Technology can be fickle. While it can be the biggest reason for our success, it can also be the reason for our losses. Every business reaches a crossroad in their growth where a decision has to be made on how to manage their technology, which could determine the future of the company. Invariably, a decision will have to be made on whether you should hire someone to manage your technology full-time, outsource IT support to an outside party or a hybrid solution that custom fits the needs of your business.
There are pros and cons for each choice and many factors about your company’s technology needs should be taken into consideration when making a decision. You really have three options when it comes to IT support.
You are making a commitment when you chose to hire an employee to manage all your technology needs. This can pay off in many ways.
- Cost control can be managed and budgeted.
- You will not be burdened with unexpected expenses regardless of the tasks.
- Support costs can remain relatively the same even as your technology needs change.
- You will have immediate assistance when changes need to be made or issues arise.
- Downtime does not have to be wasted waiting for a response from your IT vendor.
On the flip side, limited expertise can be a hindrance with in-house IT employee(s). This can be especially true with smaller businesses where there is only one person responsible for everything from a printer jam to an email server or management of the network infrastructure. If you do not find the right person for the job, then your business can suffer accordingly. Finding the right person will also cost more, so that has to be weighed into your decision.
There can be a couple of different levels to outsourcing your IT needs. One level is to simply hire a company that can monitor your equipment and notify you when any problems arise, or immediately address the issue(s), especially with your server or network environment. A second, more encompassing method, is what you would call “managed services.” This usually includes a more involved and knowledgeable aspect of your how your business works, managing your technology to accomplish your business goals. This can include managing & monitoring every device on your network such as servers, workstations, and mobile devices along with all your network equipment, including wireless. Because of the closer relationship, someone who manages all your IT needs can suggest and create customized solutions to help you achieve your goals because of their intimate knowledge of your business.
All things considered, outsourcing tends to be less expensive than hiring a full-time in-house IT employee with benefits such as:
- Less overhead is involved than maintaining a full-time employee.
- No costs associated with training or certifying of staff.
- No lost days to employee vacation or sick days.
- You also gain a vast resource of IT knowledge across the board from a managed service partner that can address any need you have from basic workstations issues to helping you complete major projects such as designing, installing and configuring a new wireless network.
- You can receive around the clock support and if your main contact is sick, then there will always be a team to help you.
A disadvantage of outsourcing can be a disconnect between your business and those who are consulting for you. In some cases, you will spend time bringing them up to speed when issues do arise or when you want them to provide advice on future technology initiatives. Again, there is a solution: get an IT consultant or outsourced firm involved in your IT needs on an ongoing basis via “managed services.”
A hybrid solution can be a great alternative. You can have the dedication and familiarity of an in-house resource who can work efficiently with an outside resource for major projects or just for being an extra set of eyes on your technology needs. For small businesses especially this can be a very worthwhile solution. A single IT employee can quickly become bogged down with their many duties and not always have the resources to monitor and track every aspect of the technology in your business. In this case, hiring an outside vendor to monitor and maintain your network 24/7 can be beneficial to the overall growth and security of your business. An outside vendor can also be a resource to help guide you with specific projects that are out of the expertise scope of your in-house IT employee. Having that in-house person can also make the experience working with an outside vendor on projects much easier since they both can speak and understand the technology language.
All of these solutions have the ability to fill the needs of your business. Understanding what you need and envisioning the growth of your company can help you determine what IT solution can best benefit your company. An outside consultant has more resources. They may not necessarily understand your unique needs, but they also do not have the costs that come with an employee (vacation time, benefits, etc.). IT Consultants are likely to cost less—far less in some cases—but an employee has greater potential to better understand exactly what you need. Maybe a mix of both is more appropriate for your needs.
If you are considering an outside resource to help manage, guide and grow your business, Taylored Systems has the resources you need. Contact us and we can help you determine the best solution for your business.