Guide to Outsourcing IT Services
As the information technology (IT) industry advances, the need for outsourced IT management and support increases. In 2019, experts projected the IT outsourcing market to total about 413.7 billion U.S. dollars by 2021. With a number like that, it's hard to deny that more companies are relying on outsourced IT services, and your company might want to as well.
As you start and grow your business, your goal should be to keep up with competitors and core business responsibilities. However, you may be stretching yourself a bit thin if you're also juggling an IT department. Managing an in-house IT team can be time-consuming and costly, and you may not have access to adequate technology, expertise or other valuable resources. Outsourcing your IT duties and tasks to a capable company like Prelude can be an effective way to balance all the responsibilities of a small- to medium-sized company in any industry.
Outsourcing vs. In-House IT Services
Let's start with the basics – what's the difference between outsourcing and in-house resources?
Providing in-house IT services means the existing employees of your company complete IT-related projects or tasks and ultimately run the IT department. Some companies may want to create their own IT department so the team can specialize in that business's specific systems and operations. Having in-house resources can be helpful when there is a problem that can be better handled in person.
While having in-house resources might make the most sense to you, the reality is that sometimes it just isn't possible. You'll likely find that the cons outweigh the pros. If you're establishing your own IT department, you may spend more time and money than you want getting it started, and finding highly specialized professionals can be costly. Most realistically, your employees can't know how to do everything. If your company is a small or medium-sized business (SMB), you may not be able to put together the necessary resources to provide the high-quality services your customers expect.
This is where many businesses turn to outsourcing. Outsourcing means you hire a person or company outside your own to complete tasks or projects on your behalf. You can outsource whole departments of your company or ask an expert to assist on a single project. There are many advantages to outsourcing IT services, most of which stem from teaming with outsourcing companies that can provide you access to world-class IT specialists. Outsourcing allows you to hire outside help so you can streamline workflows, saving your company time and money.
Offshore Outsourcing vs. Local Outsourcing
Two types of outsourcing are offshore outsourcing and local outsourcing. Offshore outsourcing means that you're outsourcing to a company or agency in another country, often overseas. Offshore outsourcing provides you with access to global talent and lower costs. Ultimately your company can get quality work at a low price.
Although cost-efficient, offshore outsourcing can come with language barriers and differing work hours, making communication a challenge. When this happens, operations may slow down, which won't be effective or productive for your company.
Local outsourcing is a bit different. When you locally outsource, you're using resources within the same state or country as you. With local outsourcing, communication becomes less of a challenge because the other company is likely to understand your time frame and needs.
Who Should Outsource?
Anyone can outsource! Outsourcing is common for companies of all sizes, especially smaller to medium-sized businesses that may not have the large staff required for big projects. In-house efficiency will vary depending on your team's capabilities and workload. Your whole operation can slow down without the necessary level of knowledge and skill. So, how can you determine when to outsource services like IT?
When Should You Consider Outsourcing IT?
Customers have come to expect smooth, hassle-free IT services. Outsourced IT companies offer high-quality services to your business. If your in-house resources are limited, you might get backed up or run the risk of providing inadequate IT services to your employees. We've compiled a list of common reasons to outsource IT operations to help you consider when outsourcing might be right for your business.
1. You Need Cybersecurity
With an in-house IT team, your business is limited to the level of cybersecurity that the staff has experience utilizing. Outsourced IT services offer your business cybersecurity experts who provide faster detection and stronger protection against emerging security threats. To gain access to increased knowledge and better resources for defending your business against security risks, outsource your IT department.
2. You Need a Higher Level of Talent
Like we said earlier, your employees can't know everything, and that's okay. The training required to keep in-house IT departments on top of their game can be time-consuming and costly. When a project requires a higher level of expertise, turn to outsourced talent. Working with a remote IT company can provide you with the skills you need to complete a project and make it stand out above the competition.
3. Your In-House Resources Are Maxed Out
When in-house teams are attempting to juggle IT services with limited knowledge on top of their daily responsibilities, it's no surprise they can quickly become burnt out. If you start to see your team reaching their maximum capacities, you may want to outsource some projects to give your employees more time to focus on key business goals. Everyone has their limits – find and evaluate what your business can handle and where it would be more effective to outsource.
4. You're Tackling a Complex Project
When you're working on a complex project, there can be several moving parts — many of which might require specific technical knowledge and skills. Outsourced IT specialists are experienced and have likely already tackled similar complex projects, so they can provide you with valuable advice and assistance. Keep the parts of the project your team can confidently complete, and outsource the parts that need a little more expertise. Doing so will limit in-house downtime and maximize your team's efficiency.
