enable SMBs to leverage the full force of IT to achieve these goals.
How to make the switch to enterprise IT management
The benefits of enterprise IT management are clear, but switching from SMB IT management can be daunting. Here are some tips on how to make the transition:
Change your mindset
The first step is to change your mindset from seeing IT as a cost center to seeing it as a strategic asset. Instead of your IT department being there just to keep the servers on, it should be seen as a key player in helping your business achieve its goals.
However, enterprise IT can do much more than that. It can help you comply with regulations, reduce fraud, and even make your accounting software run more efficiently.
Also, effective financial networking solutions are critical today because they provide the ability to connect with clients, share documents securely, and process transactions quickly.
Once you start seeing IT as a strategic asset, it will be easier to justify the investment in enterprise IT management.
Define your goals
Once you decide to switch to enterprise IT management, you need to define your goals. What are you hoping to achieve by making this switch? Do you want to improve efficiency, reduce costs, or increase agility? Once you’ve defined your goals, you can start planning how to achieve them.
Assess your current IT infrastructure
Take a look at your current IT infrastructure and identify what needs to be improved. Do you need to update your hardware, software, or both? Are your systems integrated? Do you have the right tools and processes in place to support your goals?
Many companies still use a traditional approach to network management, which involves manually configuring devices and managing them individually. This can be time-consuming and error-prone. Instead, solutions should be tailored to the industry the network resides.
Build a business case
Once you’ve identified your goals and assessed your current IT infrastructure, you need to build a business case for why your business should switch to enterprise IT management. This business case should include a detailed plan on how you will achieve your goals and the benefits your business will see.
Get buy-in from stakeholders
Getting buy-in from key stakeholders is essential, even if your SMB is a family business. You need to make sure that everyone is on board with the plan and that they understand the benefits of making the switch. Otherwise, you’ll likely encounter resistance.
Implement a pilot program
Once you have buy-in from stakeholders, you can start implementing a pilot program to test your enterprise IT management system. This will help you work out any kinks and ensure your system is ready for rollout.
Roll out your enterprise IT management system
Once you’ve successfully implemented a pilot program, you can roll out your management system to your entire organization. Of course, this will require some changes to your processes and procedures, but it will be worth it in the end.
Enterprise IT might differ from SMB IT, but it really shouldn’t. The current business environment is one in which technology has become integral to almost all aspects of running a business. From communicating with customers to processing transactions to managing employee productivity, IT is now involved in some way or another.
Therefore, SMBs need to have a sound IT management strategy in place. By switching to enterprise IT management, SMBs can reap the many benefits that come with it, including increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved agility.
Even after successfully switching, you need to monitor your system and make adjustments as needed. Things will change over time, so you need to be flexible and ready to adapt. Achieve that flexibility and deep visibility with Auvik.