If your in-house resources are stretched to the limit you may be considering the benefits of outsourcing your IT. Over the years I’ve talked to many clients about the challenges they face in business, and the benefits they derive from outsourcing their IT to a service provider. The list is long and varied but boils down to the following key benefits that really deliver ROI.
Cost and Budgeting
First and foremost has to be cost. Although outsourcing IT will be viewed by your CFO as an additional operational cost, consider what the cost would be if you were to effectively service your IT in-house. Depending on the size of your organisation, and the demands on your IT department, this might involve paying the salaries of additional members of staff as well as on-going internal infrastructure costs.
Furthermore, you will need to manage and invest in your staff’s training in an area that is moving at a rapid pace. Keeping up with technology is a huge challenge for many organisations as they try to juggle the priorities of other areas of the business alongside technological developments. The advantage of using a service provider is that you do not need to invest in their CPD, update their system software and IT infrastructure, or any other associated costs.
As an IT manager you may also question whether your time is well spent resolving minor technical issues; is this a productive and cost efficient use of your time, or would it be better if you spent your time driving the business forward in other ways? In smaller organisations you may also be juggling different roles, in which case you must ask, “where is your time best spent?”
Outsourcing your IT also gives you much tighter control over your IT budget: inclusive monthly payments with no up-front costs make managing budgets that much easier through predictable costs.
Freedom To Focus On Your Core Competencies
Whether you’re a legal firm, an education institution, a financial company or a retailer, your core business is not IT. Therefore why spend valuable time and resources on IT when you could be investing this in growing the business and delivering your core offering?
Of course, most organisations are heavily reliant on their IT to do just this, focus on their business. This means that when issues occur it has to be a priority to put them right, 24/7. The cost implications of doing this effectively in-house are significant, especially if your organisation has a remote workforce, or encourages flexible working; operates outside of conventional working hours, or across different time-zones.
IT managed service desks are staffed 24/7/365 by fully trained, experienced, qualified, certified, and culture-trained engineers. With a single point of contact, to all intents and purposes the service provider becomes an extension of your existing team.
Immediate Expert Support
Not only does outsourcing your IT provide you with expert support for minor incidents and critical failures, but you also benefit from the on-going support of a team of experts to advise you on additional IT solutions. For example, if you need to support an increasingly mobile workforce, or install a new telephone system, your service provider will have extensive knowledge of a wide range of available technologies, as well as a great understanding of your organisation’s day-to-day, and long-term requirements.
Even if you do have a small IT team, you can call on the knowledge of a more specialist team who are already embedded in your organisation, complementing the expertise you have in-house.
I’ve already identified “keeping up with technology” as being one of the major challenges businesses face. Even ensuring that you are using the latest software upgrade, and that it doesn’t cause any conflicts, can be a burden on an already time poor business or IT manager. Factor in keeping up with new developments and understanding what products and new technologies can benefit your organisation, and it’s no surprise that many businesses struggle to make sense of this ever-changing landscape.
Here too the IT support provider can add value, helping you negotiate your way through the latest technological developments. Furthermore with partnerships and accreditations with leading technology suppliers, your business will always be up-to-date.
Agility, Flexibility and Scalability
One of the most common problems I come across in businesses today is IT legacy. This can inhibit an organisation’s ability to grow, move into new markets or change operational systems without a significant investment in IT infrastructure. By outsourcing some or all of your IT requirements you can reduce the need for such a substantial overhaul, by using the IT supplier’s instead.
This is an extremely agile solution allowing you to scale up or scale down depending on the level of service you require. This allows your organisation to be truly responsive to change, whether that’s as a result of your business strategy or in response to external forces such as market forces.
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