Outsourcing computer network support and managed IT services is the most commonly sought-after professional business service among growing small and mid-sized companies.
Why? Because technology has continually improved over the last 20 years, many businesses have found they don’t need a full-time, in-house IT staff to satisfy their computer support needs.
Businesses must carefully allocate their resources, and many have found it hard to justify the salary of a full-time network engineer when outsourcing this skill on an as-needed basis is so much more efficient.
Worried that outsourcing IT services means hiring an overseas company and off-shoring jobs? This isn’t necessarily the case because the best IT services are provided by local, established, fully-qualified professional IT companies that can offer support via phone, online and on-site when you want it. However, the ITSM Zone offers courses for individuals to improve their management of computing services within a buisness. This provides an alternative if outsourcing is a costly method, as you can have an internal member of staff who can deal with your computer services.
BENEFITS OF OUTSOURCING IT SUPPORT
Ultimately, most businesses make the decision to outsource IT services based on financial considerations, but there are many other important benefits to consider when making the choice between outsourced network and computer support or hiring in-house staff.
Better Management of Workload and Costs
Many IT systems operate without any problems for days or weeks, making in-house IT staff an underutilized resource. Outsourcing allows companies to efficiently access IT services only as needed.
Advanced Skills and Training
Technology changes rapidly, so in-house IT staff requires ongoing training to keep up with a broad range of necessary skills. With an IT company providing computer support, businesses have on-demand access to a variety of individuals with specialized skills and the latest training.
Improved Documentation, Planning and Budgeting
Businesses must also provide effective management and administrative support for an in-house IT department to fulfill its duties. A qualified IT services company can offer its clients an established process for ongoing documentation, systems planning and budgeting guidance.
Intermittent Special Projects
Some IT tasks, such as server migration, occur infrequently but are mission-critical and require specialized knowledge. A typical in-house desktop technician doesn’t possess the skills to manage such large projects that allow no room for error.
TAKE A PEEK UNDER THE HOOD.
Not all computer support companies can provide all the benefits that should come with outsourcing IT services, so it’s important to assess and compare talent, capabilities, experience, pricing and capacity. Selecting the right company to support your critical business computer network is as important as choosing your accountant, banker or lawyer.
TIPS FOR SELECTING AN IT VENDOR
Just as you would if choosing a surgeon, you want IT support with years of proven, hands-on experience.
Subcontracting creates an extra layer between you and the accountability you should demand from an IT services provider.
Believe it or not, you need to ask your IT provider if they carry workman’s compensation and other business insurance.
A one-person IT service shop necessarily limits your company’s access to support. When your network goes down, response time is critical. If your business is in Olathe, but your IT company is a one man shop in Paola…you’re in trouble.
Your IT services partner company should be able to remotely access your network. This improves response time and saves money, as many problems can be resolved without an on-site visit.
A qualified IT services company will use dispatch management tools and tracking systems to ensure your service requests are completed in a timely, efficient manner.
Billing should tell a story. Without detailed time and activity reports from service providers, business owners can’t accurately assess just what they got for their money.
No Prepaid Service
Advance payment for blocks of IT service time is like pre-paying for car repairs. What if nothing goes wrong with your car? A reputable IT vendor that maintains your system in good working order does not need or require advanced payment for speculative blocks of time.
Quality, Not Quantity
A qualified IT services company has skilled, certified technicians with real-world experience in their areas of expertise, such as computer networks, server maintenance and desktop maintenance.
Computers, Not Copiers
Expertise in phone systems, copiers or home theatres does not necessarily translate to expertise in business computer networks. Hire a company that is specialized and focused on computer networks.
Technology professionals can use so much industry jargon that they are unintelligible to the uninitiated. Demand that your Outsourced IT support communicates clearly and is willing to explain any technical slang you are unfamiliar with. Buzz words are hard to avoid in the rapidly-changing tech industry, but be wary: the ones who are hard selling ‘cloud computing’ this year are often the same ones pushing ‘virtualized computing’ last year, and ‘thin clients’ the year before. Don’t follow the buzz without substance.
Download a PDF version of this article, “Is Outsourcing Right for Your Business,” in the IT Decisions for Smart Business series.