Having reliable IT support is one of the most crucial parts of any modern business. Whether it’s tackling minor software glitches, protecting against cyber threats, offering a seamless experience to customers, or simply ensuring a smooth workflow for employees, an effective IT support system is the backbone of any business.
But the game is changing. In recent years, there’s been a significant shift away from traditional in-house IT support departments towards the rising trend of outsourcing. Many businesses are now exploring the new strategies offered by external IT support companies to optimise their tech support and enhance efficiency.
We’ve taken a closer look at the dynamic world of outsourced IT support, exploring why it has so much to offer businesses that want a competitive edge. So, if you’re unsure what a third-party service provider has to offer, read on!
Understanding In-house IT Support
Once upon a time, in-house teams were the most common form of IT support. As technology developed to become central to business operations, having an in-house team was the go-to strategy. Businesses thrived and grew with IT teams on site, and having an in-house team still has many benefits.
Main Benefits of Internal IT Teams
Knowledge of the Company Culture and Infrastructure: In-house IT support teams always have an intimate understanding of the company’s inner workings. Proximity provides insights into the organisation’s infrastructure and unique cultural dynamics, allowing for a nuanced approach to problem-solving and ensuring a seamless integration of technology into the day-to-day workflow.
Established Relationships: Working within the same physical space fosters strong interpersonal connections. Internal teams build relationships with employees, gaining a comprehensive understanding of needs. This facilitates proactive IT solutions tailored to the organisation’s specific requirements.
Quick Response Times: When IT support sits just down the hall, across the office or in the room next door, response times can be reduced. Immediate assistance becomes the norm, meaning minimal downtime for employees. A rapid response is crucial for maintaining productivity and ensuring minor technical problems don’t become significant disruptions.
Greater Control Over IT Decisions: Internal IT teams mean upper management has unparalleled control. The direction of IT services and IT infrastructure can be planned internally for agile decision-making and strategic planning.
Despite the many benefits of having an internal IT department, some drawbacks have contributed to the rise of outsourcing.
Disadvantages of Having an Internal IT Team
Rising IT Salaries and Training Costs: In recent years, the escalating costs of hiring and retaining skilled IT professionals, as well as the costs of physical office space in an increasingly remote world, pose several problems. Competitive salaries and the constant need for training, new software and hardware to keep pace with technological changes mean keeping an in-house department is a significant financial burden.
Limited to the Expertise of the In-House Team: In-house teams, no matter how dedicated, may find themselves overworked and underqualified without access to the latest expertise. An overwhelmed IT team often diverts attention from strategic, big-picture planning to firefighting immediate issues, hindering the ability to innovate and adapt swiftly.
Not Always Available 24/7: The business world doesn’t stop, but in-house teams often do. Limited to standard business hours, organisations can face challenges in providing out-of-hours support, potentially leading to increased downtime during critical moments and frustrated customers, damaging a business’s reputation.
The Rise of Outsourced IT Support
The Advantages of an Outsourced Provider
While in-house IT departments were previously the standard, in recent years, there has been a significant shift toward outsourced IT support in place of the traditional in-house model in recent years. Fuelled by cost-effectiveness, access to specialised expertise, and 24/7 support, outsourcing has become the strategic choice for businesses aiming to streamline operations and enhance flexibility.
Significant Cost Savings: One of the main benefits of outsourcing IT support is that it’s incredibly cost-effective. Outsourcing eliminates the need for in-house salaries and overheads, resulting in considerable cost savings. Additionally, businesses can forgo the additional cost of premises and equipment.
Access to a Broader Range of Expertise: Outsourced teams often consist of a wider variety of specialists in diverse fields such as network security and cloud computing. This broad range of expertise ensures more comprehensive support and proactive solutions than an internal team can offer. Businesses gain access to a pool of seasoned professionals without the hassle of individual recruitment.
Flexibility and Scalability: Outsourcing provides increased flexibility. Resources are available on demand, allowing businesses to scale up or down as needed. Quick and seamless upgrades can be implemented without disrupting day-to-day operations, ensuring that technology evolves with business requirements.