5. You Want to Be Cost-Efficient
When companies try to set up an in-house IT staff, they can spend thousands of dollars in hiring costs, equipment and training. Outsourcing your IT services eliminates the cost of hiring and maintaining an in-house team. Remote IT companies can provide the same — and often better — services than an in-house department at a lower price. When you outsource technical support, you can put more money and effort into other tasks to run your business.
6. You Have Tight Deadlines to Manage
If you have upcoming deadlines and you're falling behind, consider outsourcing parts of the project. You don't need to outsource the whole thing, but getting help on one or two components that require more time than you have can help you meet deadlines. Outsourcing part of a project can give you and your team time to focus on the aspects of the project where your team excels. If you find outsourcing to be helpful, you can continue to use it in the future to focus on your core strengths long-term.
Why Outsource Your IT Department?
In the world of ever-changing internet services and programs, it can be challenging to keep up with new or best practices. SMBs can lack the time and experience it takes to provide the full spectrum of necessary IT services, especially if a complicated problem arises. When you outsource your IT department, any issues are usually taken care of before you even know about them. Outsourced IT companies keep their employees well-trained and up-to-date on methods and techniques so you can focus on running your business.
How Does Outsourcing Improve Your IT Services?
Outsourcing your IT services is the best way to improve them. Often, when companies try to in-house their IT services, they're limited in terms of advanced knowledge and resources, and this can reflect poorly on the quality of their services. Outsourced IT companies have the best resources and specialists for the job to help you fully optimize your business. This expertise will be reflected in the quality of your IT services. With access to worldwide talent, you ensure that your team members get the IT help they need when they need it.
Benefits of Outsourced IT Services
We've seen where outsourcing IT can be helpful for the overall operations of your business. In addition to improving the quality of your IT services through advanced technology and expertise, outsourcing can provide your company with many other benefits. Common advantages include cost reduction, access to specialized talent and continuous support for you and your teams. Consider how the following benefits of outsourcing can help your company.
1. Outsourcing Reduces Costs and Increases Efficiency
In the United States, outsourcing IT services can reduce costs for a company by 60%. Outsourcing is efficient because of how much money and time it will save you. Without having to pay for your own IT department's salaries, benefits, training and equipment, you save your company significant amounts of money. You can use this money to develop and improve internal operations. Outsourcing also saves you the time of having to complete routine tasks and maintenance. Outsourced companies have specific teams for this, which means you can spend your time on internal projects.
2. Outsourcing Provides Access to Specialized Talent
One of the biggest reasons businesses choose to outsource their IT services is the access to superior talent. As we mentioned before, in-house IT teams can often be limited in the resources available to them. Outsourced IT companies make it a priority to find the best expertise for your business. You benefit from the knowledge of IT specialists and technology from all over the world without the cost of hiring personnel or purchasing new systems.
3. Outsourcing Increases Cybersecurity
With access to specialized talent comes an increase in cybersecurity. Security experts can detect, monitor and prevent risks before they affect your business and disrupt your workflow. When you outsource your IT services, you put the responsibility of handling security risks in the hands of a professional – this will save you time, money and stress. Keep your business and client information safe when you outsource your IT services.
4. Outsourcing Means Reliable Support
Outsourced IT companies make it their business to support you and your team members' IT needs. Their levels of expertise make them reliable resources for knowledge and support for your IT services. It only makes sense that you'd want the best for your business, so let the experts of an outsourced company provide reliable support and services to you. You'll appreciate it when you find yourself needing their skills!
5. Outsourcing Means 24-Hour Support
Along with reliable support, you also get constant support when you outsource IT services. With an in-house IT department, you may not be able to pay or even find someone to provide overnight support. Outsourcing enables you to provide around-the-clock services to your employees and ensures your data is secure from hackers and all systems are operating properly.
6. Outsourcing Provides Support During Disasters
IT plays a significant role in the function and support of most business processes, so it's critical that your IT services can quickly bounce back after a disruption. Outsourcing can provide off-site data storage, data recovery and backup systems, all of which the outsourced company is responsible for in the event of a disaster. This support allows you to keep your operations running and reduces the risk of lost data.
7. Outsourcing Increases Productivity
Outsourcing can increase overall company productivity exponentially. Without having to worry about the pressure of handling an IT task without the experience for it, your in-house staff will have more time to spend on the core responsibilities you hired them to do. With this increased level of productivity, your team will be able to produce a larger amount of high-quality work.
