As organisations grow, it’s common for them to bring more of their required skillsets in-house. Whilst this works great for many business functions, contrary to what most people think, Information Technology & Communications (ITC) is not one of them. The big shortcoming of bringing ITC in-house is that ITC is a wide and varied industry and to bring someone in house that has this wide skillset will be a huge challenge. There are 2 main reasons for this. The first is that finding someone that is experienced across the wide range that ITC covers is very hard and if you do find them the cost to hire them and keep them in the organisation will be – in most cases; financially restrictive. Not to mention that those individuals that could possibly fit this role will generally get bored quickly doing the day to day IT support required, let alone doing the same thing repetitively.
So why would you want to outsource your ITC to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) you might ask? Besides the above reasons, there are another 6 good reasons to outsource:
Keep your business focused on its core business
The organisation can stay focused on its core business. Yes I am sure you have heard this to be the reason to outsource other components of your business, but when it comes to ITC, it really is a no brainer. You see as ITC is such a wide industry, it’s very easy to start on a small project and for it to grow and grow and before you now it you are spending a lot of your resources managing the project rather than just keeping an eye on your MSP, to ensure they are reaching the project milestones.
Get it done more efficiently
There is an old saying that I learned at my first job whilst still at high school, and I still go by it today – ‘Aces in their places’. It’s really simple. If you were going to build a house would you get your next door neighbour who is the handy man to build it? I am sure he would be eager to help and will have the best intentions. Yes his hourly rate would be cheaper, but seriously – at the end of the day could you wait for him to build it? Any savings that you projected would have been superficial and would have been overshadowed by the additional costs the builder would have incurred.
Unfortunately when it comes to ITC, every guy that has ever opened up a computer to add memory is the self-proclaimed ‘IT Expert’. These same experts will predominately lack any idea of looking at the big picture and will neither have the experience nor will they have the structure to maintain a business network to the levels that businesses need today. When you look at evaluating an MSP, you need to really look past their technical strengths. Look at the structure and the team leader behind the techs. This will give you a true indication of how efficient they will be in delivering your work.
Reduce the risk exposure
When you first think of outsourcing any business component, one of the first thoughts that come to mind is the risk of outsourcing. Although you need to be diligent in who you outsource to in any case, when I am talking about risk I am referring to the risk to your business if you don’t outsource. You see there are some areas that your business is at risk. When it comes to IT there is no way a ‘1 man band’ IT person or IT company will be able to cover your business needs. So the business leaders would be at risk to believe they were covered, when in reality there has been no thought or structure put in place on how to protect the business and its data.
Budget the cost of ITC
Irrelevant of their size, most businesses need to budget and distribute their costs over the year. Smaller organisations might think it gets easier if your organisation is bigger, but the truth is ITC is a cost centre of your business that will generally grow in proportion to your organisations size. A smaller organisation with 10 seats might find that they only need 1 server, but as the organisation grows so do their infrastructure requirements. 1 simple rule of thumb that I find works well is 1 server per 7 employees. So how does outsourcing help budgeting? Well it starts off by building an IT strategy with your MSP and then putting in a support plan that will cover your support requirements. With that in place, you can now work with your MSP to work out when you will need to spend money on projects and infrastructure and how to ensure they don’t financially impact your business.
Increase efficiencies and competitiveness
It’s a common occurrence that when a business is struggling to stay competitive against its competitors, that it then looks to ways to improve its efficiencies to stay in business. Unfortunately, that is sort of like rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic as its sinking – in most cases it’s too late. If you are able to improve efficiencies then it comes at a huge cost of staff morale and culture as it will no doubt include reducing your staff count.
So how do you not fall into this trap? Well it’s quite simple. Look at how ITC can improve your efficiencies when your business is trading as normal. A good MSP will be able to help you analyse your business from a technology point of view and show you where you can not only improve your efficiencies but in most cases these will lead to cost savings in the long run.
Level the playing field
Everyone knows that the business world doesn’t have a level playing field. I mean when you have organisations that have such deep pockets like Telstra, and they are competing with small telecommunication organisations it is clear who the underdog is! So how does one compete? Through innovative technology. Having truly innovative technology is an area that smaller business have the advantage over larger organisations. Where a larger organisation will need to go through many hoops before they can utilise a new technology, smaller companies are generally able to move much quicker from the idea stage to the implementation stage. The key item that is generally lacking though, in a small organisation is the technological expertise. This is a critical key to success, as without this you could very quickly burn through money and time which will put you behind your competition.