Outsourcing is a common business practice where an organization hires an outside company to provide certain services, allowing them to focus on core competencies and benefit from the provider's expertise and specialized resources. Companies can outsource many functions, but one of the most easily and most commonly outsourced functions is information technology (IT) management. Companies across the world collectively spend more than 1 trillion U.S. dollars annually on IT services.
Information technology outsourcing may include functions like managing IT infrastructure, providing IT support, maintaining cybersecurity, tailoring industry- or company-specific IT solutions and more. Companies may choose to outsource certain IT functions or hand off their IT needs entirely to a third-party provider like Prelude Services.
PRELUDE'S OUTSOURCING SERVICES
At Prelude, we understand how critical IT functions are to companies across industries. We offer various IT services so companies can fully place the responsibility of their IT needs into our capable hands. When companies partner with Prelude, they don't need any IT support staff of their own. Our IT experts can handle all your essential IT functions, including the following and more:
- Around-the-clock desktop support
- IT vendor management
- Network management
- Data management
- Cloud computing
- Hardware and software support
- Website design and development
- Enterprise reporting
IN-HOUSE VS. OUTSOURCING IT SERVICES
Companies that choose not to outsource their IT must instead handle their IT functions in-house. Some companies maintain IT in-house because they fear loss of control over IT. A decision to keep IT in-house requires a serious focus on maintaining staffing and a current infrastructure. For example, a small or medium-sized company may be able to hire one or two IT professionals, but these employees may not have the expertise required to meet all of the company's IT needs.
There are many advantages of outsourced IT support that make outsourcing a popular and productive choice for many companies. Outsourcing can be an excellent way to access superior IT services while saving time and money. In many cases, you can still find IT providers that are highly familiar with your industry and understand the unique challenges and business processes that inform your IT needs.
HOW TO OUTSOURCE IT
Companies can outsource their IT to a third-party provider by determining their IT demands and then choosing a provider to effectively meet those demands. Work through these basic steps to outsource your IT effectively:
- Determine how much you want to outsource: First, determine whether you want to outsource only certain IT functions or have a fully managed service that handles all aspects of your IT needs. If you have an internal IT team that needs some extra support, you can choose a co-sourced IT solution. In this case, determine which functions you would be better off outsourcing.
- Identify your needs: Figure out what your organization needs when it comes to IT. Focus especially on any gaps you need to address. Maybe you need stronger cybersecurity measures, or perhaps you need someone to help you manage various IT vendors and better integrate your systems. A better understanding of your needs can help you choose the right provider.
- Select the right provider for your needs: As you compare IT companies, make sure you limit your search to companies that offer all the IT functions you need. You should choose a provider that offers excellent customer support so you can always count on getting the help you need when you need it.
- WHAT IT FUNCTIONS TO OUTSOURCE
Companies can outsource certain IT functions or all of their IT functions to a third-party provider. Some common IT services to outsource include:
- Planning and vendor management: An IT provider can help new businesses or organizations looking to overhaul their IT systems with complete planning of their IT systems. IT providers can also manage vendors involved in IT systems, including hardware manufacturers, software companies and telecommunications providers.
- Website and app development: Today, every organization needs a presence on the web. Many companies are even creating their own mobile applications in addition to their websites. A 2018 survey of small businesses found that 42% already had mobile apps, and another 30% planned to create one in the future. Designing and developing websites and apps is something best left to professionals who can optimize their appearance and functionality.
- Technical support: An IT service desk doesn't have to be in your facility to be readily accessible when you need IT help. Companies like Prelude with 24/7 support are there whenever you need them. With IT service desk outsourcing, you have access to on-call IT professionals who can answer questions about problems you're running into with hardware, software or network systems.
- Cybersecurity: According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 88% of small business owners feel their company is vulnerable to a cyberattack. Cybersecurity measures are key to removing that vulnerability. Examples of cybersecurity services companies can outsource include threat intelligence, auditing, consulting, monitoring, incident response and remediation.
- Infrastructure management: IT infrastructure refers to all the hardware, software and network systems used in your IT processes. IT providers can manage these systems, ensuring that everything works together seamlessly. This also includes telecommunications needs, such as landline and mobile phones and internet service.
- Data storage and management: Your organization's data is one of your most valuable assets. An IT provider can help you store, manage and protect your data. In some industries, securely storing sensitive data on carefully protected off-site servers is critical to meet privacy requirements. IT providers can also assist with data backup and recovery.
- Enterprise reporting: IT experts can also help you leverage your data through enterprise reporting. This service involves processing data to deliver useful analytics reports. These reports give organizations the insight they need to make data-driven decisions that help them improve their processes and grow.