8. Outsourcing Provides Access to Proven Solutions
Outsourcing is beneficial because it provides you with access to people who can view a problem from a different angle. Outsourcing companies work with many people, so they've likely already seen the challenge you're facing. This experience allows them to offer you proven solutions that you may not have considered.
9. Outsourcing Improves Business Focus
Ultimately, you benefit from outsourcing your IT services because you no longer have to put your own time and effort into running them. IT experts can provide your business with the services you hired them for. Let an outsourced company run your IT services, and turn your focus back to the primary operations of your business.
How to Outsource IT Services
Now that you understand how beneficial outsourcing can be and a few instances of when you might start considering outsourcing IT services, you'll want to know how to outsource. Here are some common IT services businesses outsource, as well as the steps you can take to find an outsourced IT company to work with. Some commonly outsourced IT services include the following:
- Customer service or help desk: This service consists of specialists responsible for answering questions and fixing user and system issues promptly and professionally. These specialists can provide technical support to your internal team as well as your clients.
- Application management and support: An application manager is an IT professional responsible for maintaining the operation of software applications within a business. They find applications that can improve business functions, and then they oversee installing and upgrading of the software and provide support to your team members using the application.
- Web hosting: This service provider provides you with the necessary technology and resources to post websites and web pages to the internet.
- Software development: A software engineer will design and test new software for your business. They also monitor and evaluate your system's performance to ensure it's running efficiently.
- Telephone customer services: Similar to a help desk, telephone customer service specialists offer support to your clients and team members via telephone. They can provide help or general information about your business.
- Infrastructure management: An IT infrastructure manager will oversee policies, processes, data and equipment to ensure these areas are operating effectively.
- Cybersecurity: Leaving your cybersecurity to a professional can reduce vulnerability to a cyberattack, keeping your privacy and data intact.
You may choose to outsource any combination or all of these services depending on your business's capabilities and needs.
Now that you know some service options, you might be ready to find a company that offers the services you're interested in outsourcing. Before you commit to an outsourced IT company, you should create a list of goals to help you determine what you want to gain from outsourcing. Ask yourself questions like:
- What kind of budget do I have?
- What are my timeline expectations? When does this project need to be done?
- What level of expertise do I need?
- Do I want to outsource a project or two or my entire IT department?
Once you have the answers to those questions, you can begin researching service providers to find companies that offer what you're looking for within your budget. Finding the right company to work with is a critical step, so you'll want to consider several factors when choosing a company to outsource your IT services to.
How to Choose the Right Company
Choosing the best fit for your business can be overwhelming, as there are thousands of companies that offer outsourced IT services. Finding the right company to represent your IT services will be beneficial in the long run, so take your time choosing the right one. The best company for you will make you feel confident that your services are in the best hands. How can you determine which one will be right for you? Find out if they offer the services you need and want by asking the following questions to help you evaluate your options:
- Do they have standardized security protocols? The need for cybersecurity has increased as the internet becomes more prevalent in our daily lives. Look for an IT company with up-to-date security protocols, and make sure you understand how they will protect your information.
- Can they provide a full range of services? Your business needs will probably change over time. Choose a company that provides the services you need now and can anticipate what you may need in the future.
- Are you getting top talent? Outsourcing gives you access to the best in the IT business. Make sure the company you choose can provide the level of expertise you need so you get the best service.
- Will you be able to communicate clearly? It may seem obvious, but make sure the service provider of your choosing can speak the same language as you and your customers. Having fluent communication and similar workflows will ensure you stay on the same page.
- What kind of experience do they have? Gain insight into a company's performance and quality of service by checking references, reviews, past clients and completed projects. This helps you find an IT service that knows what it's doing.
Prelude's Outsourced IT Services
At Prelude Services, we know how important it is to have reliable IT services. Our experts provide a wide range of services, and you can rely on us to handle all your IT needs so you can focus on running your business. We're located in Pennsylvania, so our clients enjoy the benefits of locally outsourcing, including our hands-on support. Additionally, we are an SSAE-compliant company, which shows you that we have strong controls protecting our customers' data. Trust us to handle your company's IT needs, including the following services:
Contact Prelude Services for IT Services
If you're ready to outsource your IT services to optimize your business's time, money and resources, explore your options with us at Prelude Services. We're eager to hear about your IT needs and share with you how we can tailor our services to offer you the best solutions. We understand what it takes to run a business, so trust us with your IT services and support so your time and effort are better focused on your business. Contact our experts today.