Business technology is changing at a rate that few companies can keep up with. Even giant organisations often struggle with outdated systems, and it’s an even bigger challenge for smaller companies to stay up to date with both technology and expertise.
It isn’t only the technology itself that’s changing quickly, though. IT is changing the way we do business, and one of those ways is an increase in opportunities for outsourcing. So can outsourcing solve this problem?
Outsourcing IT support is increasing at a rate of about 5.9% a year, according to Computer Weekly Magazine. Here are ten top reasons why this may be the right answer for your business.
1. Reduced Staff Costs
Dedicated IT staff don’t come cheaply. A good IT Manager is likely to expect a salary of at least £50,000, and that’s only the start. When you add recruitment costs, company benefits and ongoing training — essential in a fast-changing environment — the costs quickly mount up.
Outsourced IT, on the other hand, just involves a single, regular payment that can be easily budgeted for. It’s up to the supplier to ensure their staff are up to date in knowledge.
2. Keeping Up with Skills
Both new technologies and updated versions of existing systems are coming at such a rate that it’s difficult to keep up. In practice, it’s not feasible to ensure all relevant in-house staff are familiar with the latest requirements.
Even if it were an option to have someone fully trained in house, this too poses problems. Maintenance of the IT infrastructure is crucial for a business, but your expert is likely to be idle for a good deal of the time.
On the other hand, if you have an outsourced unlimited IT support contract, you can call on a qualified expert with up-to-date knowledge when you need them. The rest of the time, you don’t have to find them something to do.
3. Flexibility in IT Support
Having your own IT engineer may certainly offer some advantages, but it also throws up numerous problems. What happens if a second crisis arises while the engineer is already working on a problem? What happens if something arises while your engineer is on holiday or off sick?
Quite apart from these issues, one engineer is unlikely to be an expert in every problem that may arise, even if they can keep up to date with the necessary training. On the other hand, an outsourced IT company will be able to provide a full range of expertise whenever you need it. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing there’ll always be someone available who can solve your crisis.
4. The Recruitment Dilemma
If you’re going to employ an IT expert to manage and maintain your systems, you’re faced with a paradox. You want someone with a high level of knowledge and ability, but how can you assess that without having an IT background yourself?
This isn’t a recent dilemma. In 2010, the Confederation of British Industry ran a Skills Survey which found that 53% of employers doubted their ability to find staff with the skill required.
Outsourcing your IT support gets rid of this problem. As long as you satisfy yourself about the company’s reputation and credibility, you can be confident about leaving recognition of expertise to them.
5. Productivity Issues
One common solution to the issue previously outlined, that a dedicated IT Manager may not have enough to do during some periods, is to train one or more existing staff members to act as a part-time IT support. This has the dual attractions of reducing costs and offering flexibility.
However, not only are these people not genuine IT experts, but working on this area also takes them away from the jobs you originally hired them to do. There are likely to be issues they can’t fix, and meanwhile their productivity in helping your business grow is compromised.
It’s likely to be a sounder solution in the long run to outsource IT support to a company that can provide the top expertise, thus leaving your own staff free to concentrate on what they do best.
6. Up-to-Date Technology
IT is developing at such a rate that it can be hard to keep up. It may be crucial for your company to have the latest, cutting-edge technology — but, unless you’re an expert yourself, how can you be sure you’re making the right choices?
Even if you have a dedicated IT Manager, they’re not likely to be on top of every type of technology. An outsourced IT consultancy company, on the hand, will have a team of specialists who’ll keep you up to date on the new technology that’s ideal for you.
7. Additional Services
Your current IT arrangements might suit you at the moment, but in the IT world standing still means slipping back. Outsourcing to an IT support company means you’ll have access to a range of additional value-added services when you need them. These include:
- Mobility — In the modern business world, having your workers stuck in the office puts you at a big disadvantage. An outsourced company can help you make your staff more mobile without compromising security.
- Disaster Planning — Any disaster that crashes your system could also crash your company for good. You can avoid that by having a disaster plan to ensure your company can continue.
- Cloud Solutions — There are many benefits to migrating to the cloud, including reducing costs for capital and support on an ongoing basis.
The various extra services the company can provide are likely to improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance productivity. They can also reduce the risks in case of crisis.
8. Being Proactive
Most companies tend to maintain their IT systems on a break/fix strategy, addressing problems as they arise. This can often have a negative impact on productivity while engineers repair faults.
Outsourced IT support can offer round-the-clock proactive support, identifying and fixing potential issues before they disrupt your business. It can also provide full automation for software updates and installing patches, along with ongoing diagnostics on your server to prevent problems arising.
9. Managing Risks
Outsourcing your IT support offers the opportunity to manage risks in case of a crisis, as well as the problems that may arise on an ongoing basis. The agreement may also include the IT support company accepting legal responsibility, so that you could seek damages if anything goes wrong.
10. Run Your Business, Not Your IT
The IT your company uses is a tool, not an end in itself. Your focus should be on the big picture, growing your business and increasing your profit, but it’s easy to get bogged down in detail.
Managing and maintaining your IT systems doesn’t have to be one of those details, if you outsource it to a reliable company. Why not get in touch to find out more about how outsourcing could help you.