When should you consider outsourcing your IT?

If you are in a leadership role within your organization, at some point, you have had to make some sort of decision around IT.  If you are a business leader, you may be directly responsible for IT decisions in your office. The IT department has been or is quickly becoming an important component to the way every business operates.  Typically, it starts with a conversation around operational efficiency. Hardware, software, and system support functions all play a pivotal role in the overall success of an organizations IT plan. There are typically 2 sides to this plan.  Day-to-day run and build. Your day-to-day consists of management and upkeep of existing systems to keep business functions moving. This may be system maintenances, end-user support, or minor improvements to existing systems. Build is the future development and improvements that involve major changes.  It is your project side of the house. Most organizations typically do 1 side really well which results in the other side suffering. This is not a negative mark on ones IT department, but rather a result of a limited resource pool to cover the necessary functions of both project and run. If you have your team focusing on project, the day-to-day suffers.  If they focus on the day-to-day, project development suffers. The time to outsource some facet of your IT is when you identify that one or the other of the aforementioned IT processes are suffering.

The first question you may have is, “Where do I look for help?”

There are many buzzwords in the IT Consulting world.  We regularly hear things like Cloud, MSP, Managed Services, Hosting, Consulting, etc.  This can be very confusing to people as no one is sure which “flavor” of IT services they may need to support your business.  Be sure to interview several companies to get a feel for what they offer. Be wary of the companies that seem too good to be true.  Every provider will have limitations that may not fit your needs 100%. Find the one that most closely aligns with your needs. A good place to start is by asking some people you trust who work for other companies if they outsource any part of their IT.  Chances are, they do, and they may have a great referral for you. They may also be able to tell you who to stay away from.

The economics of outsourcing

While saving money should be a factor of whether or not you will outsource your IT, it shouldn’t be the only factor.  Most organizations have a very lean internal IT team. If someone gets ill or takes time off, it creates some stress on the organization to ensure that day to day support gets taken care of or that projects don’t fall behind.  When you utilize a technology firm to outsource your IT, you are moving the burden of coverage and costs to the IT provider. Typically, you can outsource your IT to a company with a team of people for the same or less cost than you currently pay for your in-house staff.  If you are not directly generating revenue from your IT operations, you should consider outsourcing.

Timing doesn’t matter

Anytime is a good time to outsource IT.  Various arrangements of IT offerings make it a great fit for the small business, the mid-size organization, and a large enterprise.  Outsourcing typically helps keep costs lower in terms of operations as it allows for better flexibility. This can also help provide more diverse talent while allowing you the flexibility to scale your resources up or down based on your business needs at any given time.  This is true of both personnel and hardware resources.

Adjust business focus

Typically, the IT department is looked at as an expense to be minimized.  Technology is so prevalent in business, that it should be looked at as an asset to be maximized.  If technology services are not the core of your business, small or large, outsourcing is for you. Outsourcing to someone who specializes in various areas of technology enables you to enhance your business experience by allowing your people to focus on your business, rather than wasting time on IT related issues.  Your staff are typically not experts in resolving the IT issues you are experiencing, but they are experts at the job you hired them to do. Outsourcing IT to someone who specializes in the field will enable your staff to focus on the job they were hired for.

Efficiency is key

Allowing a provider to manage the day-to-day operations of your IT environment allows your people to focus on their projects. For example, if your core business is the development of applications or products, you wouldn’t want them focusing on the upkeep and maintenance of your workstations, servers and network. Outsourcing these day-to-day components to a premier provider will allow your staff, in this case developers, to focus on developing the products that make your business profitable.

Project-based specialized skill sets

If you have a project within your organization that requires a very specialized skill set, but the project will not be a long-term engagement, look to outsource.  There are many companies who can provide highly skilled individuals on short contract term basis that allow you the flexibility to bring people on only when you need them.  Once the project is complete, you can scale back to keep costs minimized.

You know what you need better than anyone

When you come across a business process that is lacking and you feel it could be solved with technology, be sure to have a documented vision of what you want to accomplish.  You may not know how to get to your end goal but being able to articulate the bad thing that is occurring in your environment is key. Along with the document negative thing occurring in your environment, be sure to document the desired outcome you seek.  Having a vision for your organization will be invaluable to the IT provider you choose. That provider should support your vision and be able to provide constructive feedback on the best way to achieve your desired outcome. If the provider you are speaking with seems unwilling to tailor a solution to fit your business objectives, find a new provider.

We can help

At CareWorks Tech, we try to keep it simple, we are a Technology Firm.  As you would use a CPA firm, or a law firm, we are a Technology Firm.  We listen to you to understand what your business obstacles are and solve those problems with technology. Whether it is business inefficiencies, system crashes, application crashes, or business process inefficiencies, we have several practice areas within IT to meet the demands of your business.  Like your law firm may specialize in real estate, or tax, or business law, we have practice areas within IT. Those practice areas include, IT Infrastructure, Application and Software Development, and Service Management. Infrastructure involves anything you can touch and feel within your environment from network devices, servers, wireless, end user devices, software vendors, etc. App and Software development is anything that runs on the aforementioned devices that may support your business. Our Service Management practice specializes in the development, deployment, and management of ServiceNow.  There are a plethora of options for how to engage us for support including fixed pricing models, fixed hours based contracts, full and part time staffing, contract to hire, and time and materials.

Jason Linn
Service Delivery Manager