An introduction to IT outsourcing
IT outsourcing is a common tool used by many modern businesses to help them implement some or all of their IT needs. By outsourcing your information technology tasks, you are hiring third-party contractors or companies to perform the IT work as opposed to having the IT tasks done in-office. The most commonly outsourced IT services include:
- Application management/support
- Lead generation
- Customer service/help desk
- Social media marketing
- Web design and development
- Software development
- Customer telephone services
- Web hosting
Most companies that outsource their IT needs do so in one of three ways. These include:
- Overseas services/moving business: Transferring most or all your business or services to another country entirely
- Homeshoring: Seeking services in or transferring part of your business to a country close by
- Nearshoring: Having employees work from their homes rather than in a physical office
Most information technology companies will oversee the design, build and function of the IT tasks that you have outsourced. This ensures that all of your IT needs are met and that little is required on your end to manage the IT tasks. However, before deciding to outsource, there are several things to consider and planning to be done on your part.
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Three things to know about IT outsourcing
The following are factors to consider before deciding to outsource some or all of your company’s IT needs to another company or third-party contractor:
Your company’s safety and security
Before hiring an outside contractor or company to provide IT services, you should first determine how much information you are comfortable providing to the IT resource. Many IT services require that you provide sensitive information pertaining to your business’s security and data, so you should also get a clear idea of how the IT resource will protect your information. You should get this in writing and regularly make sure that the IT support company is upholding its promise.
Your company’s operational control
When you outsource some or all of your IT tasks, you may find that you lose a portion or much of the operational control your company has over certain business functions. For example, if you hire an IT company to provide customer telecommunication services, you may feel as if you have little to no say over how the outsourced team is speaking to your clients. Before outsourcing, it’s important to determine how much control and governance you want to maintain regarding the operations you will be outsourcing and then make this clear with the company or contractor you hire. This ensures that your expectations, as well as the responsibilities and roles that you expect from the IT resource, are understood.
Many IT support companies are located overseas. This means that there is often a language barrier as well as different time zones and cultures to consider. By going into the relationship with your IT support company open-minded and willing to work through all barriers, you can establish clear agreements and solutions to overcome most communication or other issues that may arise.
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Benefits of IT service outsourcing
Choosing to outsource parts of your company can provide a number of benefits to its overall operations and productivity. Potential benefits of IT outsourcing include:
- Lowered costs: When outsourcing IT tasks to companies or contractors overseas, you can often cut costs in relation to your company’s information technology needs and requirements. For example, having an IT team in-house can be costly, whereas outsourcing your IT tasks can reduce costs in relation to salary, employee equipment, benefits and more.
- Increased in-house productivity: When your employees do not have to worry about certain IT tasks that they may have little to no experience with, they are free to focus solely on their day-to-day job duties and core business functions. This can result in increased employee productivity as well as reduced stress associated with having to perform IT tasks.
- IT expertise: Most IT contractors and companies have expertise in several IT areas as well as have special equipment or technology that allows them to be more productive and provide a higher level of services. This means that outsourcing your IT tasks can often result in an increased quality of task completion compared to if you were to have in-house staff complete the tasks.
IT outsourcing FAQs
The following are frequently asked questions related to IT outsourcing:
Can IT outsourcing work for small businesses?
IT outsourcing is often a smart choice for small and medium-sized businesses. This is because these types of companies often do not have enough in-house resources to adequately meet their IT needs. By outsourcing, smaller companies can save time and money and allow their staff to focus on the tasks that cannot be outsourced.
What are the disadvantages of IT outsourcing?
The following are a few potential disadvantages of IT outsourcing to consider:
- Potential for low-quality work or task completion if IT sources are not thoroughly screened
- Communication and cultural barriers
- Reduced turnaround times as a result of different time zones and communication barriers
- Potential security risks and loss of confidentiality