The estimates of lost productivity are reportedly a direct result of the ‘involuntary’ managers, IITMs, taking time away from their primary business role and subsequent activities.
The issue is raised in a report by AMI-Partners, commissioned by Microsoft, which looked at the prevalence of the IITM role in nine countries in North America, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia, focusing specifically on the adverse business productivity impact of IITMs in small business (SMBs) in Australia, Brazil, Chile, India and the United States. The study surveyed 538 IITMs in small businesses with 100 employees or less.
And, although the SMBS in all the countries surveyed spent $83 billion on IT and communications, the report highlights the fact, paradoxically, that they lost the $24 billion in productivity trying to manage their internal IT.
Of the five countries surveyed Australian IITMs recorded the lowest level of lost productivity hours wasted, although the report stresses that the loss still represents a significant economic impact to Australian small businesses’ bottom lines.
In his blog, Microsoft Australia’s SMB Director, Gianpaolo Carraro, says that he regularly speaks to small and medium sized businesses (SMB’s), who tell him it is regular practice for one person to fulfil multiple business roles.
“In Australia, there are 1.2 million SMBs who represent over 96 percent of all Australian businesses and 33 percent of Australia’s GDP (OECD.org, 2012). Within these often lean teams, small businesses don’t always have the luxury of IT, HR and finance departments, so many employees will be given multiple responsibilities within the company,” Carraro says.
“The pressures of running a small business can mean that an employee in the company is forced into the uncomfortable position of diverting their attention from meeting critical business needs to managing an immediate problem with the company’s IT systems. This person, often the most tech-savvy employee in the company, is then saddled with the unofficial role of the ‘Involuntary IT Manager’.”