Small companies usually struggle with the decision to engage an outside vendor to handle day-to-day I.T. support tasks. However, as important business can be repeatedly delayed or interrupted with disruptive technologies, many smaller companies are increasingly more interested in proactive monitoring and timely remediation measures, which can be easily found through an outsourced I.T. services provider.

There are four categories that require attention when making the decision to provide I.T. support in-house, or to consider outsourcing: Cost, Benefits, Flexibility, and Risk. Though all of these factors will require a detailed internal analysis and consideration, a brief summary of each appears below.

1. COST

In this category, you will need to create two tables —one listing all relevant skill sets required to support mission-critical systems to be handled in-house, and one estimating the costs if outsourced. These tables should include costs such as I.T. employee salaries, benefits, etc… compared to the cost of the monthly managed service provider.

It is recommended that you break out these separate cost categories and create estimates for year one, year two, year three, and so on depending on the estimated length of the desired contract. Then, calculate total cost per year, and finally, the total cost for the whole project.

2. BENEFITS

The second category itemizes the primary (or direct) benefits that you can expect from the outsourcing arrangement (things like direct cost savings, faster cycle times, better utilization of staff, greater access to more senior technical resources, specialized expertise, improved levels of service i.e. Service Level Agreements, and the like).

The outsourcing firm can also serve as a trusted advisor, or serve as a “sanity check” on I.T.-related subject matters. They may also offer access to a rolodex of trusted alliances, which could lead to better purchasing power on hardware, software, and other I.T. services.

3. FLEXIBILITY

Write down and consider all of the downstream (or indirect) benefits that you expect from outsourcing. These are not direct benefits like cost savings, but rather, options that are now available to you since you entered the outsourcing deal.

For example, outsourcing may give you the ability to re-deploy (or promote) internal employees to other projects and/or roles. These “reassigned” employees can be more focused on growing the business as opposed to worrying about I.T. needs. In addition, outsourcing will help a company leverage best-in-class expertise on a “pay as you grow” basis to accommodate the specific year-by-year growth of the company’s technical needs.

4. RISK

The fourth category involves placing a monetary value on the cost of downtime. There are thousands of new disruptive technologies and computer hack groups coming into our digital marketplace each day, which can wreak havoc on a company’s I.T. infrastructure.

Would a small company be better served by arming itself through a partnership with a trusted I.T. services provider who can maintain the responsibility of keeping systems running safely, securely, and in steady-state, OR by hiring junior technical employees who are more difficult to recruit, retain, and keep fully utilized on challenging new projects? The answer to the “risk” question will depend on the complexity of a company’s applications, hardware, size, and line of business.

When considering a move to outsourcing I.T. services, trust can be a major issue, especially when dealing with the technologies that directly touch users, such as help desk and customer/corporate assets. However, this is a valid objective that can be easily addressed through conversations with a reliable managed service provider.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding Managed IT as a Service for your company.