24/7 Support Availability: Time doesn’t stop, and neither does outsourced IT support. With 24/7 availability, businesses enjoy non-stop remote support during disaster recovery or emergencies, mitigating the impact of unforeseen technical glitches.
Focus on Core Business Operations: By outsourcing IT services, businesses can redirect their focus to core operations. Handling technology-related tasks becomes the responsibility of the outsourced team, freeing up internal resources for strategic business planning. Many IT companies can offer a budget service level agreement, aligning technology expenses with overall business goals.
Thanks to the unmatched flexibility, adaptability and potential to save money, it’s no surprise that many businesses have switched to an outsourced IT company in recent years. However, no solution is perfect, and while outsourced services have plenty of benefits, there are also some disadvantages.
Drawbacks of an Outsourced Provider
Less Daily Control Over IT Operations: Outsourcing does mean giving up some control, as a reputable provider will want to adhere to their own standards for things like software updates, security protocols, and IT infrastructure monitoring. Regular meetings become crucial to ensure alignment with business objectives and expectations.
Different Communication Dynamics: Communication with a managed service provider often relies on email, messaging, and calls, which may slow down response times slightly and will not have the same urgency as an on-site team. Different time zones, language barriers, or communication styles can lead to misunderstandings and delays. Building trust becomes essential for smooth collaboration and effective problem-solving.
Initial Transition Challenges: The transition from an internal team to outsourced IT support can pose challenges, including training employees on new systems and processes. The initial phase may temporarily decrease productivity as the organisation adapts to the new support structure.
Finding the right support company for your business is crucial to mitigate the potential issues associated with an outsourced IT team. There are many factors to consider when finding the right partnership, such as communication style, expectations, and team skill set.
Outsourcing IT Support: Key Considerations
The growing move towards outsourced support directly results from the cost-effective solutions and wide range of services that third-party IT companies can provide.
However, before taking the plunge, businesses should weigh the benefits against potential drawbacks, ensuring seamless integration with current operations. The entire company must adapt to outsourced IT, so getting it right is vital. For most companies, moving to outsourcing could be the strategic move businesses need for an edge in an increasingly competitive market.
Here are just a few things to consider when choosing the right outsourcing team for your company:
Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Clear and comprehensive Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are vital. Define service expectations, response times, and resolution protocols. Ensuring alignment between the IT service provider and your business is crucial for seamless operations and issue resolution.
Expertise and Specialisation
Ensure the provider has expertise in the specific IT services your business requires. Look for a track record of success in areas such as network security, cloud computing, or software development. A specialised provider can offer targeted solutions that align with your business needs.
Reputation and References
Research the provider’s reputation within the industry. Seek client references and testimonials to gauge their reliability and performance. A provider with a track record of satisfied clients is more likely to deliver consistent and high-quality service.
Role of Outsourced IT in Business Continuity
Outsourced IT plays an important role in maintaining business continuity. Evaluate how the external team minimises disruptions by solving standard support tickets. A harmonious integration with your IT department gives you an advantage in adapting swiftly to technological changes and challenges.
Communication and Support Structure
Evaluate the provider’s communication channels and support structure. Clear lines of communication are essential for issue resolution and project updates. Understand the provider’s support model, including response times, escalation procedures, and 24/7 availability if needed. Effective communication is critical for a successful outsourcing relationship.
Ensuring Data Security and Compliance
Data security is non-negotiable. Establish trust by thoroughly assessing the security measures of the outsourced team and their reactions to security breaches. Compliance with industry regulations is equally crucial. A robust partnership in these areas guarantees the safeguarding of sensitive business technology, protecting your competitive advantage and mitigating risks associated with human resources and data management.
Make the move to an Outsourced Managed Service Provider
Navigating the ever-changing technological landscape can be overwhelming for small internal IT teams. Since technological advancements show no sign of slowing down, the growing trend of outsourcing IT services has demonstrated the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of working with external IT professionals.
But this doesn’t mean it’s the end of in-house IT departments. The key lies in striking a balance and recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Tailoring your approach to the unique needs of your business and working with a managed service provider you can trust is the most important.
Embark on this journey with confidence by getting in touch and chatting with our team of experts. We assess your IT needs and guide you toward a solution that aligns seamlessly with your business objectives.