Should you outsource, hire internally or do a combination of both? That is a question that you may have to answer by determining which approach makes the most sense for your business. The original definition of outsourcing essentially meant outsourcing to offshore support. This mad rush to lower labor cost often resulted in service from a random level 1 support representative that did not speak English very well. They would essentially force you to walk through a never ending script of tasks that were designed to slowly guide you through a process of elimination, in hopes of identifying the cause of the issue. Unfortunately, this tactic typically frustrated more than it helped and the industry has been forced to evolve in many ways, including pulling back those offshore resources. Forbes cites many reasons for this pull back in their article entitled Why Some U.S. Companies Are Giving Up On Outsourcing. This is not the type of outsourced it support I will be referring to in this article. In this context, we will define "outsourced" as not a full time employees of your business.
In this article I will attempt to point out:
- Scenarios that might benefit from outsourced it support
- Some new scenarios that are beginning to take advantage of outsourced it support
- Situations where outsourced it support is not recommended
- Why it's important to know which is better for your business
Scenarios that might benefit from outsourced it support
- If your businesses technology needs have brought you to consider hiring a full time IT professional. At this point it becomes important to understand the differences in Price and Value. How does the pricing of outsourcing compare to hiring a skilled, full time it professional? The value question is more subjective. Do you want to know that there is typically a body in the next room that you can send support requests to or do you just want your requests processed within a specified amount of time?
- If you have found it difficult to find and retain qualified IT Support employees, you might benefit from the ability to work with a manged it services provider instead.
- If you spend too much time working on technology and not enough time on more valuable processes that contribute to your companies profitability. Spending time working on what's most important is a common challenge for many business managers and owners.
- If you have an internal IT staff but need to take on an initiative that your staff is not currently trained and experienced in, you could benefit from hiring an expert or group of experts to ensure that initiative is performed by someone experienced and trained.
- If your budget for technology resources and staffing are not sufficient for the initiatives your company pursues, it may make better financial sense to determine the cost of working with an outside entity for IT Services in order to lower your total cost for technology.
Some new scenarios we're seeing in outsourced it support
We're seeing more and more under resourced IT managers that find it difficult, if not impossible, to interview, hire and retain qualified it resources to satisfy their current workload. The IT Managers mindset, traditionally territorial in nature, seems to have changed. The incessant need for more support resources have driven internal IT departments to consider supplementing their existing team by partnering with an MSP to provide services that are not only more cost effective than hiring another internal employee but, required to maintain expected service levels. From this need, we at Superior have developed a Co-Managed IT Support offering that is designed to work in parallel with internal IT Departments to augment resources and expertise.
Situations where outsourced it support is not recommended
When you have in house information technology experts that specialize in the solutions you are looking to implement and those experts are not already allocated to other initiatives. In this case, it may not make sense to have those employees remain "on the bench", or otherwise un-allocated, while you source labor from an external provider. Another argument against outsourced it would be if you don't really understand what your businesses core mission currently is. The purpose of advanced technology support is to enable your most precious resources, a.k.a your employees, to complete processes that enable your business to push further toward and accomplish it's initiatives. Not knowing the intended direction is a sure fire way to waste money and resources on expertise that can only enable you if you know where you want to go. The direction is up to you, IT resources are to be used as enablers to achieve the direction and mission you have hopefully already defined.
Why it's important to know which is better for your business
There are so many tasks and processes that are driven by technology that a functional technological ecosystem can mean the difference between a productive employee and a non-productive employee. Sense the costs for employees are typically higher than any other operating cost, keeping those resources productive is typically a high priority. At least, it should be. If an employee cannot login, type, print, send an email, access a file, access a web page, open an application or perform any task that their work role is dependent on, their productivity comes to a halt. When you cannot complete step 2 in your process, it's very difficult to get to step 5, 6 and 7. Providing the necessary resources to enable a businesses most precious resource (employees and their productivity), is the most important purpose for IT Support whether it's outsourced or internally resourced so take the time to discover which is better for you!
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