Hiring an IT outsourcing company is the method of bringing in an external company to provide either some part or all of the IT functions your business depends on. That is important because your business can’t operate without these types of services. We’re talking about management of your company’s technological infrastructure, the strategy of creating and establishing the same, and having a reliable support team on your side when something does go wrong.
Having an IT team in place is essential. When you choose to outsource these services to a company that can act as either a fully managed service or participate in a supplemental back-up capacity to your internal IT department, you are taking the necessary steps for ensuring that your company will always be ready to compete in the marketplace.
When you hire an IT outsourcing company, you have plenty of choices. Not just in the companies you are able to hire, but in your decision to hire on more than only one company to address your organization’s needs. These requirements can be highly varied from one business to the next. The IT needs of your company may be drastically different from those of another. So it’s up to you to decide how an outside IT company can benefit you best. Will a single provider be sufficient for meeting your IT demands, or do you need to hire on multiple providers to administer many specialized duties?
Your IT outsourcing options
There are many different forms of IT outsourcing, each one built around a specific type of foundation for getting you the service your business absolutely needs. Your choices allow you to choose the regions of the world where your service is based and the types of services that are offered by providers.
The following are among the most common types of outsourcing you can hire for your information technology apparatus:
Offshore or overseas outsourcing
This was the most popular form of outsourcing, in which IT services were outsourced to a company located in a country abroad. Some of the most common countries include India, the Philippines, China, and Brazil, just to name a few. These regions offer US-based companies lower costs for the implementation of these services as well as savings on tax liabilities. But it’s also vital that you hire within countries that are in a comfortable, stable position from a political standpoint. You will feel a whole lot more secure in knowing your IT department will be there when they are needed.
This form of outsourcing places IT services with a company that is much closer yet still remains outside of the United States. These service providers will be somewhat nearer to where you conduct business, making it easier to keep lines of communication accessible and even travel to these places if need be, for the purposes of training and adjusting any IT strategies that must be established or reconsidered.
Domestic or onshore outsourcing
This is a form of outsourcing that has recently emerged as an affordable and more accessible method of hiring on an external IT service contractor. These are outsourcing companies that are based in the United States that can do the work in a remote capacity or come to your place of business. This arrangement is still different than hiring an in-house IT department, the contractors can visit your company location, but they are not solely based in your facility.
Cloud computing outsourcing
External IT contractors can supply your business with support via the Internet. This can include a majority of essential information technologies that are commonly needed, from infrastructure to software.
With so much of our everyday business needs dependent on IT (and those needs becoming ever more complex and specialized), you will soon likely find your business increasingly relying on having an excellent IT support staff in place. But you may not have the financial resources in place to bring on an in-house team to monitor your IT functionality all the time. In an effort to conserve your resources while maintaining a reliable IT support system, outsourcing is becoming the answer for more businesses of all shapes and sizes along just about every field and industry.
Benefits of hiring outsourced IT support
The most compelling argument for outsourcing IT support has long been due to financial concerns. Choosing an IT outsourcing company is often a far more cost-effective alternative to hiring an in-house staff to do the work. These staffs are often salaried positions, while you can hire an IT outsourcing company at a fixed cost per month or through a pay-per-use arrangement.
These prices can fluctuate based on the specific demands of your business. This is why you need to have a firm grasp on knowing what type of IT support can help your company continue to thrive and succeed. The typical factors that can play the most significant role in knowing how to build a reasonable IT budget accurately are the number of users connected to your IT infrastructure and the level of support you need to handle any potential drops in service.
When you turn to an IT outsourcing company, you can rest assured knowing that you have dependable support at any time, day or night. Typically, you have some type of open communication through which to contact your IT support provider during off-hours or even during holidays. That’s certainly a lot more convenient than dealing with a possible absence of someone on your in-house IT support staff due to sickness. The holidays can also play a role in the availability of any in-house personnel.
Experience and expertise
You can search high and low, long and far, to find the best personnel to hire for your in-house IT support staff. Pore through countless resumes, schedule hours of interviews, and winnow your candidates down to the group you feel can best provide your business with dependable IT support. But hiring an IT outsourcing company means that someone else has done that work for you.
