Outsourcing IT services involves hiring third-party IT companies or specialists to handle IT-related tasks. A growing number of companies are opting to outsource their IT department to experts who can fully focus on a company’s IT needs while company employees concentrate on promoting the company’s goods and/or services, generating sales, providing customer service and other essential tasks.
There are numerous outsourcing business models to pick from, enabling a company owner to select the best option to meet his or her company’s specific needs. Some companies opt to outsource one-time IT tasks and then handle their regular IT tasks internally. Other business owners have found that outsourcing some ongoing IT jobs while keeping others in-house is the best option while still other businesses opt to outsource their entire IT department to a reliable third-party service.
What IT Tasks are Typically Outsourced?
Almost any IT job can be outsourced, but some are more frequently outsourced than others. These include:
- Website design, development and hosting
- Technical support for company staff members
- IT security, including the provision of back-up and recovery services
- IT training for in-house employees
- Helpdesk services
- Network management
- Application and database development
- Telecommunication services
- Cloud storage
What are the Benefits of IT Outsourcing?
Companies that specialize in offering outsource IT services have trained, experienced experts who can handle a company’s IT issues quickly, efficiently and with relative ease. The ability to obtain expert services without having to pay for and train fulltime workers enables many companies to save money that can then be used to generate revenue and/or attract investors.
IT outsourcing enables a company to use cutting-edge IT equipment and technology without having to regularly update computers and software programs to stay in step with new technological developments. What is more, outsourcing saves time because business owners do not have to learn about IT hardware and software options; instead, IT management is handled by those who have the skills needed to make wise, well-informed decisions.
Many companies that handle outsourced IT jobs offer scaled services to enable business owners to select the services that meet a company’s needs at any given time. A business that needs more cloud storage space, for instance, would simply need to rent this space from its IT service provider. An entrepreneur who needs additional customer service assistance on a seasonal basis can obtain it by asking the IT company to assign more representatives to his or her business for a particular period. Conversely, a company can easily eliminate specific IT tasks without having to lay off employees and/or sell IT equipment.
IT outsourcing also improves IT security. Third-party service providers stay abreast of IT security developments and can help any company to prevent malware and ransomware attacks, breaches and other issues that would slow services and damage a business’ reputation. Furthermore, IT experts can train a company’s employees in IT security issues such as proper email management, internal and external communications procedures and file storage and backup procedures.
However, the best reason for a company to hire outside experts to handle a company’s IT services is that proper IT management can mean the difference between success and failure for any business in any industry. Just about every company relies on IT technology to manage customer databases, track inventory, manage company websites and other integral tasks. This technology needs to be regularly maintained, checked and updated by an expert whose sole job is to keep IT operations running as they should. Dedicated third-party IT service providers are experts in their field who can keep any company’s IT department running at optimum speed and efficiency levels. Without their help, it would be impossible for many business owners to stay a step ahead of the competition. This is particularly true for small to medium-sized businesses that cannot afford to hire experienced, full-time IT workers.
Are There Any Disadvantages to IT Outsourcing?
While IT outsourcing has much to offer any business, there are some pitfalls that business owners need to be aware of when choosing an IT service provider. These include:
- Hiring a company that is based overseas. IT offshoring may result in language and cultural problems as foreign IT professionals who aren’t familiar with a company’s business model will need training in how to adequately handle company data, equipment and/or services. Furthermore, time zone differences can make it hard for a company’s employees to communicate with overseas IT personnel as needed.
- Choosing a company that does not have the expertise needed to take on specialized IT services. Healthcare organizations need to work with an IT company whose technicians are familiar with local compliance regulations. Companies offering legal services will require an IT company that specializes in legal matters.
- Picking an IT service provider based on price rather than the quality of service offered. A good IT company will offer an uptime guarantee. Furthermore, it will offer in-house assistance rather than outsourcing its own services to contractors.
Is outsourcing IT services to a third-party provider a good idea? Many business owners have found the answer is a resounding yes. The advantages of outsourcing far outweigh the disadvantages. Even so, it is important to choose an IT service provider with care. Doing so will enable a company to obtain the best possible assistance both now and in the future.