Should You Outsource Your IT Support?

Monday, August 14, 2017, 6:00 AM | Leave Comment

Are you trying to decide if you should outsource your IT needs to a contractor? Hiring a contractor to address your IT needs can help you to maximize your use of technological products and services at an affordable price.

However, there are pros and cons to consider before you make a final decision.

These are some of the positive aspects associated with IT outsourcing:

Should You Outsource Your IT Support

  • Reduced Costs

    Hiring in-house employees can be expensive. This is because you may have to pay for in-house training, managerial oversight, health insurance premiums, retirement plan contributions, employment taxes, and more.

    Contractors may have a higher hourly rate than in-house employees, but they still may be more cost-effective when all of the other costs associated with in-house employees are considered.

    Furthermore, remember that with contract labor, you only pay for the services needed on an hourly basis. This means that you do not have to worry about paying fixed overhead costs if you have variable or fluctuating IT needs.

  • Increased Flexibility

    For very large companies, it may make sense to hire one or more in-house IT professionals. In-house employees may need to be on-sight regularly to provide around-the-clock support and specialized IT services, to run backups, to deal with disaster recovery situations, and more.

    Contractors, however, are more flexible and may be more well-suited for smaller businesses for this reason. Your business may only need periodic assistance from time to time and may only have a few specialized projects for an IT professional to work on each year.

  • Highly Trained Staff

    When you hire a dedicated IT professional as an employee, your IT services are limited by that individual’s training and experience. If you need additional services, you may still need to outsource the work or pay to train your employee on the topic.

    With outsourcing, you may have access to a full team of professionals with a diversified range of experience and training. Keep in mind that technology is constantly changing, and the financial burden of paying for new training falls on your shoulders when you have an in-house employee.

  • Access to the Latest Technology

    Because technology is evolving regularly, you may need to make upgrades from time to time. Contractors generally have multiple clients, and these clients may all require similar updates over a short period of time.

    IT contractors may also have great experience about how to implement the technology properly in a manner that saves your business money.

Just as there are positive aspects to consider when you outsource your IT needs to a contractor, there are some downsides as well. These include:

  • Lack of Control

    While some contractors handle the bulk of the work themselves, others will pass off the work to others as soon as you sign a contract.

    For example, an intern rather than a skilled professional may be assigned to complete critical IT tasks, or the contractor may even outsource the work to a third party that you had no part in selecting.

    Furthermore, projects may be extended, and costs may escalate on you without a legitimate explanation why this is happening.

  • Not Being “In Touch”

    If your business relies on IT innovation to serve customers, you simply must have an IT team in-house to meet those needs. This is critical to your ability to serve your customers well, and it ensures that you receive feedback and insight from customers.

    Furthermore, in-house IT professionals may be more familiar with your business processes and workflow. This can help you to more fully take advantage of beneficial technology as it becomes available.

  • Exposed Customer Data

    Your IT team likely will have access to confidential customer data as well as vital company secrets.

    There is always a risk that IT professionals could breach trust and expose this data in detrimental ways regardless of how the professionals are hired or contracted. However, your risk for comprising the data increases substantially when you hire outsourced help.

IT outsourcing does have its downsides, but you can see that it may be the most beneficial option for addressing your technological needs in many cases. This is particularly true for smaller or medium-sized businesses that may not have the deep pockets that are necessary to pay for in-house tech support and services.

While cost is important, all factors should be reviewed carefully before you decide how to proceed. When looking for a contractor, keep all details and agreements in writing, and ensure that the pricing structure is transparent before you finalize the relationship.

Remember that the contractor you select will likely have a long-term relationship with your company, so spend ample time selecting the right firm to use for this need.

Author info

Josh McAllister is a freelance technology journalist with years of experience in the IT sector. He is passionate about helping small business owners understand how technology can save them time and money. Find him on Twitter @josh8mcallister

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