Transparency is of particular importance to SMEs, and information technology has great potential to narrow the information gap. This explains why SMEs need the services of a Technical Support to allow them to grow into larger firms.

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises/Businesses are non-subsidiary, private firms and employ less than a given number of employees. The Central Bank of Nigeria defines small and medium enterprises in Nigeria according to asset base and number of staff employed. The criteria are an asset base that is between N5 million to N500 million, and a staff strength that is between 11 to 100 employees.

With the increasing rate of internet/computer users most SME’s are now following that path, there is always a desktop, laptop, scanner or printer in every small office in Nigeria. Also, in some medium sized enterprise that manage their infrastructure in-house there is the presence of high end devices like servers, routers, firewalls and switches. All these technologies are geared towards achieving business growth for the SMEs.

Transparency is of particular importance to SMEs, and information technology has great potential to narrow the information gap. It would be of great help to set up a “one-stop-shop system”, where all the necessary information which affects firm strategies and decisions is made available in one place, as exists already in Enterprise or large firm. Nevertheless, the sustenance of these technologies and ensuring they contribute to the business growth of these SMEs will only be possible if appropriate support is given to the equipment. This is the gap, Technical support staff fills.

A technical support staff is the person responsible for monitoring and controlling computer systems and equipment in an organization. He or she is responsible for troubleshooting software and hardware problems, monitoring batch processing, maintaining and improving system performance and online availability, maintaining all system and application documentation, and assisting personnel. The technical support staff ensures the smooth running of computer devices by offering series of services which may include installation or upgrade of computer components or software, provision of routine automation tools (scripts).

Most SME’s employ graduates that are computer literates rather than a technical support staff, however, a computer literate is limited in knowledge of computer operation, support, and administration. Using the computer notepad, using Microsoft excel or printing a document from the printer are basics a computer literate can do, but most businesses will rely on technical support personnel to resolve issues including constraints in receiving and sending of mails, creation and verification of backup of the company’s data, connecting to the internet, troubleshooting and maintenance of network printers and scanners, provision of technical support for hardware and software issues, Saving the business cost, time(automation) and space(virtualization), and for businesses that have high end equipment like servers, they need a Technical Support staff to administer the infrastructure and also upgrade systems and processes as required for enhanced functionality and security.

The roles of a technical support staff in any organization particularly SMEs are vast and cannot be ignored. Innovative SMEs are those that tend to be technology-driven rather than research-driven, and quicker in responding to new opportunities than large firms. Every technology incline firm understands the pivotal need of Technical support resource personnel. They play a key role in pioneering and developing new markets through the use of technology. Technical support engineer can also be liken to the foundation of an SMEs in the sense that they provide security of information, ensures systems are up and running with no downtime and most importantly takes care of technical needs of the company so others can focus on productive business.

Writer: Abayomi Ibrahim (End-User Support Engineer)

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