Digital technology is increasingly important for almost all businesses. There’s a lot of pressure on many companies not just to use IT, but also to provide good internal IT support and services. Many businesses choose to do this by outsourcing IT support.
Your IT is essential to the operation of your business. Whether you are a legal firm, manufacturing company, charity or hair salon you will rely on technology in some way. If you’re considering outsourcing your IT to make sure that your business has reliable support, then you will need to make sure the provider you choose ticks all the right boxes.
When your IT is out of action your business comes to a standstill. Your invoices can’t be paid, your customer details become inaccessible and your staff can’t get on with their tasks. Your choice of IT Support provider becomes critical at this point. You want to be assured that everything will be back up and running as soon as possible.
In this blog, we’re going to look at what you need to consider when you’re outsourcing your IT. You might be going through this process for the first time or you may have decided that it’s just time for a change in provider. Either way, you need to be sure that you are asking the right questions and considering your business’ needs across the organisation to be confident you have chosen the right provider to outsource your IT to.
Why Outsource IT Support Services?
There are a number of benefits of outsourcing IT support and services.
High level of IT expertise
You want any project your business embarks on to be successful. You want to know that you are in safe hands. Aside from asking for references and case studies, you can check that the IT Provider’s engineers are trained and qualified.
For example, if you want to migrate your email server to Microsoft 365 you will want to make sure that the company working with you is qualified to do it. You should check to see if they have Microsoft competencies such as Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions. Check to see the level of competency as well.
One reason many companies outsource IT support – especially small to medium organisations – is that by doing so they can gain a higher level of IT expertise than they’d otherwise be able to. Smaller organisations are often unable to attract IT experts with the level of skill they need. Outsourcing allows these companies to access that level of skill.
Another issue is that a company’s needs in terms of IT support are rarely consistent from day to day. One day there might be a high work flow, the next, there might not. For many smaller organisations, there may not be enough consistent work to justify having IT support in-house. So again, the size of the organisation makes it harder to attract and retain IT workers. Outsourcing can solve this problem, too.
Many companies face a lack of expertise in their local area. Outsourcing gives you a much wider pool of talent to choose from, because you’re not limited to local applicants. You can look much further afield, since outsourcing means you can work with an IT company from a different city or even a different country.
Reduced IT costs
According to one survey, 69% of UK companies outsource as a means of reducing costs. It’s not hard to see why. Outsourcing can save a lot of money, and not just in terms of wages. Companies that outsource their IT can save because:
- Not hiring dedicated IT staff means not having to pay for expensive training, or for employee benefits.
- Outsourcing means you can hire on a per-project basis, so you pay only for work completed. Your company doesn’t have to be tied into a long-term contact that might become less cost-effective in the future.
- You don’t have to pay for hardware, equipment, and storage. And for your money, you’ll typically get better quality than you’d be able to afford by keeping IT in-house. This is an immensely important consideration, given the speed at which new tech is developed. Few organisations can keep up with the rapid pace of advancement, but outsourcing means it’s up to the IT company to keep up
Keeps resources focused
Outsourcing IT gives you another advantage, one that’s often just as important as the possibility of saving money. When you don’t have to use resources on keeping up with in-house IT, you’re free to use those resources elsewhere. Smaller companies with in-house IT often end up in situations where more tech-savvy staff members end up spending part of their work day on IT matters, instead of performing their core role. Outsourcing IT ensures that all staff are focused on their core roles and doing the jobs they were hired for.
One indirect and often-overlooked benefit is that a small in-house IT team just can’t achieve what a dedicated IT company can, in terms of providing value-added services. Outsourcing often means the ability to access additional services that make the company more productive. For instance, outsourcing IT means the potential to access tools and services that help employees work remotely, or that make sensitive company data more secure.
You should always make sure that the companies you choose to work with are a good fit for your business and how you want to operate. The likelihood is you’re going to be outsourcing your IT to this organisation for at least a year and because of that you will want to make sure you’re happy with how they operate.
We would recommend asking the contenders about the processes they have in place to manage their relationship with you. Find out about things like how you request service, how an engineer is assigned and how they communicate the status of a job with you. Ask if they have a service management software package in place. Asking these types of questions will help you to compare the different providers you are considering outsourcing your IT to.
In-house IT is often reactive rather than proactive. It’s about addressing problems as they arise. In contrast, an outsourcing team can monitor your IT network round-the-clock to prevent problems even before they happen. This means there’s less risk of issues that might affect productivity. And, outsourcing IT support ensures you’ve got a skilled team working on IT problems when they do occur, no matter when they occur.
You need to check that the providers you are considering have done similar work before. Every IT company can be a specialist in a range of different areas. Some may do telecoms, some may do software development, and some may do cyber security forensics.
For example, ACUTEC specialises in IT Support, Cloud Services, Software Development and Security. There are some areas of IT that we choose not to specialise in simply because we know what we’re good at and like to do things well.
Understand your business and what it is trying to achieve
There’s a difference between outsourcing your IT and having an IT partner. We recommend the latter. We see a partner as an organisation that will work with you to help you achieve your goals. A good IT partner will help you by recommending technology that is relevant to your business’ operations.
When you’re considering different companies for outsourcing your IT you should think about whether they have taken the time to get to know you and the business. They should be interested in both what you do and how technology can help you do it.
Why It’s Best to Outsource to a Microsoft Gold Partner
When you decide to outsource your IT support, there are a variety of possibilities. A single Google search will present you with an exhaustive list of options. How do you go about choosing the right one, when there are so many options?
One way to quickly cut separate the wheat from the chaff is to search only for Microsoft Gold Partners. This instantly achieves two things: you eliminate a large number of choices, which makes it easier to investigate your options. But most importantly, choosing from Microsoft Gold Partners means you’re looking at companies that are recognised for having high standards in the work they do.
Microsoft Gold Partners have been vetted by Microsoft to ensure they’re operating at a high standard of excellence. To achieve gold partnership status, Microsoft partners must have customer references that verify their high standards, have certified Microsoft professionals on-staff, and undergo several assessments. It takes a lot of hard work to get these competencies so if a company has them you can be assured that they know what they are doing.
Once they’re vetted, Gold Partners have access to a number of benefits: they have exclusive access to Microsoft tools and utilities, receive continuous online tech support, and can participate in Microsoft training programs and tutorials. This means Microsoft Gold Partners have better access to tools, techniques, and training that helps them deliver better services to clients.
Looking to outsource IT support services to a Microsoft Gold Partner? Get in touch with ACUTEC today!