You want reliable IT systems that provide a competitive advantage for a reasonable cost. But how do you find the resources who can best achieve this?
Should you hire internal IT staff, or outsource the responsibility to a third party? Let's examine several important facets to help you decide which is the best move.
Management of IT Staff
Who manages your IT staff? Most small business do not have the resources or knowledge of IT to manage technical resources. They know their own industry well and understand how to manage staff in that field, but IT is a different scenario.
For example, do you know how long upgrading Windows typically takes? If not, you won't know if the amount of time your staff spent on the process was reasonable. In these and many other cases, how do you have any idea that the team is following IT best practices?
Outsourcing your IT means the burden of managing an IT team no longer falls on you. Your IT provider knows what is and isn't reasonable in their field.
If you pay them a flat rate for managed services, they will be self-motivated to police their management internally. In addition, their experience working with many other companies will bring broad best practices experience to your business.
Vacation, Sickness, and Off Hours
What do you do when your only IT staff member takes a vacation or calls in sick? Even the sole employee being asleep at night could cause an issue in the case of an emergency. Companies with multi-person IT teams can still become overloaded by a member calling off.
Outsourcing IT eliminates this. Time off has no impact on your IT helpdesk or ongoing IT projects because additional resources from your IT provider can supplement any time off their own staff might have.
When the IT Person Quits
If your only IT employee quits, you could be in serious trouble. Hopefully, that person documented your IT sufficiently, but this unfortunately isn't the case with many internal IT staff. All their knowledge is simply floating around in their head. Chances are that nobody else actually knows anything about how the systems are run.
This means that employee turnover is a significant risk to your business. What happens if the only people with the keys to the castle decide to walk out, or you have to let them go because you discovered they weren't doing their jobs properly? Now you'll need to train new staff on how it all works, but who is going to do the training?
Outsourcing your IT solves this problem. Your provider handles any turnover on their end. And the right IT company will fanatically document everything related to their practices. It will serve as more than enough for someone else to come in and recreate your infrastructure setup from scratch.
Level of Skill
Managing IT for small businesses requires skill in many different technologies. This is more than a single person can handle on their own. Effective IT staff know how to manage servers, effectively communicate in non-technical language, and manage your network firewall and security. That's a lot to ask from one employee.
How do you evaluate employee IT skills when you hire? Unless you're experienced in the field, you probably don't know if they're providing the right answers and have all the skills you need.
Using an outsourced provider can give you access to a wide range of technical abilities. You can bring in skilled experts with the appropriate skillset to handle any project. Best of all, you don't have to figure out if you're hiring a competent person or not. Your outsourced provider should be able to demonstrate what they'e done with other businesses similar to yours.
While internal IT will only know a single environment (yours), outsourced consultants will have broader experience that can keep your business more competitive. Your outsourced IT team should constantly compare your technology to that of other companies. Good consultants will apply those best practices and lessons learned to your business as part of their ongoing services.
Having a team of people available who know your completely documented business well is a much better setup than relying on a single person for your technical needs.
IT Service Cost
Despite all this, you might think that using an internal IT member is cheaper. If you can save money by going that route, it's worth putting up with the above frustrations, right?
As it turns, out, maintaining your own IT staff is frequently more costly than outsourcing. In order to obtain an employee who can handle your helpdesk, network, servers, and complex IT projects, you will have to:
- Find someone with broad (and expensive) experience.
- Pay them vacation time.
- Contribute payroll taxes.
- Spend your time managing them.
- Pay retirement benefits.
- Cover Healthcare benefits.
- Spend time and money on training.
All that expense goes into a single person who can walk off the job at any point. An outsourced self-managed team under a contract does not have any of these caveats.
Outsourcing Is the Clear Choice
As we've seen, outsourcing saves you time, money, and sanity.
For small business, outsourcing your IT provides your business with a stronger, more reliable, and less expensive solution for your IT needs than trying to go it alone.
If this sounds promising to you, find out how we can make your business more profitable!