For most companies, using a managed IT services provider to handle at least a portion of their IT needs can be beneficial. Even if it’s something as simple as helpdesk support, working with a trusted partner can provide you with the operational resources you need to handle other tasks for which your staff are better suited. In order to determine the best balance of in-house vs outsourced IT services, you’ll need to examine your organization’s needs against the pros and cons of both methods.
Benefits of In-House IT
With an in-house IT team, you can ensure that they have the training needed to handle your company’s specific requirements. They’ll also be consistently available. This is especially valuable if they provide a niche function that requires a specific skillset.
Additionally, by using an in-house team, you can make sure that you hang onto star performers that enable you to succeed in the marketplace through their experience and skillset.
Finally, no one will know your business as well as you do. Whether it’s IT support or a complex project, you’ll never find a partner that knows you as well as you do.
Drawbacks of In-House IT
The biggest and most pressing concerns when it comes to in-house IT talent is the immense cost required to support it. You need to find people with a specific set of skills, who require constant training, since the world of IT is ever evolving. That’s not cheap, as the skills needed are in high demand, so these staff command a higher wage.
Not only that, you also need to have enough IT professionals to be able to pursue your required activities. Whether it’s projects or simple support, you need to have enough people to get things done. This means that, in slow periods, you’ll have resources that aren’t productive if you want to be able to work properly in busier times.
There is also the time it takes to post jobs, interview candidates, and train them once hired. All aspects of this can be quite time-intensive and distract from your primary business.
Benefits of Managed IT Services
Whether it’s for ongoing helpdesk support or a complex software project, there are many benefits to outsourcing some segments of your business to a trusted managed IT services provider.
One of the key benefits of managed services vs in house is that you can rely on an experienced team to handle challenges that may take your internal teams longer to solve. This is extremely valuable, as there are often times when you’ll need a specific skill to overcome a hurdle, and then not need it again for some time.
In addition, when you outsource, you can save a significant amount of money on ongoing support. Not only do managed IT services companies use their own tools and resources, meaning you don’t need to provide supplies such as laptops, they also charge a fixed rate. This means that you’ll have predictable costs working with a managed IT services provider throughout the life of the relationship. As a result, you can easily and painlessly scale your program with the provider when you need to, without incurring hiring and training costs.
With remote monitoring and maintenance, managed services are a good option if your business has remote offices or locations. This prevents the constant travel and trips away from your main office it would take internal IT to maintain your remote IT environments at the same level.
Finally, managed IT services providers generally have more expertise and innovative techniques than in-house staff. In fact, 35% of businesses already value the innovation their outsourcing relationships bring. They’ve worked on many different projects in a variety of industries and, as a result, have developed much more experience adapting to a range of requirements.
Drawbacks of Managed IT Services
While there are significant benefits to working with a managed IT services provider, there are also some drawbacks. First and foremost, without a significantly developed working relationship, your provider will not be able to know your organization as well as you do. This means that they’ll have less ability to predict changes and issues. There can be cultural or communication issues between the managed IT services provider and your business. As a result, you’ll need to spend the time to find one that meshes with the way you work.
The onboarding process at the start of a managed services partnership can also take some time as all the monitoring tools are put in place and your systems are brought up to a level that they can be easily managed. This causes some extra work initially but significantly reduces the number of technology issues you will have going forward.
What’s the Right Mix Between the Two
Ultimately, there’s no one correct way to split the two for all industries and companies. There will always be exceptions to every rule. However, there are a few general recommendations on the split that will help you succeed when deciding to outsource.
First, in most cases outsource management of your standard applications and infrastructure. This will vary from industry to industry, but whatever tasks your IT personnel undergo that are taking up their time while also being common to most businesses is a great candidate to be outsourced. This type of work is generally lower risk and will be able to be completed consistently and effectively by managed IT services providers. Additionally, this allows your team to focus on more strategic tasks, like planning your technology roadmap for future upgrades, resulting in more employee satisfaction and a better use of the rising IT budgets.
Secondly, keep big company-wide initiatives and core technologies in-house. These projects and technologies tend to require input from many different key people, along with shifts to accommodate evolving needs. As a result, you’ll want whoever handles it to be able to perfectly align with the culture. Examples of core technologies would be fundraising applications for non-profits, claims systems for insurance companies, specific point of sale (POS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools, or anything else that your primary services/products are managed by. In this case, use the staff you have and augment them with contractors with key skills if needed. The exception to this is if you find a trusted IT service provider that specializes in your industry and has experience working with your core technologies and you are looking to fully outsource your IT.
Additionally, always consider the unique needs of your business. Things constantly change, and no one will ever know your business the way you do. That’ll impact what you choose to outsource and what you will want to keep in-house. If IT is an important part of your business delivery with many custom elements, it probably makes sense to keep it in-house. If you struggle to manage your IT team and are constantly needing to resolve issues in your environment, a managed service provider can provide stability and consistency in service levels.
No matter how much or what you choose to outsource, always ensure you work with a trusted managed IT services provider.
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