BENEFITS OF OUTSOURCING IT SUPPORT
IT outsourcing is a popular option and has widespread applications, but you may still be asking: "why outsource my IT?" IT outsourcing has earned a place of prominence in today's marketplace because of the valuable benefits it delivers to companies of all types and sizes. Some of the most meaningful advantages of outsourcing IT include cost savings, smooth operations, security and compliance, access to superior resources, flexibility for evolving needs, and freedom to focus on your core competencies.
Let's take a closer look at each of these benefits.
1. COST SAVINGS
When companies choose IT outsourcing, cost savings often top their list of reasons, and rightly so. There are two main ways outsourcing can save you money. One is by reducing labor costs. Computer and information technology professionals earned an annual median wage of $88,240 in 2019. Employing even a small team of in-house IT professionals is a significant investment. Outsourcing is often more cost-effective than employing your own IT personnel.
Outsourcing can also be more cost-effective when it comes to IT infrastructure. When you partner with an IT provider, you may be able to benefit from resources they offer that you wouldn't be able to afford on your own, and you won't have to pay for something you don't need. This is one of the key benefits of outsourcing IT infrastructure. IT providers can tailor solutions for your needs and budget. They may even offer leasing options for hardware and software to save you money.
2. OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCIES
Most organizations cannot afford the time and expense of disrupted operations, and yet IT issues can cause major disruptions. Outsourcing IT functions to experts can help companies avoid preventable issues. And, if unavoidable problems occur, a dedicated IT provider will swiftly respond to resolve the issue.
If your IT processes directly influence the quality of your company's customer service, you need to ensure your IT processes are reliable. Data breaches, dysfunctional websites, or other issues can cause serious problems for organizations and can even bring operations to a halt until the issue is resolved. When you have access to experts 24/7, you can be confident that your company will be able to maintain smooth operations by optimizing your systems and efficiently addressing problems.
3. SECURITY AND COMPLIANCE
When it comes to protecting data, companies can never be too safe. Cybersecurity is not a luxury — it is an essential need for modern businesses. If you handle personal data from clients or customers, allowing the safety and privacy of that data to be compromised can cause a breach of trust between customers and your company.
Some industries must also comply with specific data protection rules. For example, healthcare providers must assess their risks and maintain confidentiality according to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. Similarly, financial institutions must maintain certain safeguards in storing and handling customers' information according to the Safeguards Rule. Many companies lack the internal expertise or resources needed to meet these security requirements. Even companies that want to handle cybersecurity functions in-house can benefit from an outside provider's objective risk assessment.
4. ACCESS TO SUPERIOR RESOURCES
Companies with in-house IT teams are typically limited in the resources they have access to. This is especially true of small businesses. In contrast, IT outsourcing companies make it their business to offer the very best in IT expertise, systems and solutions. Purchasing your own hardware and software can be expensive and prevent you from keeping up with the latest technology as you may be reluctant to upgrade. Taking advantage of resources provided by your IT partner allows you to benefit from the latest, cutting-edge IT solutions.
When it comes to personnel, if you handle IT in-house, you'll likely end up hiring generalists in the field who can help out with various functions but may not have the specialized knowledge needed for expertly executing specific IT functions. An IT outsourcing team, on the other hand, will have experts on staff who can provide comprehensive IT services with no compromises.
5. FLEXIBILITY FOR EVOLVING NEEDS
Companies evolve and so do their IT needs. Outsourcing IT is a more flexible solution that helps your company stay agile so your IT processes are always ready to evolve and scale with your business as needed. When you partner with a third-party provider, you don't have to make long-term investments into particular IT solutions or IT professionals. This allows you to update the services you receive whenever your needs change.
Having access to an IT service provider's resources also allows you to expand your IT functions quickly. If your business is growing, your IT provider likely already has the resources in place to handle your new needs. All you need to do is rework your contract with the provider to address your expanded IT requirements.
6. FREEDOM TO FOCUS ON CORE COMPETENCIES
One of the most valuable benefits of outsourcing is that it allows companies to focus more intently on their core competencies and strategic goals. If you're developing a new product, for example, you should give that objective the full attention it deserves. However, you may not be able to if your organization's attention is split between your main business functions and auxiliary functions like IT.
By removing IT responsibilities from your staff, you enhance your productivity in the areas that matter most for your company. Meanwhile, you benefit from having your IT managed by experts operating within their core competency.
CONTACT US FOR IT OUTSOURCING SERVICES
If you're ready to start taking advantage of the benefits of IT outsourcing from a company dedicated to providing optimized IT solutions for our clients, please contact us. We would love to learn more about your IT needs and share how we can help you reduce expenses, improve IT operations, and reduce risk in your organization.