One of the most important decisions you'll make in business is who you work with. And when it comes to IT support, that decision is especially crucial. In the Digital Age, your data is your most important asset. The team that handles your company's information is also handling its future.
So how do you decide who to trust and who to hire? Should you assemble an on-site, full-time team of IT professionals? Or would outsourcing your support to a managed service provider be the more cost-effective, flexible solution? Today, we're breaking down the good, the bad, and the ugly for both options.
In-House IT Support
With an in-house IT department, your requests are more likely to receive a direct and immediate response. That isn't to say an in-house team will finish your requests more quickly than an outsourced team or managed service provider. In fact, quite the opposite. In-house teams are typically small, with only one or two full-time employees, so they tend to get overrun with day-to-day minutiae and troubleshooting. But should there be an emergency, you know precisely where to go and who to speak with.
When your IT team is an integrated part of your salaried staff, they come to know every facet of your business. They know your employees and their limitations. They've studied your infrastructure closely. And they've seen your internal operations first-hand, day in and day out. When something goes awry, you won't have to worry about finding a specialist who understands the technology your office uses.
Recruiting the right IT professionals to join your team can be a lengthy, expensive process. Hiring salaried employees means accepting financial responsibility for their training, benefits, and career development opportunities. And if you aren't knowledgeable about IT, it can be difficult to know whether you're hiring someone who is.
A typical in-house team can only be proficient in just a few technology areas. Normal day-to-day duties of in-house IT staff allows for maintenance/monitoring of systems or projects but not both. The department must outsource a significant portion of the workload in order to meet the day-to-day operation needs and business goals and almost always have to outsource for technology upgrades and changes.
If your in-house team is comprised of only one or two staff members, their time will be in high demand. The need to constantly react to new problems will make it hard for a limited staff to see past the immediate present and work toward long-term changes or goals.
Your in-house team might be incredibly responsive during the day, but after hours? Probably not. And with salaried IT support staff, sick days and vacation time can really impact your company's productivity. When those key players aren't at work, your business is vulnerable.
With an in-house department, your team may be subject to high turnover. The need to replace old team members and train new ones can really zap your time, energy, and resources.
Outsourced IT Support
Outsourcing your IT support to a consultant or managed service provider gives you access to a panel of senior-level specialists with a diverse range of expertise. With their combined skill set and industry experience, it will be difficult to come up with a task they can't handle or haven't encountered before.
Outsourcing lets you maximize monitoring and support while minimizing IT costs. As a unit, your managed service provider will never be off the clock – the company will always find someone to assist you, even if one or two representatives aren't in the office that day. Plus, you're effectively getting the guidance and leadership of a Chief Technology Officer at a fraction of the price. And unless you sign up for all-inclusive support, you will only pay for the services you need.
Because in-house teams are always tackling help-desk and maintenance requests, they often struggle to research and plan strategically for the future. Outsourced IT administrators, however, can relieve your team from day-to-day drudgery and free up more time for thinking proactively.
Outsourcing does require a certain amount of good faith, because the provider you choose will have access to a wealth of company information. That said, managed service providers have an incentive to keep your information secure. Unlike in-house teams, outsourced consultants have to continually prove their value and earn your business.
Managed service providers work remotely, so the majority of your communications will occur on the phone and online. But outsourcing doesn't have to mean sacrificing immediacy. At ICG, we can house your information in one of our managed datacenters or from your own facility.
Hiring decisions are never easy. Whether you're a small business or a big corporation, it takes thorough research and careful consideration to establish what kind of support your company needs. In-house and outsourced IT each have their benefits and downsides. But if you've done your homework and still can't decide, we have a suggestion. Why not hire both? A team that includes a blend of in-house and outsourced professionals ensures coverage for a variety of scenarios and demands, from tactical to strategic.
And lucky for you, ICG is more than willing to accommodate whatever level of support you require. Whether we’re providing full-time management or supplementing your existing staff, we're here to bridge the gap between your team and ours. Ready to transform your business? Let's build something together.