There’s no question that at some point your business will require an IT specialist to meet your business’s growing needs, so do you hire someone and run the operation in-house or outsource it?
Businesses are increasingly dependent on IT to support productivity and optimise processes to get a competitive edge. Without the right IT systems in place, your business runs the risk of low productivity and negatively affecting your bottom line.
Hiring in-house IT support means a dedicated staff member within your business is responsible for maintenance and any issues.
When your business outsources IT help from a consultant or managed service provider (MSP), they can handle a single project or take on the role of a virtual CIO and technology partner.
There are pros and cons to both in-house IT and IT outsourcing, which are summarised below.
In-house IT: Cons
Hiring an Information Technology Officer can be an expensive process; they need to be kept on a regular salary with regular training, and often a single employee will not be enough to manage the intricacies of your entire IT system themselves.
If you require a broad range of expertise, you could end up needing to hire 3 or 4 people to fill the gaps; the costs associated with having many full-time salaries working on staff is that it is too cost-prohibitive and can stifle company growth.
Organisations with smaller IT departments (1-2 people) often have a constant flow of high priority items that need to be addressed, which can overwhelm a limited team and cause critical company development processes to be overlooked.
Finding, interviewing and onboarding new employees, including training and hire of full-time staff can be a lengthy process. Furthermore, if an employee departs, the entire process begins again.
If your business can only afford a single full-time IT staff member, that individual holds a significant amount of sensitive information from your business. It’s important to consider if your IT staff member has time to monitor ongoing IT security and risk assessment; if not, your business will be at risk. If they develop malicious intent against your business or decide to leave without handing over your business is at risk.
A single IT specialist may not have all the skills necessary to debug, find solutions, or plan your future IT strategy to align with your company goals.
Finding the right people and training them can be an expensive and lengthy process if they do not have the right expertise in particular systems. It also becomes an inherent responsibility of the business owner to manage upskilling their IT staff, so they are aware and capable of executing on opportunities.
In-house IT: Pros
Building an in-house team means that staff will always be available when needed for emergency issues such as security breaches and system crashes. Having a physically present IT staff member that can address issues immediately and knows the system through experience can satisfy impatient team members.
Businesses can ensure their IT staff are trained to the necessary level and that they hang on to any star performers.
Offering growth opportunities and a salary can make in-house staff stick around, and these employees may also be more likely to keep intellectual property confidential and committed to the long-term profit of the company.
Costs can be monitored and won’t spike as in-house IT staff remain on the same salary regardless of the work they do.
In-house staff can direct all attention to the most pressing problem where contractors, depending on communication, may finish a task based on ticketed first come, first served system.
Face-to-face conversations offer more engagement between staff working on the same project, which may help propel progress and bigger ideas.
Outsourcing IT: Cons
Intellectual property has the risk of being exposed by someone outside of your business, so it is important to address the legal requirements.
Sometimes companies just don’t know what to look for from their IT consultant or MSP and may spend time bringing them up to speed when they want them to provide advice on future technology initiatives.
It can be difficult match an MSP company that is the right size for your company with the correct capability and maturity to provide actual value.
Professional MSPs spend time at your location each week, but a majority of issues will be handled remotely and, while this is may not be a problem, some people don’t enjoy working with remote support.
Companies which choose offshore outsourcing due to the cost advantages don’t consider the time and aggravation spent on communication issues.
MSPs only provide an IT representative on site a percentage of the time, and their availability will not be in your control.
In an emergency event that needs immediate attention, you must have an MSP who will answer when you call.
Outsourcing IT: Pros
If you are fortunate enough to find an MSP who specialises in your industry, you can see significant benefits when it comes to proactively targeting and resolving issues.
Experienced MSPs with a broad range of experience with both technical and strategic knowledge offer lots of value when it comes to assigning and delivering skilled specialists.
An established MSP will also have the tools needed, like electronic ticketing and monitoring systems required to provide an efficient IT solution for your employees.
When a company outsources, it also doesn’t need to invest in the equipment or software necessary for a particular project and will benefit from the recommendations and breadth of experience that comes from an outsourcing company.
Outsourced IT staff and MSPs must continue to earn your business day after day, so your company receives the benefit of 24/7 support 365 days a year.
You won’t experience downtime during vacation days or nights and weekends, and if the capabilities of the outsourcing company match your needs, they can deliver a fast response due to the size of their team.
Working with an outsourcing provider is a cost-effective method of accessing a broad range of skilled experts who can provide a solution to any problem or need you have.
Many costs are spread over several clients, and your business doesn’t have to worry about costs associated with training and certifying IT staff or paying them to sit idle.
Outsourcing requires a business owner to identify which IT processes are essential and what needs immediate or consistent attention and would be resolved by an outsourced service provider.
The focus would be on core business processes, rather than supporting tasks, and companies can bring in a specialist focussed on the issue at hand.
The Winner: Outsource Locally
All companies have a variety of options for solving their tech support issues. For most, however, an outsourced solution is the best way to start. In fact a 2016 Macquarie Benchmarking report found that 82% of high-performing firms outsource IT and tech support.
Outsourcing tech support needs allows businesses to stay focused on their core offerings, giving businesses access to resources and expertise without the associated costs to stay ahead of the technology curve.
The three vital factors to in-house hiring and outsourcing are cost, expertise and flexibility. Every business is different and will generate several types of data and need various kinds of systems required to move the company forward.
To discover how you can use technology to enhance your business read our Free Report: 4 methods to increase business profitability with technology