7 ways SMBs can benefit from IT outsourcing
25 January 2017
Your IT functions like an intricate network of cogs within a machine. When the network of cogs is well looked after the machine runs smoothly, but if you don’t dedicate the right resources and expertise for maintenance then the network seizes up and the machine ceases to run correctly.
Today’s IT environments are a complex mix of hardware, software and computer networks which are vital for performing important business functions and workflows. This complexity, coupled with the need to train IT staff, maintain devices and keep technology up to date, means managing the IT environment can place a huge burden on small-to-medium businesses (SMBs).
As IT becomes increasingly important many SMBs are exploring outsourcing as a potential option. Outsourcing involves hiring an independent, outside firm to perform a particular function, such as payroll, book keeping or marketing, which internal employees would usually perform.
There are many immediate, and long-term, benefits of IT outsourcing, which we have detailed below.
1. Reduce and control operating costs
Probably one of the most widely discussed benefits of IT outsourcing is the positive impact it can have on your bottom line. When you outsource your IT function you are apply to assign a set budget as the majority of contracts will operate on a flat monthly fee.
You will also be able to reduce spend on hardware, including servers, storage and data centre running costs. Managed service providers offer cloud-based services which allow you to rent hardware, or have your systems hosted off site in the provider’s data centre, which is continually monitored by them and offers a substantial cost saving.
2. Focus on your business
No business can be an expert in every area of operations, and often SMBs don’t have the resources to build dedicated internal teams with the expertise they require. Therefore it makes sense to outsource certain functions to a company who specifically focus on that area, and who have qualified and experienced staff at their fingertips. By allowing a managed service provider to take responsibility for your IT environment it allows your staff to focus on core activities which drive revenue and help grow your business.
3. Access to experienced and qualified professionals
A quality managed service provider will provide you with access to highly qualified and accredited professionals who understand your IT environment. There are also few problems they won’t have seen, so they will have the experience to deal with any technical issues swiftly.
4. Gain a competitive advantage
SMBs will often lack the resources to build and run a fully staffed IT department that matches the quality of the operations run by larger businesses. Outsourcing provides smaller businesses with access to the same technology and expertise but at the fraction of the price. The right partner won’t be focused on sales of their bottom line, instead they’ll be able to advise on technology upgrades and investments which make business sense and deliver real value.
5. 24x7x365 monitoring
It would not be feasible to expect your IT manager to be able to monitor every single aspect of your entire IT environment 24x7x365. A quality managed service provider has the resources to do this, and the expertise to spot any potential issues with your IT environment and resolve them before downtime occurs. Even if you have your own internal IT team, outsourcing allows them to focus on key projects while the managed service provider takes responsibility for day-to-day maintenance, software patches, anti-virus updates and backups.
6. Minimise risk
Your company’s success depends on easy and effective access to your IT environment. How long could your business function without access to emails, customer information and financial data? A managed service provider will keep your IT environment up to date and take full responsibility for verifying backups, pushing out patches, and keeping stock of inventory to minimise potential disruption. The right outsourcing partner will have the capacity and expertise to monitor your systems proactively to prevent downtime, and will respond quickly in the event of any issues. By choosing to outsource your IT support you reduce the risk of making a poor investment in technology, as you will always have technical expertise on hand.
7. Increase productivity
The combined effects of all of the above benefits mean a more productive business for you. Lower spend on recruitment, training and benefits means more resources can be directed to growing your business. As staff will no longer have their time taken up by maintenance and technical issues they will be free to focus on core activities and new projects, further supporting business growth. Finally you’ll have access to the latest technology, so you can streamline processes for greater efficiencies and simplify tasks all round. By selecting the right outsourcing partner you’ll see productivity levels rise and be able to capitalise on new opportunities more rapidly.
Putting a business critical function such as IT in the hands of an external company may seem risky, but there are several benefits to outsourcing and there are ways to minimise and mitigate the risks. They key is taking the time to find the right managed service provider, who understands your business, your requirements and your IT environment.