Growing a small business is not easy, especially in a post-recession economy, so every decision business owners make needs to consider a return on investment.
For small business owners, the decision to outsource their information technology needs opposed to having someone in-house is an important one.
For most small businesses, IT is not their core function, but something necessary to make the business run. Business owners want IT to work for them, but not become a cost and time suck that can take away from the company’s primary objectives.
Before you decide whether to outsource or stay in house here are some key differentiators for small business owners to consider.
Most small business can't afford a dedicated full time employee to focus solely on technology. Even if they could employees will want benefits such as vacation time, sick leave, training and other job perks that will pull them from the office.
As Murphy’s Law states, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. What if your network fails while your tech guy is home sick? What if the printer stops printing an hour before a big meeting and your tech guy is visiting the in-laws?
This is not an issue with an outsourced IT provider that will be on call at all times. While a person will not reside permanently in your office, a good outsourced IT provider will be so responsive they will feel like a member of the team and be able to solve problems quicker than someone sitting in the office.
At first, it may seem like having an insourced IT professional would lead to more institutional knowledge, but in fact the opposite is true. With small businesses likely to only hire one technology-focused employee, any institutional knowledge will leave with them when they leave the company. This can cause a new person to come in and start from scratch or with little input from their predecessor.
Now, if your company decides to go with an outsourced partner, that provider can then become an expert in your company’s technology needs. They will have records of what technology your company uses, when it's been updated and what is working best. A good outsourcing provider will also work proactively to ensure that the technology always works to eliminate service calls if there is a fixed-price contract.
Your company will use technology for a wide range of functions from email and time keeping to payroll and billing, not to mention the everyday things to keep the business operating like printing, network connectivity and security.
An in-house technician may have an idea of the best products for the company, but that will only be a small slice of knowledge. An outsource IT provider will likely have several other clients and will have worked with a wide range of technologies.
This is important because they will be able to alert you to emerging technologies that may help your business. They will also know what is a fair price for some services and where a company can save with IT and where it should invest.
This portfolio of knowledge is key. Outsourced IT providers are on the pulse of technological innovation and will be able to make sure your company is, too. Outsource IT is not just making sure the company Wi-Fi works (although that is important), but helping a company set itself up to better serve their customers, eliminate employee downtime and continue to grow.