It Strategy | It Team
Your current IT person has always been enough for your company. The computers are up and running, the servers function well and you’ve even made the move to some cloud-based services. You think of your IT person as an “IT superhero” – smart, loyal, relatively inexpensive and capable of solving just about any technology problem in a single bound.
Then, something happens.
Maybe an employee clicks on a phishing email, feeding sensitive company information to the wrong people, jeopardizing the security of your data and your company’s entire reputation. Or your competition starts getting the best of you. Their technology strategies include advantages you didn’t even know to look for. Suddenly, you realize that the myth of the IT superhero only holds up if there’s no kryptonite around.
The bottom line is that in today’s highly complex and quickly changing technology world, you need more support. That one brilliant IT person who can cover all of your bases and lend expertise, advice and insight into any area of your organization’s IT doesn’t actually exist.
Today, technology has become so critical, in so many ways, and has introduced so many risks and security issues, that every company now requires a diverse and talented IT team at its disposal, whether that team is in-house or, more likely, outsourced.
The Complex, Multifaceted Job of an IT Team
Even in a small company, the typical IT team is responsible for much more than simple day-to-day support issues. In addition to keeping computers up and running, the IT team also oversees:
- System administration and upgrades
- Software selection and purchase
- Data protection and security issues
- Monitoring and alerting
These are all very different areas that require a single IT person to become project manager, technician and emergency response personnel all at once. With all the weight on their shoulders, they're expected to stay up to date on every single tech trend, from cloud content management to security software. They must also be instantly responsive when something goes wrong and able to solve any degree of technology snafu, from annoyance (a malfunctioning printer) to disaster (everyone’s worst nightmare, a data breach).
And for them to be fully effective in their roles, let’s face it, you need them to be experts at business as well. They must be able to map your business goals to technology choices with strong arguments and effective follow-throughs.
Why a Team Approach to IT Staffing Is Critical for Any Size Company
If one person, or one small team, is handling all of the above, priority will always be given to the most pressing issues – which often are also the smallest. Most daily support issues need to be handled right away. If a computer breaks, a server goes down or a password is leaked, it must be fixed immediately. Strategic planning, on the other hand, is rarely urgent, so it gets pushed aside in favor of more pressing tasks. The result, more often than not, is that it never actually happens.
The reality is that these are all roles that require very different skill sets, thought processes and levels of responsiveness. The IT members best at developing stellar IT strategy are probably not the best fit for troubleshooting day-to-day issues.
IT requires a team approach to be effective and create real ROI. But the reality of IT depends on the size of the company.
- Small businesses (under 50 users) can find the cost of even one full-time “IT superhero” to be unrealistic. They’re faced with two options: Add “IT” to the responsibilities of the most technically proficient person on staff (which is ineffective at best and potentially disastrous) or outsource IT completely. IT outsourcing is usually far more successful than setting up a non-IT person to fail in his or her role.
- Mid-sized business (approximately 50–250 users) are the most likely to have that mythical in-house IT superhero. But relying on one (or even two) IT staffer who holds the technological health and safety of your entire company in their hands is risky. And a full-time hire isn't always the most economical route to securing on-call IT, particularly when you add things like training, benefits, hiring costs, retaining costs and the inevitable cost of building in-house processes and technology onto the cost of salary.
- Larger businesses (over 250 users) often build out multifaceted IT teams with breadth and depth of skill sets and expertise. However, even the best internal IT team will always have limitations. They still run the risk of being so caught up in the day to day of IT that they can’t step back and commandeer new initiatives, and they’ll likely lack the expertise necessary to successfully identify and implement new capabilities.
All types of companies, with any size IT team – from zero people to 50 – can benefit from partnering with an outsourced IT partner that has a range of expertise across every area of IT.
The Benefits of Outsourcing IT Functions
The worst mistake you can make with your IT is to think, “I’ve already got someone, and they’re loyal and inexpensive.”
Unfortunately, you won’t realize that your IT isn't functioning at its best until you're blindsided by a major issue, like data loss or a major system outage that lasts hours or days affecting your team’s ability to sell and provide service for your customers. Worst case scenario, you’re hit with a very costly and embarrassing cybersecurity incident that threatens your reputation and puts you at risk for a huge liability.
Given how technology is central to the success of any business today, setting unrealistic expectations for your IT team will eventually lead to IT failures that impede your company’s profitable growth. Take the time to secure the right type of outside IT support before your reliance on a mythical IT superhero leads to disaster.
Schedule a meeting today to discuss how you can avoid these common pitfalls.
To explore your IT outsourcing options and consider which one might work best for your company, read “The 4 Types of Information Technology Partners Explained – Know Your Choices in 2019.”