You are putting your faith and trust into your chosen company, knowing they have done the proper due diligence that you would have to conduct instead. While it’s true that you will need to research the various IT outsourcing companies that exist in the marketplace, there are plenty of tools to help you determine which company is the best fit.
Customer reviews, trade testimonials, and each company’s vetting process, along with other forms of research can allow you to explore your many IT outsourcing options. When you find the one that works best for the particular IT needs of your company, you know you are getting a diversely talented team of IT technicians with a full range of knowledge and expertise to solve any one of your potential headaches or crises. Most of these matters can be handled remotely, meaning you don’t need to have an on-call staff on the payroll to work through any IT breakdowns. Additionally, you can rely on having an excellent range of experts addressing your IT matters, which is more likely to result in quicker, positive outcomes than bringing in one freelance analyst who may not know how to handle certain types of hiccups.
Short-term vs. long-term support options
Another benefit of having an IT outsourcing company at your disposal is that short-term contractors are hired at higher than average day rates, and they work with your system sporadically, usually when there is a problem that needs to be fixed, fast. But with a long-term IT outsourcing solution, your support team is better-acquainted with your IT infrastructure, and they are aware of the problems and issues that have arisen in the past. Armed with that knowledge, the support team might have an easier time diagnosing and repairing any emerging issues. In contrast, a short-term contractor will need to go through a lengthy process of trial and error to determine what has gone wrong.
Disadvantages to IT outsourcing
You are going to find some who believe that hiring an IT outsourcing company is not the answer to your IT support solutions. They make some reasoned points; it’s up to you to decide if these drawbacks might apply to your particular situation.
One of the biggest concerns is the protection of your data privacy. Allowing a third-party contractor to have access to sensitive materials could be something you want to take under careful consideration. However, a reputable company should be trustworthy enough to alleviate those fears.
Another criticism of bringing in an outsourced IT support team is the belief that these workers may not be as useful or timely in their solving of your problems as an in-house employee that has to report to supervisors or upper management.
A third-party contractor may not be as engaged or dedicated to solving your IT issues because they don’t have as substantial a stake in getting the job done. But the fault in this thinking lies with your lack of due diligence. If you hire an inferior or unreliable IT support firm, you’re getting what you pay for. If your IT outsourcing company isn’t prepared to meet the demands of your business, you need to start shopping around for a new IT support company.
This brings us to costs. No small or large business wants to spend more money than necessary to hire vendors or suppliers. The same goes for hiring your IT outsourcing firm. However, it would be best if you weighed the financial costs of getting the right IT outsourcing group on your side against the costs of not having the best team on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Opting to hire a cut-rate IT outsourcing group can lead to some potentially dire consequences.
How to go about choosing the right IT outsourcing company
Taking these disadvantages into account, you still want to take every precaution for ensuring that you are hiring a dependable and reputable IT outsourcing firm. These are the factors you want to consider as you do your research:
Quality of work
We touched a little upon this before, but it bears repeating and expansion. Do your due diligence into the personnel that each of the outsourcing candidates offers. Confirm their employees have all relevant certifications, strong experience, and any specialized capabilities. The talent pools in these companies may all be reliable and worthwhile, but your business may have unique requirements for IT support. The skillset you select should be completely in sync with your IT infrastructure.
Again, your costs should not exceed your budget, and you don’t want to pay more than you have to for excellent quality service. But when you are shopping around for the best IT outsourcing company to fit your needs, you want more than just a reasonable price. You want to see a thorough and transparent breakdown of what you are getting for your money. The costs should be fully justified and easy to understand before you enter an agreement with any IT outsourcing group.
Choice of location
When you are weighing your options as to the right IT outsourcing solution, you want to take location into account. Do you decide to go with a company based overseas, closer to the border of the country where your business is based, or in a domestic region in the same country. For the latter, choosing a domestic outsourcing company can be just as affordable as going with a company far overseas.