Should I outsource my IT?

Should you, as a small business owner, outsource the IT function of your organization? This is a tough decision to take, considering that a business of this size usually requires a high level of engagement and control. Outsourcing would, necessarily, lead to loss of some degree of that control, which a small business needs for its nurturance and growth. On the positive side, however, there are a host of reasons for opting for outsourcing of IT in a small business, not the least of them being reduced expenses without compromising on quality.
One thing is clear—the prevailing business environment necessitates having an IT department, whether in-house or outsourced, to manage the various IT-related needs of your business. You simply can’t afford not to remain updated on IT, nor can you afford any kind of delay when it comes to addressing an IT-related problem.
So getting back to the question of whether you should go for outsourcing of IT or keep it in-house, let’s understand the pros and cons of both the options before taking a final decision in this regard.
Considerations to be kept in mind
A lot depends on how extensive the IT support is needed by your business, and whether you’re going to need that support continuously, in the long term, or intermittently, perhaps in the short term. If it’s a long-term requirement, then it makes sense to go for in-house IT, which youwill have continuous access to. On the other hand, limited IT support would mean limited and occasional intervention requirements, which is better outsourced.
Then there’s also the question of the quantum of support required. If your business is heavily dependent on IT then you’d need a lot of IT support, with a continuity of service that an outsourced model is better equipped to provide.
Other aspects to be taken into account
While you may feel that outsourcing would be the better option for your business, given the cost savings you feel it will lead to, the reality might be different. When it comes down to brass tacks, you may discover that there are a lot of IT features and functions that cannot really work from the remote and need constant monitoring or access by IT professionals. In such a case, outsourcing is just not an option, irrespective of how much more beneficial it seems.
Cost, of course, is another vital aspect that needs to be taken note of while making a decision on outsourcing of IT. Will it really be financiallybeneficial for you to outsource your IT function, or will it turn out to be a case of “penny wise, pound foolish”? You’d need to analyze your need and the cost factor in great detail before deciding on this one.
Matter of time
Yes, time is of the essence in any business, especially a small business. You’d rather have your team spend their time in productive functions than resolving IT problems every now and then. Since a small business can’t afford to have a large or proper IT department the function is usually left to all employees, who may or may not be very IT-savvy. In any case, even if they are adept at IT, engaging them in fixing IT problems would lead to vital loss of their productive time, which could well have been utilized on other, more important work. So it may be a good idea to save your team’s time, and your own of course, by letting others handle your business IT. Let your team work on things they’re ideally suited for and bestknow how to do, rather than engaging them in other extraneous functions, even if it’s a vital function like IT.
Quality is important
While cost is an important factor to be taken into consideration, quality is of paramount interest in IT-related matters in a small business. Your in-house team may not have the expertise required to handle your IT needs, and you may not be able to afford a high-cost IT professional at this stage of your business growth. So you’d need to go for outsourcing in order to get the better skills, quality and expertise you need to handle your IT.
Conclusion
Eventually, it all depends on your business needs but, by and large, it appears that outsourcing is a better option for a small business, given the cost and expertise factors in particular. Small businesses, in fact, are even more prone to digital and IT breakdowns because of their limited resources, which prevents them from going for the best quality of IT systems. So the expertise required to handle their IT is quite high, which they’re unlikely to be able to secure from within.
While a small business owner would not be happy about handing over an important part of his business to an external professional or agency, it’s important to note that the alternative is even grimmer. If the choice is between losing control over part of your business, or losing your business in entirety, it’s logical to conclude that you’d opt for the former.
Let’s not forget that there’s a contract involved in outsourcing IT, just as in several other functions of your business such as product sale or client servicing etc. And that contract is your protection when it comes to outsourcing.
So you’ll find more and more small business owners opting for technology consulting firms and teams to ensure that their IT works smoothly and recovers quickly after any breakdown.

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