Growing businesses are often challenged with questions such as, “Should I switch from in-house to an outsourced IT provider? What are the pros and cons of IT outsourcing?”
Suppose your business is looking to invest in a managed service provider (MSP). In that case, you should consider the benefit your company will receive from outsourced IT as a whole, as well as from the specific provider you’re considering. This article will guide you through the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing your company’s IT so you can decide if managed IT services are right for your business.
Pros of Managed IT Services
IT Outsourcing Knowledge and Resources
If your business relies upon one or a few in-house IT professionals, you’re likely restricted to the knowledge and schedules of those few individuals. When you outsource your IT to an experienced provider, your company will benefit from the expertise and availability of a team of professionals receiving continuous training and information on the latest technology. If you’re looking for a more strategic approach towards IT, consider choosing a provider with CIO-level consulting services.
Hardware and software are rapidly changing, and it can be challenging to keep up with the latest developments in the industry. Outsourced IT providers generally have relationships with vendors that will provide your business with the technology you need, sometimes at a lower cost than you would have paid on your own.
Outsourced IT providers can make the best security recommendations for your business because they know what new technology is available and have experience implementing advanced tools into many different clients’ systems.
Most IT providers offer 24/7/365 remote monitoring services to ensure your network remains secure even when you’re not working. Continuous monitoring is necessary to reduce the downtime your employees’ experience and increase productivity across the organization.
An outsourced IT provider will have the team and resources you need to help your business prepare for and effectively respond to an IT emergency. If your business relies upon an in-house person, you’re limited to the knowledge and experience of a few techs. Your in-house techs will have fewer resources and less workforce to resolve critical issues. This can result in hours of downtime or potential data loss if the problem is not handled correctly. In addition, your business could be responsible for the repair costs and the legal and financial penalties that can result from data breaches, potentially damaging current and future client relationships.
Predictable Cost and Billing
While in-house may seem predictable, your business will still have to handle and pay for turnover, vacations, sick leave, etc. If you choose an IT provider that bills per user, you can be sure your IT spend every month.
IT Outsourcing CAN Reduce Business Costs
The cost of training, health insurance, employment taxes, etc., associated with having an in-house IT team can add up. IT outsourcing eliminates the operating costs that accompany the management and oversight of internal IT employees. For the price of one internal IT expert, you could get an entire team of experts.
Focus on Your Core Competencies
It’s common for businesses to have one person wearing multiple hats within the company, one of which is IT. This can make it difficult for the individual(s) to focus on their designated role and negatively affect the company and employee. By outsourcing your company’s IT needs, employees will be free to spend more time focusing on creating value for your business.
Cons of Managed IT Services
Suppose your business uses outdated equipment, dozens of firewalls, differing software, etc.. In that case, a reliable IT services provider will require you to upgrade and purchase new hardware and software to meet their service standards.
A provider cannot effectively manage 25 different firewalls and deliver the service levels promised. In addition, a makeover of this caliber can be costly at the start as your business will be required to invest in new technology and equipment. However, the long-term benefits the transition facilitates can boost the productivity and efficiency of your organization, paving the way for future growth and success.
Potentially Disappointing Service
Outsourcing your IT doesn’t guarantee your business will receive adequate service levels and results. There are thousands of IT service providers in the marketplace, and many of them may be unable to serve your business effectively.
Before signing a contract, make sure the IT provider’s service level agreement (SLA) establishes a precise response and resolution time that they’re required to maintain throughout their contract with your business. In addition, ensure you understand the agreement before you sign and ask the provider’s current and former clients about their experience. Essentially, do your research and understand what services you are receiving and how/when they will be delivered.
Your IT Guy Isn’t Across the Hall (Remote Support)
Businesses are often reluctant to switch from an in-house solution because they’re accustomed to having their IT person right down the hall. However, the comfort of an on-site IT person can be misleading. Although it may be more convenient to use an in-house solution, it’s not always more effective.
An established outsourced IT provider will likely employ a ticketing system to triage issues based on their urgency. It can be frustrating for staff to adjust to waiting for their problems to be resolved. Still, the IT service provider’s SLA should outline expected response and resolution times to ensure your employees are not being delayed by poor or slow service. Essentially, a structured ticketing process is a sign of a more mature IT provider. Once a company’s members acclimate to the change, the process can be beneficial in helping prioritize and resolve IT issues.
Today’s technology has become so sophisticated that providers can remotely deliver the same level of service as an on-site technician. If your business’s IT issue is classified as a priority in your provider’s outsourcing agreement. You could have someone working on your issue in a matter of minutes.
One of the most common objections we hear when a company is looking to outsource their IT is, “I don’t feel comfortable letting someone else handle my network and data.” This concern is valid. When selecting an IT services provider, ask to review their incident and change management controls to ensure the provider’s processes align with IT best practices. In addition, your business must be 100% comfortable with the knowledge, skills, and resources of the outsourced IT provider you choose.
Today’s business is almost entirely dependent on technology. Your organization cannot be successful without a dependable and secure IT environment to support your processes and needs. At Aldridge, we will understand your business and develop solutions that will promote growth and success. View our IT outsourcing services to find out more about what we can do for your business.