IT or Technical Outsourcing is praised by some organizations and condemned by others. To clear the air, IT Outsourcing is very effective and useful BUT that doesn’t mean that it’s the right fit for everyone. In deciding whether or not to outsource, it is important to understand the many different ways it could be used to benefit your organization as well as important questions you should ask yourself initially and periodically.
What are the different ways I can use IT Outsourcing in my organization?
When we think of outsourcing in general, we think it involves hiring someone or some company outside of our current organization to complete work that we don’t want to complete ourselves. When we add in the ‘IT’ aspect, it includes hiring an outside tech person/company to complete technical work that you don’t want to or are incapable of completing yourself. This is a correct generalized definition but we can go a bit deeper relative to defining IT Outsourcing and the different ways it can be used. Let’s take a brief look at some of those ways.
One-Time Project. IT Outsourcing can be used to assist with or completely manage a one-time project that could be small or large in scope. Several organizations use IT outsourcing in this manner. Some example projects include Windows 10 upgrades, deployment and/or replacement of staff devices, software/hardware implementations, etc. Some common reason for considering this option include:
Specialized Assistance. IT spans a very wide spectrum of different technical skills and capabilities so it’s common for internal IT teams not to have team members with some of those skill sets. In those situations we see quite a bit of outsourcing. Some common skill sets that are outsourced include website design, programming, complex software/hardware configurations, etc. Other reasons for considering this option could include:
IT Support. Some organizations are smaller and may not have the funds to invest into an in-house IT support team so they opt to outsource their IT support. Outsourcing for IT support is also widely used by larger organizations. In larger organizations it’s commonly used to supplement their existing IT department in order to meet support demands for a finite amount of time. This type of support can be onsite, remote, or a combination of both based on need. More specific examples include:
When does IT Outsourcing not make sense for my organizations?
In looking at the different ways your organization can use IT Outsourcing, it’s easy to see why and how it could be beneficial. But when is it not a smart choice for your organization? Let’s take a look at some examples and things to consider.
Does it make sense financially? Sometimes it doesn’t make good financial sense to outsource and we see this in both small and large organizations. For example, small organizations that start off with outsourcing sometimes continue using outsourcing even when it no longer makes financial sense. As the company grows, a reassessment needs to be done to make that determination. At some point it makes more sense to start hiring an internal team versus paying for outsourcing which also increases in cost as your organization grows.
The reassessment should take an in depth look at what you’re currently paying for outsourcing and look at what you could potentially save by hiring your own internal IT team members. This also applies to larger organizations that use IT outsourcing to supplement their existing IT team.
Does it make operational sense? If you find yourself outsourcing repeatedly for ‘specialized assistance’ such as website design/management, it may be time to consider hiring internally for that position. Another example would be project management, if you find that your organization has several projects throughout the year, it may be time to consider hiring an internal project manager.
One major driving questions asks, ‘Does the amount of work in xyz justify hiring a permanent employee for this role?’ This is important because you don’t want to hire for a position only to find that the team member doesn’t have enough work to keep them busy. Be sure not to limit your considerations to just full-time employment, maybe it’s not enough work for a full-time position but just enough for a part-time position.
Hopefully this blog post proves to be useful in determining if IT Outsourcing makes sense for your organization. As mentioned above, it requires periodic reevaluations as your organization changes (growth and downsizing) and an understanding of your outsourcing trends relative to how often and in what way outsourcing is used.