Information technology or IT for short is the backbone of many businesses and keeping your business running effectively can be the difference between being a profitable business or going bankrupt.
Earlier this week we looked at the benefits of hiring an in-house IT support team and also the disadvantages. Today we will be looking at the advantages of outsourcing your IT support so that you can get a more rounded idea of if outsourcing your IT could benefit your business.
Some businesses may not even think about IT support until something goes wrong. At this point, it’s going to cause a business downtime and money to put right. The cost of downtime can cost a business thousands per hour so having a plan in place is always something a business should aim for.
For some businesses hiring an in-house team makes sense, but for smaller businesses, generally a business with less than 100 employees the costs are too much and outsourcing your IT support is a good choice.
Benefits of outsourcing your IT Support
- Easier to budget for.
- Lower costs for training employees.
- A wider range of skillset available.
- Up to date with the newest technology.
- It lets you concentrate on your business goals.
- Reduced business risk.
- Clear defined scope of agreements (SLA).
- 24/7 Availability.
- Disaster recovery.
- No hidden costs.
- Scalable to your business needs.
- Optimise your resources.
Outsourcing your IT is easier to budget for.
Small businesses are often put off hiring an IT support team because of the costs involved. Hiring an in-house team can seem very expensive and the same may be thought of when outsourcing your IT support.
However, when you outsource your IT services and support you generally hire a company that assigns an account manager to your business who will get to learn your business and will manage their staff when it comes to your business problems. This way you don’t have any expensive overheads and you only pay for what you need.
IT Support pricing can be structured in several ways so make sure to choose the way that supports your business the best. For some businesses, this could be choosing to pay a fixed monthly fee or on an hourly basis. Either way allows you to budget effectively and takes the stress away from not knowing how much your IT services are going to cost every year.
Outsourcing your IT can lead to lower employee costs.
Hiring employees in-house to run your IT support is expensive. Not only are the costs high but hiring 1 person or a few often isn’t enough. IT has a wide range of fields including:
- Cloud computing.
- Computer security.
Hiring one employee or a few is going to mean that they won’t have the knowledge to cover all of the above, they also won’t be an expert in all of them either. When someone builds an in-house IT support team they often have to hire multiple employees which become expensive very quickly.
Outsourcing your IT services on the other hand means that you don’t have to pay for all of these employees, but you still get access to all of them within your monthly service agreement.
Outsourced IT Support teams often have many clients so they can hire many employees while sharing this cost between them. Outsourcing your IT as a small business will save you money.
A wider skill set is available when outsourcing your IT.
We briefly touched on this above, by outsourcing your IT support you are getting a wider range of skillsets available to you when you have a problem. For a small business, it doesn’t make sense to hire an employee that has skills in cloud computing if you don’t use it too often.
With an outsourced team, you may not use a cloud computing consultant often but if you ever do have a problem it’s good to know that there’s always someone there who can help. This piece of mind is often enough to sway users into hiring an outsourced IT support company.
Outsourcing your IT is cheaper.
According to Payscale, the average rate of an in house IT consultant in Canada can cost anywhere between $35 and $120 per hour. If we take this cost and then hire 3-4 employees you can soon see how much this can amount to daily. For small businesses, this isn’t feasible.
Outsourcing your IT support is a cheaper option while providing you with access to more qualified staff.
Outsourced IT Support is up to date
Running any type of business is hard so if you don’t work in IT it’s easy to fall behind the times. Software, hardware and industry breakthroughs are happening daily so not having an up to date system could cause problems with productivity or even worse security.
Outsourcing your IT allows you to worry less about staying up to date as that is the job of the company you hire. Once again shifting this responsibility is going to allow your business to be more productive, better protected and ultimately more profitable.
Outsourcing your IT will allow you to focus on your business goals.
If you are an accountant in Ottawa your main business goal is to look after your client’s tax returns and get them filled on time. You don’t want to be worrying about ransomware attacks locking you out of your system or why your latest version of Microsoft Office is breaking every time you load it up.
These distractions stop you from focusing on your clients and slow you down which eats into your business profits. Having a team that can support you with tasks like this is going to help move your focus from tech support back to filing those returns.
