There has never been a time when IT has been more essential to a successful business operation. What’s more, we are not talking about the mere purchase and basic management of technology, but rather the whole question of integrated systems which make possible the seamless operation demanded by today’s competitive market. Let’s face it, today’s business world has the potential to be a rat race – and if you’re not up with the times then you’re not in the game.
Inevitably, the exponential growth of ever more sophisticated technological business solutions has brought in its wake substantial budgetary pressures, as the need to maintain and continually update state-of-the-art systems demands expertise which seldom comes cheaply. One way in which many companies have looked to address this challenge is by looking to outsource some or all of their IT operations, bringing in specialist IT service provider which can supply a bespoke service according to demand. At the start of 2019, Forbes predicted a big increase in outsourcing in the field of information technology.
What Can Outsourcing IT Bring to Your Organisation?
At first glance using an outside service provider in any area can seem counterintuitive. After all, as anyone who has ever used the services of an agency worker will testify to, external providers will usually charge a lot more per head for manpower of any kind than you would expect to pay to someone who is on your own payroll.
So why outsource? Well, there are a host of benefits to be had from using an external provider rather than being saddled with your own IT department and all that that entails. Not least that you can draw upon only those areas of expertise that your particular operation demands, as and when they are needed. Sometimes it makes a whole lot of sense to pay a little bit more for what you need than to retain capability that is only going to be called upon on occasions.
Managed Service Providers
The most popular way of running an outsourced IT operation is through engaging a Managed Service Provider (MSP) who, by definition, will provide an agreed portfolio of services according to your needs and specific requirements. Every business is different, and although there are factors common to most IT systems no companies will have exactly the same requirements and so it makes sense to tailor your provision accordingly.
An MSP will work with you to draw up a Service Level Agreement (SLA), in which you will be able to outline precisely what it is you require from an outsourced provider of technological services. You will pay a fixed amount, usually monthly, for a defined level of service which will be agreed between yourself and the MSP at the time when you enter into your contract. One obvious benefit is that you will be able to be quite specific about just what it is you require in terms of services and support.
In effect a good Managed Service Provider will act as your very own remote IT department, with processes being monitored automatically and the necessary actions taken just as quickly and professionally as would have been undertaken by an in-house operation. Such support will be available on a 24/7 basis, keeping unproductive downtime to an absolute minimum.
How Does Outsourcing Save You Money?
Although sub-contracted workers tend to cost more to engage than those directly engaged in strictly wage terms, there are a whole host of ancillary costs associated with the latter which make taking on a team of in-house IT staff an entirely different ball game.
To start with there is the cost of recruiting and then of training them. Even experienced IT professionals will be unfamiliar with the quite specific needs and expectations of your company, and time spent training and familiarising new employees with the demands of your operation can be unproductive. Then there is the similarly unproductive cost of remunerating your in-house staff when they are absent through illness or away on holiday. Pensions also have to be taken into consideration, as does the potential cost of laying off staff if and when they are no longer required.
External Provision Means You Can Call Down Help When You Need It
When outsourcing however there is an option to seek out staff with the specialist knowledge required for your particular business. They can be engaged at specific times and at hours to suit you. You may require more staff during certain periods than at others and this too can be factored into your agreement with the MSP. Lastly, should your needs change you can make the necessary adjustments without having to train additional staff or release employees from their contracts.
If, like most serious enterprises in this day and age, you are a round-the-clock operation then with in-house provision you will most likely need to take on members of staff who can operate in shifts. In other words you may need more than one person to perform one job. Needless to say outsourced work can be undertaken by calling in a professional as and when he or she is needed. As the external provider will have other clients with which they will also have SLAs there will somebody with the necessary knowledge and skills available at all times. In all likelihood your MSP will also be remotely monitoring your systems which will enable prompt action in the event of malfunction.
Good Service As and When You Need It
A good Managed Service Provider will be able to offer you all the expertise you need as and when you need it, without you having to pay for that expertise whilst it is sitting idle. Beyond the fee agreed under the terms of your SLA there should be no expensive retention costs, nor any of the additional costs involved with retaining employees within the company structure.
Outsourcing is clearly very much the future where the IT industry is concerned, offering flexibility and value for money whilst keeping your systems working productively, profitably and at their best potential.