Written by: Daniel Haurey on 08/18/13

You’ve heard the adage, “a little knowledge can be dangerous”, or “I know enough to be dangerous”. If there is one thing I’ve learned during the last two decades supporting small business owners and their IT systems is that, scenarios that involve “That Guy”, the guy that “knows a little” rarely turn out well.

“That Guy” could be that office clerk that took a few computer classes in nineties, perhaps Lotus 1, 2, 3 or WordPerfect, or the A/R manager that has a minor in computer information systems. You’ve likely met That Guy. More often these days, he’s the younger guy in the office that somehow sold himself as the “office techie” because he helped the boss with her smartphone at some point. That Guy also has the uncanny ability to magically fix that pesky printer jam and always knows the best free apps to download. Heck, he can find the closest mocha latte in 5 seconds flat on his iPhone. Here’s a newsflash for you small business owners or persons in charge of IT. THAT GUY IS BAD NEWS! And contrary to what you might think, That Guy ends up costing you money, productivity and heartache. Trust me!

It’s completely obvious that the organization that hired us as their IT consultants realized that they needed IT support beyond that of which That Guy could handle. In other words, everyone agrees that, That Guy could never handle the IT support needs of the company on this own. But That Guy has coveted the attention and admiration of the powers that be, AKA, the one’s that sign the checks. And he is now taken on the antagonistic role in the organization of Chief IT Critic. He always seems to know a better way. He isn’t quite able to make it happen on his own, but he sure instills enough doubt in the current or recommended method to make people think he does.

So when the well-thought-out professional guidance and recommendations come in, in the form of quotes and proposals from the IT support company, That Guy has something to say about it. In fact, the quote might have to cross his desk for some level of approval too. You see, That Guy needs to throw his hat in the ring. He needs to assert himself and challenge the professional recommendations of the actual IT experts. After all, those guys aren’t doctors or lawyers, they’re just IT guys, and IT guys can’t be trusted, right? I mean, everyone knows that hooking up a wireless router is as easy as installing a blender. And if That Guy could do it in his apartment, heck, how different can it be at the office?

In reality, That Guy really hasn’t a clue as to what he’s talking about. But the small business owner feels compelled to listen because after all, That Guy is on his/her team, sitting on the same side of the desk. And That Guy just wants to save the company money, right? I mean, what other motivation would he have, job security or brownie points?

Advice from That Guy will typically include the utilization of free software and free cloud services. Why pay for email and cloud file storage? It’s free these days, right? That guy frequently challenges the recommendations of the IT company. For example, if the IT support firm recommends a wireless router that costs $200-$300, That Guy will jump at the chance to advise the small business owner that, the $59 router that he uses in his apartment has been “just fine”. And it’s on sale at Staples this week! It’s another win for the That Guy, who just singlehandedly saved the company real money and foiled another dastardly plot from the IT support company to bleed the business owner of her hard earned money.

As hard as it may be, please, think twice about listening to That Guy. I swear, we’ve studied long and hard to do what we do, invested thousands of dollars in training and certification and have benefited from decades of experience. Please, let That Guy do what you hired him to do. Let your certified public accountant give you financial advice, and let you board certified doctor give you medical advice. Finally, for the best, long term results let your certified IT experts give you technology advice.