Why IT Outsourcing Makes Sense for Smaller Companies
If you’re wondering if you have the right ratio of IT resources to end users, the answer is a definitive maybe.
While there is plenty of research out there to support average, or even ideal, IT staff-to-employee ratios, how “right” they are for your specific business depends on many variables, ranging from your industry to the technology that you’re using.
The deeper question is less about a magic number of IT resources – and more about what it takes to keep your core IT functionality performing reliably, to align your technology with your business goals for better outcomes, and to help your business be more competitive.
This may involve some essentials, though, that many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) – and even some larger ones – don’t have: sheer volumes of IT resources and a comprehensive set of skills needed to manage an increasingly complex IT environment.
In these cases, outsourced IT is a viable – and smart – solution that gives SMBs game-changing access to enterprise-level IT guidance and support.
Are You Crazy?
Some experts say that if you’re a company with fewer than 200 employees and you’re using an internal IT admin or manager, you’re out of your mind.
It may sound harsh but the reasoning behind that statement is that no single person – not even an IT-dedicated and tech-savvy resource – has the knowledge and skills to manage and keep up with all components of today’s rapidly evolving IT environment.
Without the skills to choose, install, maintain, and secure it properly, your technology may not fit your business or perform as it should – resulting in productivity loss, system downtime, vulnerabilities, and more. “The cost of not performing well,” says SMB Group’s Laurie McCabe can “show up on the bottom line.”1
Still, IT doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing scenario. With the right planning and the right IT services company as a partner, outsourcing can work to supplement your internal resources, skillsets, and IT strategy.
Outsourcing’s potential benefits can be significant, from predictable spend to automation. But in today’s complicated world of new delivery models, mobile computing, and BYOD trends the most convincing argument for outsourcing is the access to deep expertise, knowledge, and broad skills that can give you more confidence – and better outcomes – when navigating a rapidly evolving technology landscape.
Filling in the Gaps
Just like your technology, your outsourcing IT consulting partner has to be the right fit for your business. Research is essential. Price shouldn’t be the sole measurement, but it can be part of your larger assessment as you gain an understanding of the different delivery models available and compare IT vendor services offerings.
Most importantly, know what gaps you need to fill. In a survey conducted by SMB Group, one concern by small business owners was that they were missing new solutions that could help their business. Another was implementing new solutions. The top concern? Getting the most out of their current technology investment.1
Because SMB resources typically are few and the overall focus is on the business, limited technology knowledge is a main driver behind these concerns: How do I determine what technology to use? Is it installed properly? When do I upgrade equipment such as servers and PCs? Are my systems in compliance? How do I make sure everything works together? Are my endpoints secure?
Outsourced resources can provide vital high-level guidance for selecting the right technology for your business, and have the specialized skills and training to install, integrate, maintain, and secure it properly. Leveraging an IT firm, helps you pull from the company’s bench of certified IT consultants who have worked with other companies in your industry and of your size. Through this experience, they are best positioned to help you assess or recommend new or emerging technologies, channels, or delivery models that are right for your business – and that can give you a critical competitive edge.
“Today, technology is seen as being so central to the business,” says David Wright, former CIO of McGraw-Hill Education. Still, everything doesn’t need to be managed in-house. “Most small and medium-sized companies don’t need to run their own data center.”2
A well-thought-out combination of outsourcing and internal IT resources can help you take control of your technology environment and really make it work for your business.
“When a company can think more strategically about IT – figuring out how IT can really help your business as opposed to just figuring out how to keep systems up and running – those are the companies that usually get an edge in the market,” McCabe says.
For SMBs looking to survive and grow in this digital environment, that “edge” starts with outsourcing your IT support.
1[Source: SmallBusinessComputing.com. IT Management 101 for Small Business http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/News/ITManagement/IT-Management-101-for-Small-Business-3897966.htm Gerry Blackwell. August 25, 2010]
2[Source: InformationWeek. Enterprise IT Swings Back to Insourcing. http://www.wallstreetandtech.com/infrastructure/enterprise-it-swings-back-to-insourcing/d/d-id/1306626 Greg MacSweeney. August 25, 2014]
With more than two decades of experience, the iCorps IT consulting team is dedicated to delivering excellence to our customers by staying ahead of market trends and understanding new technologies that could impact their business. iCorps delivers superior IT outsourcing, IT support and technology solutions implemented by the best consultants in the Boston, Philadelphia and New York (NY) areas.