Business + IT Insights

Outsourced IT vs. In-House IT

Posted by Dave Lazor on Thu, Mar 20, 2014


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Businesses no longer simply rely on information technology (IT), using it as a convenient crutch to conduct daily operations with automated ease. Today's businesses leverage innovative technology solutions for powerful and sustainable business growth.  This is why outsourced IT support is such a hot topic. You may have a perfectly good in-house IT department whom you rely on for all those IT hiccups and hurdles, but are you truly leveraging technology in a way that improves and grows your business?

In-house IT and outsourced IT both have their pros and cons. It's up to you to decide which is the best option for your business – because you know your business and, more importantly, your business potential best.

In-house IT department

THE PROS:

  • They know your business.
    They've probably been around a while, so they're pretty integrated in your business. They work with other parts of your team to understand the value that each individual and each department provides for your business. They know what your business needs to make it run smoothly and boost your top line.
     
  • They know your people. 
    Assuming your IT team or professional is business savvy and curious, they know your people, your users, your customers and your prospects. They understand your business goals, metrics of success and where your team needs to go.
     
  • They know your set up.
    For the more tactical side of things, having a help desk in-house has its benefits. This is a support team who has built up in-depth knowledge about your systems and set up, and therefore has the ability to skip that "get-to-know-you" onboarding stage and fix problems quickly.
     
  • You know where they are.
    IT is on site and usually servicing just your company. They're therefore available at your beck and call: A user gets up, walks over to the IT professional and says, "Hey, I need help with this."

THE CONS:

  • They get stuck.
    What if your IT team gets bogged down with day-to-day user support or questions? This doesn't leave much room for creative technology solutions that propel innovation and growth. If you're a mid-size business, you may have only one IT team or professional who's responsible for all support and questions, so they're not able to research the newest trends or implement enterprising technologies that revolutionize your business. Plus, the ability to scale up and down as business demand changes does not come naturally with in-house IT.
     
  • They hold the keys to your kingdom.
    Can your in-house team or technology professional be trusted? They have access to all your critical information and infrastructure, and in some cases are the only source of support for the business' applications and systems. You need to make sure your business won't be held hostage by your in-house team if they aren't able to provide what your business needs to serve its customers. It is imperative that they're up to your ethical standards. 
     
  • They get frustrated. 
    Juxtapose your project goal(s) against your resources – which may include technology, processes and people – that are available to you and provided by your in-house team. Many in-house teams have trouble with migrations to new software or hardware that streamline business processes, improve scalability and drive flexibility. Your team may be stellar at fine-tuning an infrastructure, but what about building it from the ground up? On top of their other responsibilities, this is likely a struggle for them and lays the groundwork for downtime, disorder and degeneration. 

Outsourced IT Support

THE PROS:

  • They know their stuff. 
    Outsourced IT consultants work with a diversity of companies, both in your industry and in other sectors. They know what's going to be a good fit for your business based on 1) their experience with other businesses in your industry and 2) extensive knowledge of what more out-of-the-box software, apps and technology are able to do for growth. 
     
  • They've got range. 
    Because their team has a wide range of skillsets – from project engineers and developers to help desk associates – they're able to research and access different software, applications and technology that your in-house department might not even be privy to. 
     
  • They give you strategy, not just tactics. 
    You get a virtual CIO who furnishes you with strategic goals and planning based on that deep-rooted reservoir of diverse experience and knowledge.
     
  • No key-man syndrome.
    With a diverse team of experts, you don't fall victim to losing that one indispensible expert. (Think Steve Jobs and Apple.)
     
  • They boost your bottom line. 
    You have a team of senior-level IT experts working for your business without actually paying each of their salaries. So, it goes without saying that outsourcing costs much less than staffing your business with a team of IT professionals that covers every technological function, both tactical and strategic, that your business needs to survive and thrive.
    • Costs of an in-house IT team include recruiting/hiring, salary, benefits, training, device procurement and career development (e.g., bonuses, education and certifications).
       
    • Costs of outsourced IT team only extend to the services you want delivered and the technology you need for your own users.
  • They take more than technology in account. 
    These technology experts know that comprehensive IT support includes the processes, the people and the technology.

THE CONS:

  • You have fears. 
    You may be on edge about the trust factor these outside IT consultants are bringing into your company. You may worry that innovative technology solutions are going to cost you an arm and a leg. You may stress that you're not going to get the return on investment (ROI) you're looking for.
     
  • You have doubts.
    You may doubt the outsourced team's ability to provide quick maintenance turnaround and responses when they're not on site.
    • When will you get a server back when it goes in for repairs?
    • When will you get a response to your email about server storage?
    • When will your email be up and running again so you can reach that crucial customer or client?
    • When are your help-desk issues being resolved, and how do you know?

It's important to keep in mind that these outsourcing "cons" do not apply to all managed IT consulting companies. Think of them as warning signs to watch out for when searching for an outsourced IT provider.

Who's doing it? Well, of course the big guys do it.

In one of the largest U.S. outsourcing ventures, DuPont hired Computer Science Corp. (CSC) and Andersen Consulting for $4 billion over a 10-year period to develop and manage its IT potential. Other big-ticket IT deals include Xerox's $3 billion contract with EDS and McDonnell Douglas' $3 billion partnership with ISSC.

But it's not just the big guys who make the big moves.

Smaller companies have the greatest incentive to outsource their IT: to reap the rewards of contracting out portions of their technology operations to specialized IT consultants.

But remember: You only realize true growth when you go beyond IT maintenance and reactive help desk/training departments. Growth through outsourced IT depends on landing those proactive technology consultants who don't just fix things when they're broken, but make power moves when your business is running low on energy – when it's standing still and lacking the drive to test limits, break barriers and shatter the status quo.

Have it in-house, and outsource too.

Even if (especially if) you have great in-house IT resources, what better way to maximize their potential than to merge their efforts with outsourced IT support? Your in-house team could take on the tactics – leveraging their intimate knowledge of your day-to-day business operations and needs – while outsourced IT consultants help to implement a powerful strategic foundation for sustainable growth through technology.

Want to harness the power of proactive and innovative outsourced IT support to propel your growth? Click below to brainstorm improvements to your business technology solutions with a PointMan™ from Lazorpoint and take your business beyond the status quo.

Start Brainstorming with a PointMan

Tags: it management, IT strategy, business growth

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