For as long as IT has been a part of a business, the question of whether it is better to have an in-house IT department or to outsource it has always been asked.
Successful management of IT costs and efficiency is essential to the success of the modern industry. If the computer systems of a company continually break down or cause other problems, productivity can very quickly grind to a halt.
In order to ensure that the business operates smoothly and maintains progress, there are few things more critical than getting the right IT staff and systems in place. However, business owners still find it difficult to choose whether to retain their IT services in-house or outsource them to a well-established service provider.
In smaller companies, it is quite often left to the most tech-savvy employees to provide informal IT support. This can work for a while, but as systems become more complex, it may evolve to beyond the capabilities of the individuals or affect productivity as too much time and resources are spent on it.
In larger firms, an IT department may function, but it may find itself swamped with issues and offering user support instead of focusing on developing an IT strategy.
Here, we will briefly look at the advantages and disadvantages of outsourced IT support to help you decide on the best approach.
- There are items included in outsourced IT help that you may still be paying for separately. For example, many service providers offer antivirus solutions, email filtering and backup in the support contract. This can mean substantial cost savings.
- Outsourced IT services give you access to a wider spectrum of expertise and experience. The IT support firm will have a selection of trained professionals with a range of specialities.
- Access to a larger team often reduces holiday and illness issues. This means continued support and a greatly reduced chance of downtime.
- You will free up internal resources. Your workers can go back to what they need to do in-house and increase productivity.
- Some businesses may not be comfortable handing over control of their IT systems, particularly as they are so vital to the functioning of their business.
- It can be tough to find a partner. It is crucial that the IT support company understands your goals, expectations and values. The ideal partner should feel like a branch of your company rather than just a supplier.
- Some businesses want more visibility and face to face communication. Most of the services will be handled remotely, and this could be a deterrent to those who want more face-to-face communication.
- Protection, the confidentiality of information and transparency may also be a concern. You will be giving access to information and control over your systems to a third party, and you will need to be confident with what they are doing and having adequate controls, processes and protection in place.
Some businesses will find that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Others will find that the downsides of outsourcing IT services are too much, and will keep it in-house. You need to make a decision based on the particular needs of you and your business.