You want reliable IT systems that can be a competitive advantage for a reasonable cost. How do you find a resource who can best achieve this?
Should you hire internal IT staff or outsource this to a third party?
Management of IT Staff
Who manages your IT staff? Most small business do not have the resources or knowledge around IT to manage technical resources. They know their own industry well and know how to manage staff related to that industry, but IT is a different.
For example, do you know how long upgrading Windows typically takes to know if the amount of time spent was reasonable? How do you know if they are following IT best practices?
Outsourcing your IT means you can forget about having to manage IT. Your IT provider knows what is and is not reasonable. If you are paying them a flat Managed Services rate, they will be self-motivated to police this internally. In addition, their experience working with many other companies will bring broad best practice experience to your own.
Vacation / Sickness / Off Hours
What do you do when your only IT staff member takes a vacation? Or calls in sick? Or wants to go to sleep at night? Someone calling off can cause even companies with multiple IT staff to become overloaded.
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.
Oh No The IT Person Quit!
Now what? Did this person document your IT sufficiently? Does anyone actually know anything about how it is run? Most internal IT staff do not document how they should. Why should they? They have it all in their heads.
Employee turnover is a significant risk to your business. What if the only people with the keys to the castle decide to walk off the job? Or you have to let them go because you figured out they were not doing their jobs? Now you 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. If you get the right IT company, they will fanatically document everything related to IT. More than enough for someone else to come in and recreate your IT from scratch.
Managing IT for small businesses requires skill in many different technologies, more than a single person can handle on their own. Does your IT person know how to manage servers, can they effectively communicate non-technically, and can they manage your network firewall and security? It is a lot to ask.
How are your evaluating those skills when you hire? Do you know if they are providing you the right answers and have all of the skills you need?
Using an outsourced provider can give you access to a wide range of technical abilities. Skilled IT experts with the most appropriate skillset can be brought to bear on any project. Best of all you do not have to try to figure out if the person you are hiring is good or not. Your outsource provider should be demonstrating to you what they have 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 be constantly comparing your technology to 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 to you who know your completely documented business well is a much better place to be in than relying on a single person for your needs.
An internal IT member is cheaper though, right? Surely, you can save money by going that route. Usually not. In order to find someone who can handle both your helpdesk, network, servers and complex IT projects, you will have to:
- Get someone with expensive and broad experience.
- Pay vacation time.
- Pay payroll taxes.
- Pay retirement benefits.
- Pay Healthcare benefits.
- Pay for training.
- Spend your time managing them.
All of that expense goes into a single person who can walk off the job instead of an outsourced self-managed team under a contract.
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.