A lot of companies take the decision to outsource their IT, lightly. This is despite the fact that it will most likely affect their bottom lines.

You might very well know the horror of a board meeting. Long, boring gatherings where you always have to give input, even though you have no idea what’s going on. It’s no wonder that when it’s time to make decisions about IT, the results are often just pulled out of a hat. At least this is the case until you realize how quickly everything falls apart when you make the wrong choice. So what is the right answer when you’re told: “To outsource or not to outsource – That is the question”?

Availability and Budget

Your heart starts racing and all you can see in your mind is dollar signs and disasters. Don’t panic! This decision simply requires a couple of computations – Starting with the assessment of budget vs availability. This equation basically entails the balancing act of having someone on-site permanently to help you with your IT the moment things come crashing down or phoning someone and waiting every time. The first option will obviously sound better to you since you probably know the importance of IT in your business. What you have to know however is that a lot of companies employ their own IT technicians, but these guys usually sit around playing games the whole day.

So now you’re thinking – Great, let’s outsource! Once again – be careful! Just as many companies waste money on internal teams, a lot of companies need more help in IT than they plan and spend more money on call-outs then they would have if they directly hired the team. My recommendation is to use your imagination here. Do you only need help occasionally or is there permanently someone hanging around the office helping you? Also: Would it be worth it for you to rather have a fixed expense when it comes to the workforce in that department or would you rather have an “if-and-when-needed” team at your disposal with varying expense. In other words: If you employ, it becomes easier to have a better budget, if you outsource it becomes a lot more difficult.

Specialization in Systems

Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of companies have specialized systems that they make use of and IT personnel often need training on these systems. If this is the case in your company, outsourcing probably won’t work for you. This is simply because it would be easier and more efficient to train an in-house team on these systems.

Why? Because your outsourced team will always change. Companies that provide IT outsourcing services, generally have a large team of engineers and specialists waiting for call-outs. When someone calls, the severity and nature of the issues are assessed and the persons most likely to provide the best help are sent. This means that you will probably get a different engineer or specialist everytime. If you have specialized systems that the engineer will need training on before they can fix the problem, you’ll likely have to wait forever for it to be fixed – It just won’t work.

Areas in the IT department

Most businesses only need IT support to fix something when it’s broken. Or this used to be the case at least. But in the 21st century, things have changed.  Systems are constantly changing, some companies gained higher security risks and most companies have started centralizing their IT. Instead of just needing IT support engineers, most companies now suddenly also need other professionals like security and cloud specialists. This most often happens the moment you decide to get “trendy” and start investing into things like online systems and cloud solutions.

The biggest problem here is that these specialists aren’t only rare and expensive, but their work is also often non-exhaustive. Take a security specialist, for example. The security specialist is responsible for identifying IT security risks in the company and recommending corrective actions. The more time the specialist is given, the more risks it will find. This, however, means that it will probably not be easy or cheaper to outsource this position.

The Key is Staying Informed

These points above will often bring about more questions, especially if you’re not an IT expert, to begin with. For example, you might be wondering if you need a security or cloud specialized or how much you’ll need to budget on outsourcing. These are all very valid questions and this brings me to my final and most important point. Stay informed. Now, I’m not talking about watching the news every night. No! I mean get someone you can trust to at least help you make these decisions. Get a professional to help you identify the needs and trends of the technology in your company and to ensure that no matter what your decision is, it is beneficial to you and your company.

ITFirst South Africa will most likely be the ideal partner for you if you have a small- to medium-sized company and your head office is online or stationed near any of our branches. We’d love to meet with you and face your IT challenges with you, so please feel free to get in touch!