Outsourced IT Service Providers
Outsourcing is a concept that is practiced in many companies, within IT departments, in an effort to better utilize funds while cutting labor costs in the form of salaries and benefit plans. However, there are many challenges associated with outsourcing that could have major effects on both daily operations and long term goals of the company. By examining a few key points with regard to outsourcing your IT department, we may better understand the challenges and overcome the fears associated with successful outsourcing endeavors.
Often times, there is an assumption that outsourcing means hiring out the entire department to IT teams in India or the Philippines. It is true that the current outsourcing trend involves the use of foreign-based teams in order to take full advantage of the cost of living and currency differences in those countries. These IT professionals are extremely competent and fully capable of handling whatever issues comes their way. However, problems arise when there are communication and language barriers, cultural differences, and the lack of face-to-face contact. Clients often become discouraged when these issues become apparent which, ultimately, leads to a breakdown in productivity.
Fortunately, there are better solutions. Outsourcing your IT department does not have to go to an overseas company, and can stay right here in the United States. There are many, reasonably priced, professionally staffed, IT consultant companies right here that are ready to take on your company’s needs. You’ll get the professionalism and knowledge base your company desires with all the benefits of an in-house team.
Another important issue is the ability of an outsourced team to provide and manage a dependable hardware system. It’s important to keep in mind that these outsourcing companies are in the business of IT. It’s all that they do. They know the business inside and out and have various connections in order to get top quality equipment at the best possible prices. Anyone that has ever created an in-house data center from the ground up knows just how expensive it is to implement a newly created system. Without industry know-how, creating and managing an IT department can be financial suicide. Most businesses find it extremely difficult to keep up with evolving technology and are continuously working with outdated equipment. It’s important to hire a managed IT team that has industry specific knowledge that will keep your business on the cutting edge of technology.
One of the most important issues surrounding outsourcing is cost efficiency. The idea of outsourcing is to save money by reducing the number of full-time, salaried, employees. Unfortunately, most often the term outsourcing is often associated with moving jobs to India or the Philippines, etc. However, there is a more viable option. By using a localized IT management provider there is actually a significant financial savings. It’s important to realize that there is no need to have IT coverage 24/7. Using an outsourced technology consultant will only require work for the amount of time you need them. So while the rates may be higher per hour, you will only use them for a fraction of the time as a full-time employee. Therefore, the overall yearly wage is much less while the level of expertise is often significantly higher. Furthermore, many outsourced IT service providers will allow you to purchase blocks of time for your IT department at significantly discounted rate – you agree to buy a certain amount of billable hours within a pre-determined amount of time. This will give your company priority and often comes complete with basic maintenance agreements to guarantee your system runs smoothly and effortlessly.
Of great concern for many companies when hiring an outside IT management company is overall responsiveness. Outsourcing often brings with it the concern of whether the outside team will be able to keep up with the demand for your company and maintain rapid response times. Interestingly enough, outside teams are actually MORE responsive than inside teams. The major reason for this is that inside teams are often distracted with other projects and fail to respond to issues as quickly as most employees would prefer. Outsourced teams are not dedicated to just one company. Nor are they responsible for anything other than keeping their clients up and running without any glitches. They are fully dedicated to putting out the fires as they start. They are often well staffed and ready to help at the drop of a hat.
Liability seems to be a somewhat big concern for many companies that choose not to outsource. Fortunately, there is no reason to be insecure with regard to liability issues as most IT service providers have very extensive contracts that cover all aspects of liability. These contracts cover policies and procedures that determine who is liable for what and when. Of course, you should always have a contracts attorney on hand to answer questions with regard to all contractual agreements you sign. There is absolutely no reason to let liability issues, or any contracts issues, scare you away from hiring an outsourced IT management company.
Another very important concern when outsourcing is continuity. IT providers want to maintain a good working relationship with the companies they support. Generally speaking, they will work very hard to get to know you and learn your industry, company, employees, and system in order to foster a long-term relationship. They may encourage you to allow them to build your infrastructure from the ground up in order to know the ins and outs of your particular system. However, the level of involvement is, clearly, up to you to decide. You should approach an outsourced team as “your team” and make it perfectly clear, in the beginning, that this is the type of IT service provider you are looking to hire.
Outsourcing doesn’t have to be a scary word. There are many wonderful advantages to working with a localized, IT service provider. To learn more and to find out what a relationship between a managed services team and your company would look like, pick up the phone and call one of our qualified IT management professionals today.