Pros and cons of IT outsourcing for SMBs
Organisations may choose to outsource for various reasons, including:
- Cost reduction
- Sharing the risk with the service provider
- Access to expertise, skills and solutions
- Keeping the business focussed
- Freeing up internal resources
Commonly outsourced business functions include accounts and payroll, marketing, HR and increasingly, IT
Many of the organisations that approach us have IT requirements that have overtaken the knowledge and skills of the team. At this point, they have two choices. Employ someone to undertake an IT administration role or outsource.
There are both pros and cons to IT outsourcing, so if you’re contemplating this route, consider these factors before reaching a decision:
Pros of IT outsourcing
IT outsourcing is often a more cost-effective way to operate compared to paying an IT specialist a salary, plus employee benefits. Using a Managed Service Provider for your IT means your monthly outgoings are reduced and consolidated. And there’s usually a predictable monthly fee. Recruitment and training costs are also removed.
Access to experts
While businesses strive to attract the most capable people, using a specialist MSP is likely to give you access to a pool of people with a broader set of skills and expertise.
If you need to scale up quickly, IT outsourcing gives you resource on tap. Conversely, it’s possible to scale back just as easily should you need to.
With broad experience of both businesses and technology, IT outsourcers can advise and implement the best solutions to help meet your business objectives.
24/7 monitoring and support
Using an MSP for your IT support means your systems can be monitored 24/7/365. That’s not possible if your in-house IT resource is only available during office hours and struggles to cover holidays and absences. It also means that any system errors, failures or security breaches will be spotted and can be resolved quickly.
Free to focus
Outsourcing elements of your IT means that you are free to focus on what you do best: providing a great service or product to your customers. You can relax knowing that IT support is always available, and the technology and procedures are in place to make sure your business won’t be affected by downtime. Good managed service providers will also help you think strategically about how IT can support your business plans.
With a third-party providing IT support and monitoring, you share the risk of downtime, outage and data breach with someone else. Backup servers and a disaster recovery plan will help ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster.
Cons of IT outsourcing
IT service providers will have their own way of doing things. This may result in businesses feeling they do not have the level of control over activity that they would if their IT support was still in-house.
Sometimes, face to face contact is the most effective way of sorting out a problem, but this is something you may have to forego when certain IT functions are performed off-site. However, choosing a supplier that is based within striking distance can mitigate that issue. Outsourcing won’t work if you aren’t able to communicate with your provider when you want to and how you want to.
Your chosen provider may deliver a service that is not up to the standard you were expecting. This can be mitigated by ensuring a Service Level Agreement is in place, and that both parties are clear on the terms.
The advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing your IT are largely dependent on the needs and nature of your business. Most of the downsides of outsourcing can be avoided by choosing your provider carefully and doing research to make sure they are the right fit for you.
Flex IT provides IT support to businesses across a range of sectors, including farming, legal, manufacturing and professional services, across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire and central London. Contact us today for an initial discussion.