There’s no such thing as a typical business any more. Not everyone works nine-to-five, has a shop-front or even sees their customers. As a result, inspired entrepreneurs and global giants can be found scratching their heads on many of the same questions. IT just happens to be one of them.
Its role has arguably become one of the most important in growing businesses, with increased demands for systems that are easier to manage for everything from HR and accounting to customer service.
Even keeping pace with the competition on website design, SEO, digital marketing, social media and CRM is a constant challenge. So, the question is not why would I invest in IT? But rather, how can I make the most of it, without spending the most on it?
If your business is just starting out or you’re questioning the merits of an in-house team that’s paid around the clock (whether you’re investing in IT development or not), it’s time to think about the benefits of IT outsourcing.
There’s no doubt an in-house team can be a valuable resource, but in some cases it’s overkill and an unnecessary expense if budgets are on the squeeze.
Good in-house teams need strong management, on-going training, competitive salaries, benefit packages and meaty projects that keep them interested. Otherwise, you can invest until the cows come home and still see your best talent walk because they don’t feel challenged or see big enough opportunities on the horizon. On top of that, they may spend their days tackling mundane IT fixes that leave the bigger challenges and potential to improve on the back burner.
Outsourcing technical support allows you to sidestep all of that and focus on IT as a key contributor to business growth. It allows you to hire a specialist resource as your very own virtual CIO, as and when it’s required, which means the right person, at the right time at an agreed price.
Most IT service providers will employ an extensive team with specialist skills. They’re likely to be certified by key industry suppliers and armed with the latest information and insights - all of which they can employ using best-practice processes.
Remember, not every company is in IT development mode all of the time. That’s the beauty of outsourcing, you can keep your business match-fit with an expert team who will ensure day-to-day operational efficiency and ramp up resources when there’s a real business need and available budget.
The case for an in-house team usually includes things like being able to train employees to understand unique business needs and having dedicated resources should a disaster recovery incident occur. But even those aren’t compelling enough reasons any more if you’re open to transferring that ownership to another IT support service.
An outsourced team can respond and act immediately on your behalf, and they can advise on and put in place an effective business continuity plan. The only difference is you won’t be paying through the nose while they wait on a call that might never come.
They’re not just a ‘break-fix’ service either. Good IT partners will look beyond maintenance and use tools to manage and monitor your network, flagging potential issues before they become bigger problems, and highlighting where there is potential for better practices, better technology and better business outcomes for you. In short, they offer a proactive approach aimed at saving your business time and money down the line, and increasing your business potential.
Thumbs up for outsourcing:
- You can develop or upgrade IT systems on demand, even with simple migrations to the likes of Google Apps or Office 365
- Hand-pick skill-sets and in-depth knowledge to match business projects and priorities
- You can afford the team you need
- Avoid the need to compromise on project scope because of in-house expertise
- You can hire for longer periods or short bursts, planning spend and keeping budgets tight
- Deliver entire projects and keep systems agile without scheduling months in advance
- Projects are managed end-to-end with shared wrap up reports, analysis and recommendations, so you can act with insight going forward
- You can invest less in equipment and software without risking efficiency
- You can build in added value using contractor’s tools or by asking them to include the cost of equipment hire in their fee, so you don’t have to buy things you might never use again
- You can learn from the best in IT and technology without the cost of training them
- Build lasting partnerships with people who are motivated about getting to know and growing your business
This kind of effective and cost-efficient IT resourcing can make a huge difference to any businesses P&L. In the end, it might just be good old fashioned common sense that convinces you to start by testing the route that requires less upfront investment and gives back when you need it most.
Find out how great IT support can help build your business or agency by downloading our eBook on the role IT plays: