What To Consider Before Outsourcing IT Functions

As a business owner, it’s vital to consider IT. Tech support, services and solutions can come via an in-house IT team or via outsourcing. The latter is an ideal option as it gives time and space to focus on primary business goals, without having to worry about everything that IT involves. Outsourcing IT functions has advantages, including efficiencies, new levels of expertise and best practice adherence. Still, considerations should be given before finalizing any decision on outsourcing IT or to a managed services provider. Below are some of the considerations before taking the next step;

IT Outsourcing Costs

As a business owner or manager, a primary goal is likely increasing profits and reducing operating costs. When considering outsourcing IT functions, determine whether it’ll improve business profits or reduce operating costs. If you’re spending more on outsourcing than an in-house IT team, then there’s no point. A classic example of outsourcing success, is looking at business phone service. Previously, a PBX was needed to manage phone service and extensions. Typically, these were managed in-house, in a physical cabinet inside an office or room. This physical hardware and setup was time consuming and required costly maintenance for upgrades. Today, business phone service can now be outsourced and hosted in the ‘the cloud‘. Upgrades are managed off site and maintenance is also included with cost effective service pricing, via most hosted phone service providers.

Young network engineer looks at tablet in front of server rack - outsourcing IT post

Start the process by working out what you need to outsource. Consider options and the reputation of IT services offered by any prospective company. Then gather and compare outsourced IT quotes. Is it cost efficient versus the cost of employing internal IT employees, hardware, software and infrastructure? (For some standard costs of outsourcing managed IT, click here for an idea on what to expect). Be aware; in-house IT teams sometimes require additional training, which can be an additional cost.

Outsourced IT Company Expertise

There’s many IT companies to choose from, so ensure you’re hiring a qualified one. The primary advantage of managed IT services in New Orleans or in your local area, is getting access to a large pool of locally talented tech experts. It’s important to verify the qualifications and skills of any IT company you intend to engage or hire. Some things to look into are whether the team is actually local. Do they have local offices and people who can make site visits, if necessary? Are they qualified to cater to your business needs? Consider outsourcing IT functions from a company that regularly trains employees. This ensures they’re up to date on technological advancements and customer needs.

Scope of IT Functions

Decide on the scope of functions you’re planning to outsource and the business impact. For example, if you’re an e-commerce retailer, you want to be in charge of the entire customer experience (CX). Outsourcing functions such as payroll and accounting may make more sense, but anything web related will likely need closer internal control. Additionally, determining the scope of outsourced functions, helps determine cost. IT companies charge differently depending on the range of the projects assigned. This usually means more tasks = a higher cost.

Regulation Compliance

When you outsource IT services, they become an extension of your business. They’ll have access to data and critical information. Ensure they have all necessary compliance accreditations, especially when it comes to cybersecurity, network security and data management. Ask for accreditation certificates during the hiring process to ascertain compliance. It’s also essential to ask about insurance policies and IT disaster recovery services, in the case of a breach. Check the company’s track record on compliance. Some primary regulation areas concern data privacy and intellectual property. The aim of ascertaining regulatory compliance is to ensure that your business is protected by law.

IT Support Availability

It’s best to have open communication with an outsourced IT team in case of questions or urgent issues that require action. Ascertain a support team’s availability by asking if they offer 24/7 support to clients and where they are based. Any local support team should be able to respond to concerns and questions within a timeframe. For example, if you have a network security issue, you should be able to call and get immediate assistance. Failure to obtain the help you need when your IT systems are affected can be detrimental to your business.

IT outsourcing for your business has pros and cons that you must consider. For instance, it can help reduce operational costs. You can start by outsourcing smaller projects before moving to larger ones to see if it’s the right fit. Additionally, ensure that the IT firm you intend to outsource to, has the necessary resources and workforce to perform the functions you require.