Technological advances over the last decade have meant computers & the Internet are more pervasive than ever, fuelling the IT industry’s growth.
As of June 2014 IT contributed $44 billion to the Australian economy and employed 202,134 people. Businesses of all sizes rely on IT to perform daily operational functions, from administration and marketing related tasks to internal and external communications, and the bulk of a typical office worker’s day requires IT systems. Uptake of technology is showing no sign of slowing down as businesses embrace new enabling technologies – currently 30% of businesses use cloud and in the next 2 to 3 years this is expected to grow to 48%, growing to over 80% in three years. In lieu of this figure, demand for IT professional services will rise, posing the question: will they have the skills to service clients into the future?
The changing nature of IT
In the past many businesses had their own IT infrastructure & staff to setup, maintain & support internal technology functions. IT professionals perceived working within these internal departments as ideal – they provided valued specialized labour and received a good income and job security.
Meanwhile many smaller businesses went without specialized support & maintained a hands-off IT approach, avoiding technology that may have helped their business due to capital cost and operational complexity.
Over the same period of technological growth specialized outsourcing of IT has grown in popularity as a way of accessing expertise without the normal overheads.
The rise of cloud computing, a phenomenon now penetrating the lower end of the business market, means that business owners can now benefit from large scale data centres without high capital costs for infrastructure – changing the way businesses engage with IT professionals & causing uncertainty within the IT industry.
A virtual misconception
Businesses of all sizes are adopting a cloud based approach due to its ability to reduce IT related costs, & changes in software licencing means this will continue to gain momentum as the preferred methodology the majority of IT will be structured in the future.
Often a business’s contract with the cloud computing service provider is all-inclusive, and it accounts for core system upgrades and new hardware and software, this has traditionally been handled by internal IT resource. There is a belief that this eliminates the need for expert IT staff, which isn’t necessarily the case – in fact the industry is facing a skills shortage.
The major change is the IT professional’s role from Infrastructure Management to IT Process Management. IT Resources will perform the transition and management of services to the cloud environment with deployment, migration, and remote administration all key growth areas. IT professionals will need to up skill and familiarise themselves with cloud computing to stay relevant.
Cloud computing is designed to facilitate remote support & management. With the cloud engineered for external support focusing on the business network & user support rather than the infrastructure, outsourced IT will be a major opportunity emerging as part of the Cloud phenomenon. With focus shifting to business network & user support, the service delivery will be about local service provision, user relationships and the ability to provide expert advice.
The future will see a great role for IT outsourcing in IT consultancy rather than service maintenance.
The cloud: an enabler, not a threat
Computer Troubleshooters, a global franchise & Australia’s largest IT Franchise network, offers experienced IT professionals the opportunity to be their own boss, has actively embraced the technology.
By virtue of the company’s unique business model, cloud computing can be of benefit to Computer Troubleshooters franchise owners. Recent announcements regarding Microsoft’s Office 365, Hosted Exchange, and Azure are a testament to the IT industries changing requirements for businesses.
This shift in technology should provide the opportunity for businesses to shed dedicated IT staff and overheads in favour of external IT specialists – increasing the demand for services provided by experienced IT support networks such as Computer Troubleshooters.
60% of surveyed businesses indicate not having the resources to implement new technologies themselves – exposing a broader opportunity for franchise owners to service an increasing base of business customers who are embarking on the Cloud journey and need a recognized, trusted and professional expert to guide them.
Computer Troubleshooters provides IT professionals who may see their future as limited due to technological change with a new lease on life, enabling them to evolve their passion for IT. By partnering with an established brand that has developed a strategic approach to cloud support with vendors, products, and marketing materials, prospective franchise owners gain an immediate advantage in targeting this growth area.
During an initial four-day training period, new franchisees receive a tablet that includes all relevant training & business materials covering everything from cloud computing to operational procedures & sales. Computer Troubleshooters has focused resources around this significant IT inflexion point, enabling owners to provide cloud management and deployment services to clients.
Cloud computing aside, Computer Troubleshooters franchisees deliver a range of other IT services including on-site support, installation, troubleshooting and managed services, ensuring they meet the IT needs of every client. 56% of businesses want a single point of contact for their IT, supporting this managed services approach.
Whether you’re an experienced IT professional looking for a change, searching for an IT business that embraces the future, or feel your role is becoming redundant due to structural change, you’ll enjoy a challenging and rewarding career with as a business owner with the Computer Troubleshooters network.
For a better understanding of your IT Services opportunity, we encourage you to read about the Business Services our franchise owners offer their clients.
 IBISWorld, Computer System Design Services in Australia market research report, June 2014
 Benefits of cloud computing