Why should we outsource our IT support?

Why should we outsource our IT Support



Whether it’s a good idea to outsource your business IT support is a subject probably best discussed from the perspective of your current situation. Mainly because every business has different needs. The requirements of a business that has never had any form of IT support will differ greatly from one that has had an internal support department.

Too often advice is offered from a very general perspective, which can make it difficult to relate and link it to what you’re looking for. With this in mind, we have looked at three of your most likely starting points, looking at the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing IT support and some key things to consider during the research process.

Current situation for your business –

#1. You are a new or existing business with NO IT support.
#2. You have no on-site IT support but have a contact for ad-hoc support when needed.
#3. You currently have an internal IT Support resource/department.

#1 You are a new or existing business with NO IT support. 

Outsource your IT support to help you work remotely.If you’re a new business you may be considering how you’re going to manage your daily IT needs. Or maybe as an established company, you have always just got by without IT support. You’re not too bad with computers and in the early days you managed just fine. As the business grew the team have muddled through with a collective knowledgebase and a lot of searching on Google.

The problem is that this is increasingly taking up time that should be spent on you core business and as a result, it’s costing money. So what are the key advantages to outsourcing and what factors and potential downsides do you need to consider?

Advantages

Time

  • Allows you to focus solely on your business without dealing with the daily needs of IT systems.
  • Reclaim the time you’ve been spending trouble shooting IT issues – Software, hardware, user issues etc. Time is money and all that.

Expertise

  • You will have a dedicated support team and help desk that you can call when you have an issue who have specialist knowledge of business systems.
  • Impartial/unbiased advice on the best technology solutions for your business.
  • Expert awareness of topics like Cyber Essentials, GDPR and the impact on IT Systems.
  • Expert advice regarding Disaster Recovery, Connectivity, Communications,Cyber Security, Cloud Technology.

Advanced Technologies

  • Access to a wider range of technologies with expert advice.
  • A good IT provider will keep up to date with the latest advances in technology, attend conferences, read, and continuously undertake training to advance their skills.

Partnership

  • In the case of a new business, this provides an opportunity to build a relationship with a partner who can learn about your business as you do, working with you through any teething issues.
  • The peace of mind that your IT systems are in safe hands with a team monitoring and evaluating how things need to work for your business.

Service

  • Potentially allows for full 24/7 support.
  • Ensuring issues get fixed! No excuses. You’re now paying experts to help and resolve your problems so that you don’t have to spend hours researching how to!

Disadvantages

Cost

  • If you’re starting from scratch, you will need to get your head round the fact you have a new monthly outgoing.

Potential for feeling no better off

  • Unresponsive support desk – unfortunately as in every industry there are some ‘support’ desks out there that are badly run and the team don’t care enough.
  • They may not understand the unique ways in which your business works, so essentially you are a bad match.

Change

  • Bringing a third party into your business may feel like you have less control.
  • Accountability. The provider will sometimes tell you things you don’t want to hear but if you are working with a partner who cares about your business then, their advice will be for the good of the business.

#2 You have no on-site IT support but have a contact for ad-hoc support when needed (plus Bob in finance is really good with computers).

Laptop keyboardYou are an established business and have never worked with an IT provider on a permanent basis. You had a couple of issues a while back and found a one-man band who came out to help, and then you’ve always just called him if an issue arose.

Historically this got you by, and on the days when you can’t get hold of him, ‘’Bob’’ in finance has a go. This was fine until recently it came to light that there are insufficient backups set up, email permissions aren’t working properly, and the realisation that everyone is just bumbling along rather than working in a smart and efficient way.

For many small businesses having a external contact to call upon in times of need, in a similar fashion to calling a plumber when you have a leak can be just what you need. However, there comes a time when it becomes obvious that a more everyday solution is required, alongside a wider breadth of knowledge. So you find yourself considering the benefits of outsourcing on a permanent basis, but what are the key advantages and what factors and potential downsides do you need to think about?

Advantages

Money

  • If you’ve been calling your current ad-hoc IT contact on a more regular basis and paying call out fees and further costs to fix the issues, you may be racking up quite a bill. Signing up to a contract where you pay an agreed monthly amount can really help cashflow as well as provide you with more flexible support.

Time

  • If you’ve grown considerably, there’s a fair chance that you and your team are spending more and more time on day to day IT issues. This is likely to be hindering productivity. Having a support team that you can call to take over these problems will increase productivity and most probably reduce stress levels!

