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Business + IT Insights

The Pros and Cons of Outsourced & In-House IT

Posted by Dave Lazor on Wed, Nov 04, 2020


Pros & Cons

IT is a foundational part of your business and, when done right, can help create sustainable business growth. But, over the years, as IT has become more essential it has also become more complex. In 2020, the need for IT is greater than ever, but due to COVID-19 budgets have shrunk and margins have narrowed - so how can you get complex IT that supports your needs and your budget?

Fortunately, you’ve got options.

Option 1: In-House IT. You may have a perfectly good in-house IT department whom you rely on for all types of issues, and they get the job done.

Option 2: Outsourced IT. You could hand over the complexity to an outside team and let them handle everything. 

Option 3: Combine In-House with Outsourced. There are many benefits to marrying your in-house team with an outside provider as a way to meet your goals.

In-house IT and Outsourced IT both have their benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we will cover the pro’s and cons of each so that you understand the options available to you and can make the best possible decision for your business.

IN-HOUSE IT DEPARTMENT

THE PROS:

They know your business.

They are integrated in your business. Every day they work with 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. 

Your IT team understands your people, your users, your customers, and your prospects. They understand your business goals and metrics of success.

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 can fix problems quickly.

You know where they are.

Your IT department is on site and provides service for just your company. They are available whenever you need them. A user in the office can send a pm or get up, walk over to your IT department and say, "Hey, I need help with this."

THE CONS:

They can’t get everything done.

Small internal IT teams often get 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 can be more difficult with in-house IT.

Increased key-person risk.

A star IT team member can be worth their weight in gold. But what if they leave and take institutional knowledge with them? They have access to all your critical information and infrastructure and, in some cases, are the only source of support for the business' applications, systems, and team members. You need to make sure your business won't be at risk if your key-person leaves. 

Need support for IT issues outside their area of expertise.

IT is complex and multifaceted. No one team member usually has all of the skills to meet every IT need in your business. Your in-house team may have trouble with migrations to new software or hardware that streamline business processes, improve scalability, and drive flexibility but are great at solving user issues. Your team may be stellar at fine-tuning an infrastructure, but what about building it from the ground up? 

OUTSOURCED IT SUPPORT

THE PROS:

They know their stuff. 

Outsourced IT consultants work with a diversity of companies, both in your industry and in others. They know what's going to be a good fit for your business based on their experience with other businesses in your industry. They also have extensive knowledge of emerging software, apps, and technology that can propel your growth. 

They've got range. 

Because their team has a wide range of skill sets – 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 plans based on a reservoir of diverse experience and knowledge gained by working with many different partners. 

No key-man syndrome.

With a diverse team of experts, you don't fall victim to losing that one indispensable expert. 

They boost your bottom line. 

You have a team of senior-level IT experts working for your business without paying each of their salaries. For an in-house team, you’re likely paying their salary, benefits, training, device procurement, career development, and more. With an outsourced team, you only pay for the services you want delivered and the technology you need.

So, it goes without saying that outsourcing your IT is far more cost-effective than hiring an in-house team.

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. 

Outsourced IT providers will have access to integral systems for running your business so, to work well together you must have a lot of trust that they will be supporting you in good faith. Another common fear is that the technology solutions are going to cost you an arm and a leg and you won’t see 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 are not on site. Common questions that can end up being big frustrations are: 

  • When will I get a response to my service desk ticket
  • How quickly will my issues get resolved, and 
  • When will my email be back up and running? 

It’s common to have fears about communication that could cost you time, money, and stress. Clear communication is essential for any business relationship – and if not done right then it’s not the right fit.  

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.

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS - HAVE IT IN-HOUSE AND OUTSOURCE IT TOO.

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.

As we draw near to 2021, it’s a good time to think about and discuss your goals for next year. Is your IT currently setting you up for success? Has it become too complex for your liking? How does IT fit into your budget?

If you’re looking at your current IT setup and wondering which option benefits you the most - let’s talk. We’d love to talk through the various options, the pros and cons of each, and discuss how we can best serve you. To set up a call, talk to an expert today

Tags: Business Growth, it management, IT Strategy

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