Businesses that succeed are often one track-focused and they concentrate on what they are good at. Businesses may not even know what to hire when trying to build an in-house tech support team so outsourcing often covers that problem too.
Outsourcing reduces your business risks.
Laws are changed when it comes to computing, the internet and general data storage all of the time and being compliant is often a legal requirement. For a small business, it’s very difficult to know if you are compliant and you may only find out you aren’t when you get fined by a regulating body.
Hiring an IT support team is going to shift this problem onto your support team as it will then be their job to understand the latest laws and make sure your network or way you handle data is compliant with these laws. This reduces your businesses risk and allows you to concentrate on your business goals.
Outsourcing your tech support gives you a clear scope of agreed work (SLA).
A service level agreement or SLA clearly outlines everything you are responsible for and everything your support team is responsible for. This allows you to budget as a small business as you know exactly where you stand if there’s ever a problem with your businesses tech.
When hiring an IT support company make sure to check that everything you want to be covered in your SLA is covered because if it isn’t and a problem happens you will have to spend more money to get a problem fixed.
Outsourcing your tech support will give you 24/7 coverage.
IT downtime can cost anywhere between $5000 an hour to over $500,000 depending on your business and the vertical you work in. If you were to hire a few employees to cover your tech support and a problem occurs when they have finished for the day it could mean your business loses hundreds of thousands for a few hours of downtime.
Bigger businesses get around this problem by having their employees work shifts, for small businesses this doesn’t work as you often don’t have enough tech support employees to make it work.
Outsourcing your tech support will mean that there will always be someone to help any time of the day. This is a huge benefit for outsourcing your IT and having this available can pay for itself if a problem were to occur after normal working hours.
Outsourcing can help with disaster recovery.
Having an in-house IT support team will mean that often all of your data is kept in one place. However, this is dangerous as a flood, fire or earthquake could damage your entire system.
In-house teams can get around this by having separate locations to back up your data but in our experience, this doesn’t always happen.
Outsourcing your support will mean that your data is backed up on a daily/weekly/monthly offsite depending on your service level agreement. In the event of a disaster you will have your data backed up offsite so the downtime your business receives will be minimised.
Disasters don’t have to be extreme events such as fires and earthquakes it could be as simple as one of your employees downloading a virus into your network and infecting it. Having a backup will allow your business to revert your network before the infection.
Outsourcing your support ensures there are no hidden costs.
Outsourcing your IT support as we mentioned earlier is cheaper than building an in-house team, combine this with your service level agreement and you will know what is included and what isn’t.
This way there are no hidden costs when outsourcing your tech support. Being able to budget for disasters outside of your SLA is a smart move that businesses can make too.
Outsourcing can scale with your business.
Anyone who has run a business will know how challenging scaling a business is. If you need to take into consideration your computer network or more members of staff that you will need to look after your companies tech this adds another level of complexity to scale.
Outsourcing your tech support can help when scaling your business as it’s often as simple as having them to take care of any tech needs while paying a little extra per seat. Once again this allows you to know your costs which you can then budget for.
Scaling a business is difficult, so outsourcing your IT support can help you to focus on your business and the problems that come with scaling.
Outsourcing can optimise your resources.
What we have found when working with businesses is that often they try to run their tech themselves. They may have someone in the office that has some tech knowledge and then they will use them for other odd jobs around the office.
Often this is someone like an office assistant or a web developer. When a problem occurs with a businesses software or hardware they are then called to try and fix the problem. This is not only a waste of their time but it can also mean that the wrong solution is implemented.
A web developer may be able to stumble through a problem but they won’t have the required skills and knowledge to optimise a businesses network. The same can be said about a tech support person in regards to building a website.
By hiring the right people for the job you are going to optimise your businesses resources and become a more profitable business.
Should you hire an outsourced managed service provider?
IT support can often be referred to as a managed service provider or an MSP for short so if you ever see these words mentioned you can interchange them. An MSP or IT Support team whether in-house or outsourced can have many benefits for your business and it often comes down to your business size, your profits, the expertise you will need and the affordability of the coverage you will need.
Hiring an MSP or IT support team will depend on your businesses needs so hopefully the benefits above will have given you more of an indication of which way your business should go.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of hiring an in-house IT support team along with the disadvantages check out the posts mentioned below: