Written by Shackleton Technologies
The majority of people in my business circle know that I enjoy little more of a working day than sitting down with a business associate and having a chat over some coffee. It was during one of these chats that the conversation rolled around to “Who actually looks after your IT?”.
It turned out that the answer was Davie. “Ok – and who’s Davie?” I asked.
Davie was an engineer in this particular small business and he was the guy who made sure everything ticked away like clockwork. He had this responsibility because “he knew all about IT”…
Whilst this exchange is certainly not one of the more usual responses we hear, the sentiment remains the same. “Who looks after your IT?” is the question, rewarded with “We do it ourselves”, “There’s not much to it”, “I’m not spending money on an IT company when I can do it myself” and various iterations of these responses. All well and good, until you consider the age old maxim of “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur”.
Quite often, in fact, almost every time I get these responses they are correct. The internal staff are managing the company’s IT infrastructure pretty well. Unfortunately, just because things generally work ok, doesn’t mean they are working properly.
It’s unlikely vital software and security updates are happening, leaving holes wide open for nefarious sorts to exploit. Are the backups being checked or even carried out? Possibly, but most likely not – and even if they are, they may be using Windows Server Backup, a system very much now out of date, but the one that Davie knows all about.
Oh! And how’s Davie’s knowledge on the intricacies of Microsoft licensing? Is everyone on the correct version of Office and should you be considering Office 365 instead? What are you asking Davie for? He’s an Engineer.
Even removing all the above issues, let’s suggest Davie has his fingers on the IT pulse and excels in his role as internal IT guy. He’s also a pretty good Engineer isn’t he? Otherwise he’d not be in the job.
So, what’s a good going rate for a guy of Davie’s experience and talent if he’s outsourced to a client? Maybe a £500-£600 day rate wouldn’t be too far out of the scale for his talents – he’s been doing the job for 20 years after all! OK, now bearing that in mind, how much time does he spend on internal IT issues?
On this occasion, it turned out to be 1 day every fortnight on average – or around £1,200 per month in lost outsourcing revenue for that business. Can we outsource our IT yet?
And this is where we find ourselves now. The engineering company in question now has a support contract with Shackleton. Their infrastructure is secure; they have a password policy; their backups are happening and working. Their hardware is all fit for purpose with a plan in place to replace older systems over the next two years. Their entire team can get access to emails and documents on the move, their mobile devices are looked after and they rarely call us – as everything is just working.
Davie is delighted as he loves being an Engineer. He trained to be one and loves nothing more than problem solving their client’s kit out on site. The Managing Director is happy and sleeps well knowing his business is as secure as it can be.
Davie did a sterling job over the last couple of years and kept the IT afloat on quite meagre budgets and expectations. But now, anyone can see the improvements made due to the involvement of a dozen highly trained IT professionals, with their cumulative over 100 years of experience. Their years of constant and ongoing training combined with the tireless research and development we do every day give them the ability to take a confusing subject like IT and talk to clients in language they understand.
This outsourcing dilemma is faced by every business. Should I outsource my accounts? payroll? marketing etc., etc. My advice is to do your homework – undertake a 360 degree review of the business and look at the business areas that an expert can really help you with. You may find through time that outsourcing certain aspects of your business is one of the best decisions you have made.