Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em: Is it better to Keep IT In-House or Outsource?

On February 3rd, 2016, posted in: small-business-IT by Comments Off on Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em: Is it better to Keep IT In-House or Outsource?

In house vs. outsourced IT supportIt’s love month.

And today we’re taking a closer look at whether it makes sense to keep your IT in-house or outsource your IT services.

As with most recommendations in IT, all businesses have different goals, perspectives and needs, so naturally, a one-size-fits-all solution just doesn’t exist.

Let’s take a closer look at your options.

Pros and Cons of Outsourced IT

PROS (Love ‘em)

Pros of outsourced IT support1) It’s cost-effective: Often times, a flat monthly fee is more cost effective than the cost of annual wages and benefits for a full-time IT staff.

2) Team of experts: Rather than relying on a few select individuals who might be knowledgeable in one or two distinct disciplines, you’ll have access to an entire team of well-rounded, experienced techs for just one monthly fee or predefined hourly rate.

3) Focus: By delegating IT support to an outsourced company, you can free up internal resources and focus on your core competencies instead of feeling bogged down by technical issues or managing IT staff.

CONS (Leave ‘em)

Cons of outsourced Milwaukee IT support1) Unexpected costs: If you don’t choose your IT provider wisely, they might hit you with hidden fees or encourage you to over-invest in technology. Referrals and actual customer reviews go a long way in selecting the right IT company for your business.

2) Availability: Since your IT provider has other clients to serve, they might not be available to immediately respond to your issues. At Ontech, we give clients 5 ways to contact us to ensure all customer issues are dealt with as quickly as possible, but with some IT companies, you might have to wait in line.

As a side note, through managed services, your network can be monitored 24/7 – and issues can be identified and resolved before you’re even aware of them!

3) Perceived Lack of Control: Since you are utilizing the services of an external company, they have a different workflow, business processes and overall operational flow than your business. If response times are not specified and agreed upon ahead of time, you may experience concerns over lack of control.

Pros and Cons of In-House IT Support

PROS (Love ‘em)

Pros of outsourced Milwaukee IT support1) Predictable Costs: While there is no way around hardware and software IT costs, an in-house IT employee gives you the benefit of predictable IT costs – in terms of salary – that remains the same, regardless of what tasks they perform.

2) Easy Access: As an employee of your company, you have immediate access to your IT techs, should a disruption or emergency take place.

3) Intimate Understanding: Your business is the number one focus of your IT staff and they will have an intimate understanding of your IT systems. This allows them to anticipate what other employees need and tailor solutions to their individual needs and the company’s overall objectives.

CONS (Leave ‘em)

1) Unanticipated costs: As an employee, your company is responsible for ongoing training for IT techs so they can stay up to date on technologies to better support your network.

Cons of outsourced Milwaukee IT supportWhile their full-time salary does provide a fixed cost, other things like training, sick days, time off and benefits are also factors when evaluating costs.

2) Expertise: Your IT support technician may have an intimate knowledge of your current technology, but one or two employees can’t compare to the expertise of an IT provider. If your company wants to upgrade to the latest innovative technology, will your current IT techs have the expertise to support, manage and monitor it?

3) Overwhelm: In a typical 1-2 person in-house IT department, the ongoing stream of time-sensitive tasks can quickly accumulate and overwhelm a limited team, causing certain projects or processes to fall to the wayside.

The Hybrid Approach You’re Sure to Love

Many businesses feel very comfortable with a hybrid model – and for good reason.

Hybrid approach to IT supportIt makes sense to use a combination of outsourced IT and in-house staff, as each option has its own benefits and this approach gives you the best of both worlds.

Some companies find it valuable to outsource day-to-day tasks like setting up email accounts and fixing computer issues, while keeping innovation in-house.

Other companies use managed services as a backup for technologies more technical in nature that in-house IT can’t or doesn’t have time to manage.

If your in-house team is freed up from time-consuming daily tasks, they can use their unique knowledge of your business network to keep your company safe and up-to-date with the latest technology.

The Flexibility of Managed IT Services

Managed services are a great way to “fill in the gaps” and support areas of your network that need regular maintenance or monitoring. The flexibility of managed services gives you the freedom to “turn them on or off” at a moment’s notice – which is especially attractive to businesses from a billing standpoint.

From backup, to antivirus, mobile device management and more, managed services can protect your IT network and support your techs’ main objectives. Not sure where to begin? Start here

Ask Your IT Department to Complete a SWOT Analysis

Here’s another approach to determine just how your hybrid IT support approach will work. Ask your techs to complete a SWOT analysis to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within the IT department.

Start by asking the following questions so your IT staff can identify the greatest potential for outsourcing.

  • What are your department’s greatest strengths?
  • What are your department’s greatest weaknesses?
  • What opportunities exist in the IT industry that would benefit the company?
  • What threats exist in the IT industry that present a threat to the company?

Your SWOT analysis might look similar to this below.

SWOT analysis for IT support

By analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within your IT department, you’re able to make an informed decision on how to integrate outsourced IT with your in-house IT department.

  • If weaknesses and threats outweigh strengths and opportunities, you could invest more resources in outsourced IT.
  • On the flipside, if strengths and opportunities outweigh threats and weaknesses, it might make sense to dedicate more resources in-house.

In-House vs. Outsourced IT: Make an Informed Decision

With a careful budget review, completed SWOT analysis, and comprehensive review of your strategic goals and objectives, your decision will be not only in line with your business goals, but it will help your IT department increase productivity, reduce costs, minimize downtime and secure your business data.

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