Expertise

  • Dedicated support team and help desk that you can call when you have an issue.
  • Specialist knowledge of many systems. No disrespect to your one-man band or ‘helpers’ in the office, but an established IT provider are likely to have access to more systems, newer technologies and a greater breadth of experience.
  • Impartial/unbiased advice on the best technology solutions for your business.
  • Expert advice regarding Disaster Recovery, Connectivity, Communications,Cyber Security, Cloud Technology.
  • Expert awareness of Cyber Essentials and GDPR and the impact on IT Systems.

Partnership

  • Impartial. The only goal of a good IT provider is to evaluate your systems and business needs and provide the best solutions.
  • Opportunity to build a relationship with a partner who understands your business and wants to drive it forward with you.

Disadvantages

Cost

  • If you have been only paying for ad-hoc support you will obviously see an increase in costs with a monthly support contract.

Change

  • Bringing a permanent 3rd party provider into your business may feel like you have less control.
  • You or your people have been used to working with the ad-hoc support so there will be a period of transition to get used to a new way of doing things.
  • May be difficult to change the culture of the company if they’ve always been used to speaking to Bob. There may be some teething issues.
  • You will be accountable. They will sometimes tell you things you don’t want to hear.

#3 You have an internal IT Support resource/department.

Outsource all aspects of your IT SupportYou are an established business with a dedicated IT department. This could range from an IT manager and an apprentice, up to an IT Manager with a team of 1st, 2nd and 3rd line engineers.

For whatever reason, you are in a period of transition. Maybe you are trying to reduce costs or rationalise staffing as part of a restructuring program? Maybe you are simply weighing up your options? Having had an internal IT department, it can be a daunting task to then start looking for an external provider. Below we look at the benefits and drawbacks to such a move.

Advantages

Money

  • There is no doubt you will save money.
  • The cost of in-house personnel will far out way the cost of outsourcing IT in the majority of cases. The saving on employee costs could be huge. This is based on average salaries costing around £58,000pa for an IT manager and one 1st line technician (payscale.com). The cost of a permanent support contract will depend on the size of your business as you tend to pay per user. But even at the higher end of £75 per user, per month, a 40 user business would cost approximately £36,000 per annum.

Expertise

  • Dedicated support team and help desk that you can call.
  • Specialists in IT
  • Specialist knowledge of systems
  • Benefit from their experience of working with multiple other businesses
  • Experience of working with specialist software and liaising with software providers so you don’t have to.
  • Impartial/unbiased advice on the best technology solutions for your business.
  • Expert awareness of Cyber Essentials and GDPR and the impact on IT Systems.
  • Data management expertise.

Advanced Technologies

  • Access to and a better understanding of a wider range of technologies.
  • A good IT provider will keep up to date with latest advances in technology, attend conferences, read, undertake training to advance their skills of them and their team.
  • Access to better resources.

Partnership

  • A fresh pair of eyes on your business can inject new ideas and outlooks amongst your team.
  • Opportunity to build a relationship with a partner who understands your business and wants to drive it forward with you.

Less Hassle

  • Remove the need to deal with an internal department and any office politics/bolotics!

Improved Service

  • Potentially allows for full 24/7 support.
  • You ensure it gets done! No excuses. It’s easier to ensure that issues get resolved dealing with an external resource than an internal one.
  • Not affected by sickness, paternity, maternity, change of personnel.

Accountability

  • The new provider will be accountable for your IT systems based on your agreed contract. This can give peace of mind and a sense of security that you now have measures in place to protect your business, and a team to talk to when something needs doing.

Disadvantages

Could be difficult to find the right partner

  • Unresponsive support desk – unfortunately as in every industry there are some ‘support’ desks out there that are badly run and the team don’t care enough.
  • They may not understand the unique ways in which your business works. You could simply be a bad match.

Waiting

  • They are not in the office and may be a drive away so there will be a wait if you need them to come out on site. This may take a bit of getting used to.
  • Having someone good onsite means you’ve got someone you can physically speak to (if they’re in).

Change

  • Bringing a third party into your business may feel like you have less control.
  • May be difficult to change the culture of the company if they’ve always been used to speaking to the team in IT. There may be a period of unrest for a time especially if redundancy was involved.
  • Accountability. They will sometimes tell you things you don’t want to hear.
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