As long as IT has been around, there has been the question of whether outsourced or in-house IT support is best. Effectively managing the cost and performance of IT is vital for the success of modern businesses. If computer systems are continually breaking down or causing other problems, productivity can plummet.
To ensure everything runs smoothly and business growth is maintained, having proper IT staffing and systems in place is essential. However, business owners often find it difficult to decide whether to keep IT services in-house or outsource them to an established service provider.
In smaller businesses or those at an early stage, it often falls to the most tech-savvy staff member to provide unofficial IT assistance. However, as systems become more complex, the IT support will have to evolve, meaning it is now past their skillset and the company’s day-to-day operations begin to suffer. In larger organisations, an IT department might exist, but can be occupied fixing problems and providing user support when they need to develop the current IT strategy.
This article will examine the advantages and disadvantages of outsourced and in-house IT support to help you decide the best strategy for your business.
Advantages Of In-House IT Support
One of the main advantages of relying on support in-house is that you can build a team with highly specialised knowledge of your systems. An internal IT team that works for your company will have extensive knowledge of your IT infrastructure, meaning they can fix any issues quickly and efficiently.
Furthermore, your in-house team should be fully aware and focused on your business objectives and goals as well as aligned with your company values. This ensures that IT development follows your business goals closely instead of hiring an outsourced IT company.
Finally, if you have numerous IT projects, an internal team may be the most cost-effective solution to facilitate those projects.
Disadvantages Of In-House IT Support
Cost is the most significant disadvantage, and this doesn’t refer to just wages. Recruiting, training, supporting, and providing the necessary equipment are all expensive factors that must be considered when putting together an in-house team.
However, the most significant cost will be employee wages. In addition to average salaries of between £30k and £60k, employers’ NI, pensions, bonuses and a myriad of hidden costs must also be provided. You’ll also need to deal with annual leave and sickness for very small businesses. An in-house team needs at least two people (double those wage costs!), but even with two, you’re likely to experience cover problems at some stage.
Once you have your staff in place, retaining them is another issue. If your core business is not IT, do you know how to provide a structured career path for qualified IT professionals?
Moreover, you may also struggle to find someone suitable to manage and motivate these staff. It isn’t easy to manage people if you don’t fully understand what they need to do! This may make the team less productive, especially when creating new processes and systems. And there can be knowledge gaps, especially with small internal IT teams. The knowledge of a business entirely focused on IT, with multiple team members, is likely to be more significant.
Advantages Of Outsourced IT Support
Outsourced IT support is likely to be considerably more cost-effective as you can fix costs for a contract period, aiding your company’s budgeting. There are often things included within outsourced IT support that you might already be paying for separately in-house. For example, at Your IT Department, we include antivirus software, email filtering and backup within the support contract.
By outsourcing, you’ll get access to a broader range of knowledge and years of industry experience with a managed service provider. IT support companies employ several qualified professionals with different specialisms to ensure that all aspects of IT are covered.
Additionally, this larger team will provide holiday and sickness coverage, giving you constant support and ensuring your business runs smoothly. Not only this, but you’ll free up more internal resources. Whether this is the IT-savvy individual or the entire IT department, your staff can go back to doing exactly what you want them to. Or, if you prefer, the IT company and your current in-house team can work together.
Proactive monitoring, maintenance and reporting are also huge benefits of hiring an external company for your IT development. This can be invaluable if you’re a small business as you’ll be forewarned about ageing equipment, expiring warranties and problem devices.
Finally, outsourced IT support will have access to and knowledge of the latest technology. These consultancy services could provide you with a distinct advantage over your competitors. Larger providers can also assist with alternative finance, such as hardware-as-a-service. This can spread the equipment cost and keep your infrastructure up to date.
Disadvantages Of Outsourced IT Support
One of the main disadvantages of outsourced IT support is that you have to hand over control of your IT system to an external party. This can be challenging, as finding an IT support company that understands your business objectives, goals, and company culture is essential. The ideal partner will feel like an extension of your business rather than a supplier of IT systems and will have the appropriate controls, systems and insurance in place.
Additionally, some businesses prefer more visibility and in-person contact. Most support will be handled remotely, which can be a barrier for those who prefer face-to-face interaction.
In-House Or Outsourced?
Each business, and each business owner, will have a different opinion on which type of support is best. Many businesses will see some of the disadvantages we’ve outlined for outsourcing as unsurmountable; others will view them as no problem.
The cost will always be a factor, but it should never be the only one. It is important to evaluate the pros of cons of hiring a support company as opposed to sticking with an internal team.
IT Support FAQs:
Here are a few of the most common questions we get asked about outsourcing and an in-house support team, alongside our answers.
What Is In-House IT Support?
In-house IT support is when a company has its own internal IT department that provides support to employees. This includes help desk support, computer and network maintenance, and software development. Having an in-house IT team can benefit companies because it allows them to have more control over their technology infrastructure and be more responsive to employee needs. It can also be more cost-effective than outsourcing IT support to a third-party company.
Related Article: Why IT Support Is Important?
What Is Outsourced IT Support?
This is when a business farms out IT support functions to another organisation under a service level agreement. This arrangement is often made to save money or to free up internal resources for other purposes.
Outsourced IT support can take many forms, but it commonly involves hiring an external company to provide help desk support, onsite support, and network support. Sometimes, an organisation contracts its entire IT department to another company.