Written by Chris Thornton
Who should take care of your small business’ IT infrastructure? Can your employees get the job done… or is it worth investing in an outside team?
Most small business owners understand the importance of IT. As your business changes, so will your IT needs and while you may have been able to handle everything in-house at one point,new software, innovations and practices may make it necessary to consider outsourcing.
Of course, as a managed service provider, our business is built on outsourced IT contracts, but sometimes taking IT in house is the best decision for the client. Outsourced IT isn’t right for every business, but we’re always there to support major business decisions, and bring an impartial perspective…
To help you get a better grip on the process, we’re exploring the pros and cons ofoutsourced IT management…
Outsourcing IT means gaining a much wider range of expertise than you have in-house. While your own team may be perfectly comfortable with current needs, your IT situation can quickly change – an outsourced IT team of 5-10 will have a much greater depth of knowledge, giving you years ofspecialised experience in handling specific challenges.
Outsourcing means cost savings: you won’t have totrain and pay for your own full-time IT personnel (in what is a highly technical role). The scalability of outsourced IT also means you’ll only pay for services you use. Beyond costs, outsourcing also saves valuable time: with third party teams handling your IT, internal staff are free to focus on increasing sales and productivity.
The less you invest in your own IT systems, the more you may ultimately have to pay to upgrade and support them as they get older. With an experienced outsourced IT team, any system upgrades that need to be made to keep your business efficient are covered as part of an ongoing IT Strategy. You can budget in advance, rather than facing a sudden bill should your systems fail unexpectedly.
Outsourcing IT means avoiding common hardware issues, likechoosing and purchasing servers or finding suitable software platforms. Many small businesses struggle with having the knowledge and expertise to buy the right kit. Your support company will help you with this key area.
Outsourced IT experts will understand how to protect your business from virus and malware threats, hackers and disasters. Your cyber-security will be kept up to date and automated across your network.
Outsourcing IT means not having to worry about repairs, updates and maintenance – which will be automated or handled by your external team at reduced risk to your company.
Since you won’t have an on-site ‘expert’ that you can turn to for advice, having poor communication with your outsource team may adversely affect the smooth-running of your IT infrastructure. Outsourced IT teams may not be able to address smaller IT queries immediately, but you can be sure that in the event of a disaster, your IT system will be prioritised to get you back up and running as soon as possible.
Internal employees may not have the experience and expertise of an external IT team but will be much more familiar with your set-up and its requirements. This unfamiliarity extends to business relationships: your employees will have to learn to work with and trust your outsource team’s knowledge and judgement.
Handing over elements of your IT system to an outside IT team can mean losing an element of personal choice in the tools which serve your business, as well as a lack of control over them once they are part of your businesses IT Infrastructure. However, Outsourcing gives you a better chance of finding out about new and exciting technologies which could improve your Network. Experienced outsourcers will regularly discuss emerging technologies and how they can benefit the client.
The beauty of the modern IT landscape, powered by cloud computing, is its flexibility and versatility. With that in mind, your decision to outsource doesn’t need to be ‘either/or’ – you could opt for a ‘best of both worlds’ approach to your business IT systems. This may involve having an internal IT staff member working on everyday IT tasks, whilst an outsourced managed service provider supports more technical tasks, such as server maintenance or IT strategy, plus any project work that an internal IT team would not have time for.
Ultimately, the decision to outsource should come down to business goals: small businesses have access to a powerful array ofIT platforms and services – so an effective solution is out there for both outsourced and on-site IT environments. Remember, the decision to outsource isn’t set-in-stone: as your business changes – or as new technology emerges – there’s no reason you can’t re-calibrate to better suit the new shape of your organisation.
Confused about whether to outsource or not? Struggling to manage every part of your IT infrastructure? Let us help you find a solution…