Everything You Need to Know About IT Outsourcing Services
Outsourcing IT: Worth the Investment?
It’s not a mystery most businesses rely on IT in some fashion. Technology is a crucial linchpin in determining the success (or failure) of a modern enterprise, so naturally, there’s a lot of investment in the market. But a daunting issue many organizations face is a lack of in-house IT expertise. The reasons for this are various: either lack of trained staff, lack of availability, or cost. In some cases, a combination of all three.
The modern world has a solution, however. IT outsourcing and Managed IT Services and the utilization of third parties is a common practice for various organizations, especially small-to-mid sized ones. Outsourcing grants all the reliability and expertise of experienced IT staff/services, without the full investment required for on-site training. If your business needs IT but you can’t facilitate your staff, read on – there are plenty of things to know before outsourcing IT.
What IT Outsourcing Involves
IT outsourcing can, essentially, fulfill any designated role for IT needs. Everything from cloud hosting to cybersecurity monitoring are characteristics found in outsourced IT service models – not to mention the cost savings. Depending on your needs, outsourcing IT is reactive and “customizable,” meaning you can acquire all necessary services – no more or less.
Some of the critical benefits found in IT outsourcing are:
- Security monitoring, backup-disaster recovery, and network monitoring
- Virtualization and cloud-hosting services
- Active, year-round support (in most service models)
- Cost efficiency
- Reactive staff, AKA rotating experts on a needed, case-by-case basis
Advantages of I.T. Outsourcing
Let’s examine those benefits in more detail. To start, we’ll address one of the key areas most businesses are looking to save on, namely cost. No matter the size of your organization, anyone can use a little more capital and financial flexibility. IT outsourcing helps with this in lots of direct (and indirect) ways.
For starters, outsourcing allows you to hire active staff as often as needed, without the investment of training. Depending on the company needs, required are valued experts for various projects, and the hiring process is both costly and time-consuming. But with the multiple options provided by an MSP or IT provider, you can bolster teams with additional help, useful for fundamental business objectives.
Additionally, outsourcing provides fixed, predictable costs. Providers generally apply a rate based on services needed, so you’re only paying for what you use, instead of a flat fee. This is great for reactive finances, meaning you can add/remove services as needed. You might need a long-term server hosting greater than a yearly period. Or, you might need a month of security monitoring while you set up additional infrastructure.
Even better, as you begin to funnel tasks to the appropriate third parties, you relieve your own IT. When in-house staff is the only ones handling all IT issues, efficiency takes a hit and with lost productivity. Imagine expert IT needing to solve minor problems like password resets, basic tech questions, or even message forwarding. Outsourcing IT tasks like these to third parties allows your experts to do their job better, ultimately leading to a more efficient enterprise.
These are only a handful of ways outsourcing benefits your enterprise, but there are numerous more. Some additional advantages to outsourcing include:
Security Monitoring and BDR
As we mentioned, an MSP can monitor your networks for improved security while providing critical backup options in case of a network emergency.
Cloud Management and Virtualization
Cloud infrastructure is invaluable as modern technology and utilized by outsourced IT, creating virtualized services for apps, software, and storage platforms.
Access to Experienced IT Staff
One fantastic benefit to outsourcing IT is access to technology veterans. These experts can resolve a variety of mission-critical problems, assist with major projects, and provide valuable insights.
Problems of I.T. Outsourcing
Though we’ve gone over the myriad of advantages offered by outsourced IT and MSPs, they do have some drawbacks worth understanding. Outsourcing is not always the right solution for your enterprise, and we’ll explore a few of those reasons below.
Loss of Organization Control
Depending on how far-reaching the outsourcing process is, a business can lose direct control over its various services and infrastructure. It is one thing to rely on outsourced IT for messaging, backup, and minor utilities, but when major processes, such as security monitoring, are overseen by third-party IT, you’re relying on a secondary entity. In many cases, this is not preferred by businesses.
While it’s possible to access valuable IT experts through third parties, it’s just as likely to find lower quality work which can affect all points of your enterprise. Customer service, for instance, can suffer if outsourced drastically.
Depending on the provider, timezone differences (among other issues) can create barriers in response. In certain circumstances, this can cause severe problems (imagine having a mission-critical issue which relies on outsourced IT). Part of smart outsourcing decisions is considering potential delays in communication.
Aside from these, outsourcing can cause friction within the company culture. Relying on infrastructure services can cause employees to feel threatened or devalued, potentially leading to high turnover rates and other unforeseen problems. It’s important to treat an outsourcing plan as a gap-filler, simultaneously valuing your own IT experts while bringing in assistance where necessary.
IT Outsourcing Companies
Now, you have a clearer understanding of the positive and negative qualities often found with IT outsourcing. So the question is, how do you choose the right provider? What criteria should you establish when searching for an MSP? While the answer is ultimately your organization’s decision, here are a few pointers in picking the right one.
Managed Service Provider (MSP)
MSPs are capable of offering the various support options we’ve discussed in this article, and often a go-to choice for many enterprises. If you’re looking for a resource which can assist with data storage, monitoring, local and cloud backups, customer service, virtualization and more, an MSP is often the right call.
Provides various service models like SaaS (software as a service) and virtualization. A good option if your enterprise needs to expand infrastructure quickly, such as adding virtual servers or integrating new staff. We do a lot of work with Microsoft Office 365 services to keep your organization running and communicating efficiently.
Convenient and a handy way to bring in workers from anywhere, onshoring allows a company to hire individual specialists regardless of the location which is typically on a contract or temporary basis. Usually said specialists fill various roles and work from home. They don’t require training, saving on costs, and are typically found locally (United States).
Also common, this designates IT services to offshore models. India and China are frequent players in this field, typically handling off-hour customer support (or the support function as a whole).
Once you understand which model best suits you, your company can establish proper criteria. Factors to consider are the cost, services required, and efficiency associated with IT outsourcing. For instance, if you need network monitoring and improved security, offshoring doesn’t fit your enterprise needs.
IT competency often determines the success or efficiency of a business, so it is crucial that your enterprise isn’t left behind. Therefore, IT outsourcing provides a whole world of options for filling service gaps and improving organizational efficiency. If you find your business falling behind in any of the categories we discussed, consider an MSP. It can save you the headache of low-quality investments and ultimately recharge your infrastructure.
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