Is IT Outsourcing a Good Idea? Here Are a Few Things to Consider
Technology is critical to the success of almost all organizations. Still, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the latest IT innovations when your team is trying to determine your business needs. There are many complex decisions to make when it comes to implementing IT solutions, and expertise is needed to navigate those decisions successfully. Most organizations find the process daunting, typically for three main reasons: they lack staff that has the proper IT expertise, there’s not enough capital to invest in the IT solutions needed, and they don’t know which IT solutions are the best fit for their organization.
IT Outsourcing may be the Solution
Many organizations, especially small- to medium-sized businesses, choose to outsource their IT solutions to a third-party provider. With a managed service like this, you get the benefit of experienced IT personnel who offer reliability and expertise, without having to invest in staffing the team internally. If your organization needs more IT services than your internal team can provide, outsourcing might be the solution.
IT Outsourcing Defined
IT Outsourcing is defined as hiring a managed service provider (MSP) or another provider to handle necessary or desired IT operations. This may include some or all of the technological functions for your organization. IT outsourcing can provide solutions for multiple components, from cybersecurity to data storage and protection to cloud hosting. Choosing the right IT outsourcing partner offers your organization a customized solution at a significantly lower cost than staffing an IT department internally.
The right IT Outsourcing partner will help with reducing costs while improving efficiency by:
- Consolidating Solutions
- Creating an IT Roadmap
- Considering the Cloud
- Investing in Cybersecurity
IT Outsourcing Advantages
The benefits of IT outsourcing are many and varied. We’ve already touched on cost savings, but IT outsourcing offers direct and indirect savings. Here are just a few:
Saving Time – and Money
With outsourcing, you can bring in trained staff who actively address your IT needs. In-house staff can be more expensive to hire and train and may lack the expertise that an outside tech partner can provide immediately. These outsourced IT experts who are on-site and capable of offering IT solutions with minimal downtime provide indirect savings to your organization.
Pay For What You Use
Outsourcing IT often allows you to agree upon a rate and hours, based on the customized services your business needs. This allows you to anticipate monthly costs while still only paying for what you use, instead of paying a flat monthly rate.
Because outsourcing allows you to customize your IT solutions, you can remove any services you don’t need, and add more of those you do. For example, you may need to add additional security for a short time as you add new features to your IT system. With IT outsourcing, this can easily be done without breaking the bank because the temporary addition is not a permanent cost.
Working with an external IT provider offers relief to your employees who no longer need to take time away from their primary roles to troubleshoot IT hiccups. The ineffectiveness of that frustration and time drain impacts your team’s productivity. An outsourced provider can remove that frustration by handling any IT problem that arises, from resetting a password to offering more complex technical solutions.
While protecting your team’s productivity, IT outsourcing provides greater control of your IT’s alignment with the company strategy, continuous active support, a better understanding of your IT needs, and the ability to minimize risk.
But is Outsourcing Right for You?
We’ve talked about the potential benefits of IT outsourcing. Now let’s look at the prospective downside of outsourcing and why it could potentially be wrong for your organization. Understanding the potential drawbacks is important when deciding if you would be better off hiring in-house IT experts.
Maintaining Control is Important
An organization can lose control of its IT structure and services when using an outside IT expert. Some business leaders might not want an outside expert to have control of every aspect of their IT structure, especially when it comes to important processes like monitoring security and protecting data.
Losing control of quality, especially related to IT, is always a fear when working with an outside expert. Quality is important in all aspects of your business, and IT affects every part of it. It’s important to do your research and take your time in assessing a potential partner in IT services. Doing your due diligence should lead you to the quality partner you’re looking for.
It’s All About Communication
Make sure that your IT expert is a good communicator, regardless of their time zone, and understand what barriers may arise to stall your partnership. Open and candid communication from both sides is key to a successful partnership.
Are Your People Feeling Threatened?
Is your staff resenting the influence of an outside IT expert? If so, it could damage your company culture and cause turnover in your organization. Again, clear communication and setting proper expectations about the role the outside experts will play are important to maintaining a good working relationship. Your IT person or team must continue to feel valued, with the outsourcing partner coming to their aid, not replacing them, when necessary.
Choosing the Right Provider
What should you be looking for in choosing an IT outsourcing provider? What are the ground rules for the relationship, and how do you know what to look for? You alone can make that decision based on your organization’s technology needs, but here are some types of outsourcing services to consider.
MSPs, Onshoring/Homeshoring, and Offshoring
Many organizations choose MSPs because they offer a variety of IT support services, including local and cloud backups, data storage, monitoring, and customer service. Make sure they’re as good as they say they are. Check reviews and customer testimonials and thoroughly discuss the knowledge their IT technicians bring to the table.
As an alternative to an MSP’s full services, some organizations may choose a less extensive option such as homeshoring or onshoring. With this model, specialists are hired as contractors and may come from anywhere to work temporarily. This can be a cost-saving measure as the contractors work from home and don’t require training.
Offshoring is similar, but as the term suggests, the IT providers are outside the US, most commonly in China or India. The benefit is that they are cost-effective and can manage requests made after hours in the US.
Once you determine which model is the best fit for your organization, consider criteria like cost, services required, reputation, specialties, efficiency, and hours of operation to make your selection.
Ensuring Strong IT Support
Effective IT support is critical to the success of your organization. If outsourcing seems right for your business needs, choosing the right partner can provide myriad options for improving services and productivity. If you want to learn more about whether or not outsourcing IT is right for you, read more about it here.