What are the Pros and Cons of Outsourcing IT?
It was in the 1980s when outsourced IT solutions started gaining traction. Since then, outsourced IT has continued to dominate the services sourcing industry. Further, an increasing number of organizations view IT as a strategic function that requires adequate resources and commitment. Yet, a critical decision is determining whether to partner with an outsourced IT vendor. Invariably, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. It’s critical you choose the right vendor for your company. In addition, it makes sense for enterprise companies to have in-house IT, but small-to-midsize companies find outsourced IT more flexible and cost-effective. So, what is the best option? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.
IT as a function in small-to-midsize companies
IT is crucial for small-to-midsize companies to help attain a competitive advantage and level the playing field. Basic IT functions may include:
- Data center operations
- Application development
- IT employee support
- End-user support
Also, data centers are not as essential as they used to be due to the growth of the cloud. Moreover, automation technologies have evolved replacing many tasks formerly managed by data center operators and managers.
What about IT skill sets?
If you’re a digital company, IT is a strategic function. As a result, IT professionals must have extensive experience in the following:
Documentation, for noting processes and products for fellow IT colleagues.
- Databases, since the foundation of most software programs.
- Quality assurance, which is central to application and system development.
- Networks, because everything is connected and understanding is vital for troubleshooting.
- HTML, for coding a website quickly.
Other marketable skills and proficiencies for IT professionals, include:
- Application development
- Project management
- Help desk/technical support
- Security/compliance governance
- Website development
- Business intelligence/analytics
- Big data
Now that you have a better idea of essential skill sets for IT professionals, do they describe your current in-house team? Does it make more sense to go with outsourced IT?
Pros and cons of outsourcing IT
Typically, outsourced IT solutions provide a way to reduce costs associated with searching for, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and retaining a complete IT team. You can achieve a leaner overhead while only paying for what you use.
Since you don’t have a huge upfront capital investment, outsourced IT helps to free up internal resources needed for key internal functions. Instead of outspending your financial resources on expensive hardware, storage, and software licenses, you can retain funds for marketing or product development.
Outsourcing IT offers access to a team of certified experts. You can’t become an expert on every technology and neither can your in-house team. On the other hand, outsourcing IT means you gain access to experts who continuously stay on top of up-and-coming technologies relevant to your business.
Outsourcing IT helps to mitigate the risk associated with purchasing the wrong technologies and also using technologies the wrong way.
Further, an outsourced IT vendor will offer digital leadership to provide the right type of infrastructure customized and aligned with your business objectives. Further, when you outsource IT, you can level the playing field and access the latest technologies usually only available for companies with enterprise budgets. Therefore, your business can also grow using the right applications, systems, and networks.
It is difficult to find the right vendor. In the digital age, IT affects every aspect of an organization. It’s critical to take time to research and search for the right vendor that is a good fit for your company.
Outsourced IT means you have to give up some level of control. For some organizations, letting go isn’t always easy. However, when you outsource IT, you free up time for you and your team members to focus on strategic initiatives.
Down time. A good IT vendor will have a plan in place to respond to emergencies quickly. However, a larger client’s needs may take precedence, pushing your “emergency” to the back burner. Knowing your network. In-house IT will be more knowledgeable about your network. If you outsource IT to a vendor, they’ll need time to ramp up and learn it.
To reiterate, finding the right vendor is critical because you don’t want to work with an outsourced IT firm who sends a different engineer each time your company needs in-person support. Instead, select a vendor who designates team members to your company who will take the time to understand your infrastructure and build the right relationships.
A major concern is working with an offshore company that may not practice IT compliance or understand the regulations for your country. Therefore, it becomes more of a liability rather than a benefit.
Best practices for outsourcing IT
Outsourcing IT is different for every organization. Follow these best practices for getting the most out of outsourced IT.
Create clear objectives for your partnership with your chosen vendor. Moreover, set a timeline for regular updates and determine where and how you will communicate with your vendor. Don’t forget to check out the vendor’s references and reviews. Also, make sure you have buy-in and support from every stakeholder involved in the decision-making process. Last but not least, don’t select a vendor based on price. Choose an outsourced IT vendor that aligns with your needs. As such, you have a better chance of developing a long-term relationship while optimizing your IT infrastructure.
Now, you can make a well-informed decision about outsourced IT solutions. Ready to learn more? Our team of certified IT professionals are ready to help.
Contact SSI to learn more about Outsourcing IT & get help attaining a competitive IT advantage.