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Scheduling backups, monitoring systems and undertaking routine maintenance can be hard work for businesses that don’t specialise in IT. After all, it can be easy to forget about IT altogether until something goes wrong!
That’s where outsourcing comes in! While outsourcing often connotes images of scripted telemarketers and terrible hold music, outsourcing your IT to a specialist company can reap numerous benefits, including the obvious advantages of cutting costs.
But is there more to outsourcing than the bottom line?
In this article we will discuss the 3 R’s of subcontracting your IT to an external company: The reasons, risks and rewards.
There are numerous reasons why companies choose to outsource their IT, here are some of the most popular motives:
Reduce and control operating costs
The main driver of IT outsourcing for many companies is reduced spending. Depending on your business size and your agreement, you could save up to 40% on your IT spend.
When you outsource your IT, both capital and operating expenses can be reduced. You don’t need to purchase expensive hardware, or hire employees to perform certain IT functions. What's more, most IT companies offer fixed cost packages, which means your IT spend is predictable with no nasty surprises or expensive time and materials costs.
Improve company focus
For small businesses especially, trying to juggle IT management, consistent marketing efforts and bookkeeping can be a struggle. Outsourcing enables you to focus on your core competencies, allowing experts to take care of other functions in your business.
Gain access to exceptional capabilities
Your return on investment is so much greater when you outsource your IT to a firm that specialises in the areas you need. Instead of just the knowledge of one person, you benefit from the collective experience of a team of IT professionals. Most IT companies, including Synapse requires their consultants to have proper industry training and certifications, meaning your business is in very safe and capable hands.
Keeping up with the technology required to run your business is expensive and time consuming. Because professional outsourced IT providers work with multiple clients and need to keep up on industry best practices, they typically know what is right and what is not. This kind of knowledge and experience not only reduces your risk of implementing a costly wrong decision, but ensures your system is proactively monitored and maintained at all times.
As with most things in life, there is risk involved in outsourcing your IT which can cause headaches if inadequate planning and research has been undertaken before selecting an IT company.
Business owners who consider outsourcing IT functions need to be aware of the following risks:
Lack of Confidentiality
When hiring an IT company to oversee your entire IT system, the confidentiality of data and disaster recovery can sometimes come into question, as IT providers require your passwords to access your system. Before you sign on to an agreement, ensure the IT company is professional and reputable. The testimonials section of the company’s website is a good place to start.
Employee morale may be affected
If you will be laying off employees to replace their job functions with an outsourced IT firm, employee morale can be affected. Often employees who survive lay-offs can be left feeling depressed or insecure about their position. Research shows that reduced commitment and diminished productivity can linger for the better part of a year after a layoff takes place.
You may get "locked in” to a contract
More often than not, IT companies require you to sign a 12 or 24 month contract. If you haven’t established clear expectations with your IT service provider, you could be in for a very frustrating and tiresome two years.
Before you agree to anything, ensure you and your IT provider are on the same page with everything from contract inclusions, response rate and excess charges. Still not sure what to ask? view our list of things you should cover in your IT support agreement.
As we’ve already mentioned, outsourcing your IT to a team of experts can save your business a significant amount of money. Not only will you save money on costly hardware and equipment, but with a team proactively monitoring your system, the risk of downtime and idle staff is reduced enormously. Even in the event of a catastrophe, robust backup and recovery procedures significantly reduce the risk of losing important company data. IT outsourcing providers ensure that data centers have appropriate defences, such as firewalls and security information and event monitoring software.
Access to the latest and greatest in technology
As technology is constantly evolving, software and operating systems can quickly out-date leaving you vulnerable to viruses, hackers and loss of valuable data. Keeping up to date with everything can be time consuming and challenging, especially if you aren’t sure what tools need to be implemented to achieve your IT goals.
Whether you switch the cloud or keep a server on premise, outsourcing your IT means you will get expert advice on the latest technology and solutions to suit your business’ particular needs.
Reduced Risk and Increased Flexibility
Technology is expensive, and making wrong decisions is costly. An IT services provider has a solid base of experience that assists with making the right technical decisions. If you decide to change your technology strategy, your IT provider will have tools and services to help you transition.
Working with an IT services provider also provides flexibility that enables companies to scale their system as their business grows (or downsizes). If your company is growing rapidly and needs additional capacity, an IT services provider can rapidly bring additional servers and storage online.
When managed properly, outsourcing your IT services is a great way to save costs, increase reliability and keep up to date with the latest software. If you are considering outsourcing, why not get in touch with the team at Synapse IT.