The great IT debate of outsourced IT vs in-house IT staff. Is it best to hire an internal employee or outsource to a third-party managed IT partner? In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of each choice and the common differences between the two most common IT business structures.
Top Tier Knowledge
Hiring an outside team of information technology experts can give your business a leg up on the competition. Relying on one or two in-house IT staff members can be great, until they need to reach for external consult on projects they may not be experts in. Having a team of top-tier professionals on your side can prevent many delays and prolonged problems.
Low-Cost Senior Level Team Expertise
With in-house staff, you are likely responsible for salary and all benefits throughout the year. 9 times out of 10 a flat monthly fee set by a highly-regarded outsourced IT company will save you money quarter over quarter. Not only does this mean you are spending less, but it also allows your team to have access to a team of experts working in multiple niches.
Best-in-Class Software Options
One of the biggest perks of an all-inclusive managed IT provider is the regularly maintained software and sometimes even hardware upgrades. With a top-tier IT provider you will never have to worry about system security glitches due to old software systems or inconsistent upgrade scheduling. Don’t have time to wait for the system to upgrade during the workweek? Your IT provider should have a solution for this whether it be with after-hours upgrade scheduling or a one-on-one timing solution.
Perceived to Have Less Day-to-Day Control
Most external service providers have a different work structure from your company and less 1-on-1 management from your team directly. To avoid miscommunication, communicate your service turn-around time and preferred process up-front and ensure it is written into the contract.
Potential Help Desk Delays
With a larger portfolio of clients each day, managed IT providers may have some delay in help desk services. A locally sourced IT provider is typically the best way to avoid any prolonged queue time. For this reason, it is vital to ask any potential IT provider what their process looks like for non-emergency and emergency cases. Something else that is good to have on-hand if you decide to go with an external provider is a list of emergency or after-hour contacts.
Some managed IT providers have per-user or per-device plans that could accrue additional fees for things like emergency services, additional help desk hours, unnecessary hardware investments, or other hidden fees. We always recommend obtaining quotes from companies that work to provide you with a proven and transparent fee structure.
On-Site During Office Hours
An IT department with in-house resources provides immediate access that an outsourced department cannot. This is a great asset for time-sensitive issues that arise.
100% of Their Time is Dedicated to Your Company
When you hire someone to manage your IT in-house, you will never have to worry about which number in the queue you are. Do you have a proposal that you need to submit in-person within the hour and someone accidentally deleted the file? You’re covered.
They Know Your Business and Needs Well
Without a doubt, an internal staff member will know your day-to-day needs better than an external partner. It will be their primary focus and they will know your systems inside and out. This helps them to create custom solutions to potential problems and develop a long-term plan for all office systems.
They Can’t Get to Everything
Despite what some may say, one person can not handle everything. There is a delicate balance between a small business who may not be able to afford, or need, a full-time in-house IT professional and a mid-size company that may need two full-time experts, but can only afford one. With a larger team, there are often delays caused by piling help desk tickets each day. This could cause revenue and time loss, which could have a major impact on your business.
They May Not Know Something Outside of Their Area of Expertise
Frequently, in-house experts are a master of some, but not all, areas of IT. Research and/or outside consult can delay an IT fix for an unknown time period. Unfortunately, one or two employees can not compare to the knowledge of an entire team within a managed IT company.
As most business owners know, hiring and training is an expensive investment. There is also a higher risk of security breaches due to turnover within the role itself. Keep in mind, if you are looking for ongoing help desk support, keep track of how many times this support is requested within the office before investing in someone full-time. The same goes for project based jobs that have an expiration date. If there is not enough work for a full-time position, it is often less expensive to go the outsourced route.
Hopefully, with this guide as a resource you will be able to make the best decision for your business. Typically, we recommend small to midsize businesses evaluate their true needs and discuss them with an outsourced provider. Then, weigh the quote with the full cost (salary, benefits, and on-boarding) of an in-house IT expert before making a final decision.
Looking to talk with a managed IT professional today? Want to talk through which option is truly best for your unique business? Let the experts at Ford Office Technologies give you a hand at 1-800-633-3673 or by emailing email@example.com
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