In-house tech support versus outsourcing
Outsourcing in the business world means to entrust a specific business process (BPO) or task to another person or company. BPO is used to relieve you from a work load, to reduce your costs and to improve the quality of given tasks.
Which I.T. services can be outsourced?
Thoughts such as “I can do it myself” kill a lot of startups before they even started. You have to overcome your own pride and understand the importance of delegation, which will bring you a much greater chance of success.
Investment expert Brian O’Malley believes that it is almost impossible to run any business without some form of outsourcing; “Not only will you be less crowded by boring tasks, but a lot of other people and companies can perform these tasks better and cheaper than you.” This applies in particular to the following tasks, activities and processes:
- Infrastructure / hosting. Considering the I.T. options today, the outsourcing of your hardware needs, storage requirements and network components to an infrastructure provider will save you thousands of dollars in costs and labor. You can subscribe to a cloud system (with a flexible scales and options), and it will be cheaper and more efficient than to own and maintain the equipment.
- Website design and maintenance. There is no need to hire a full-time designer in the initial phase of your business. Contracting a website or graphic design company can be much more cost effective than hiring your own web designer.
- Projects outside your field of expertise. Your employees may be experts in certain domains, but with the growing demands of the environment, you need experts from different fields. For example, the area of cyber security can hardly be covered by the employed IT engineers. Unless you are fully dedicated to take care of your data safety, you should employ a double layer of support for these critical process.
When should you outsource?
No matter what you outsource (infrastructure, design, IT security etc.), it is important to understand – when the time is right for outsourcing. Here are some of our recommendations:
- Processes at the edge of failing. You know it’s time for outsourcing when internal processes become strained. For example, when all team members are on the edge of their capabilities and therefore cannot accurately and efficiently perform a specific task.
- Slow implementation. An obvious sign that you need to outsource is when you need a lot of time from the commencement of a task until its execution. Maybe you think you should hire someone, but this is not so. If you outsource, you can easily control the speed of performing tasks.
- Low quality. If you know you have a good level of support, but not a sufficient level of quality, it is time to outsource. This most likely means that you lack certain skills and expertise in a given area.
3 Advantages of Outsourcing I.T. Services in Calgary
Outsourcing has many advantages and the most important (3) are:
- Lower costs. The most obvious advantage of outsourcing is cost savings.
Tech support providers can be found quickly and you will not have to pay additional costs. You will also be able to seamlessly terminate the contract, without any inconvenience. In terms of hiring an employee, some business people don’t consider the true cost of an employee:
- Hourly Wage
- P.P., E.I premiums, Vacation Pay
- Office space and associated indirect costs
- Computer Hardware
- HR Costs to hire and maintain
- Accounting Costs and CRA Payroll Tax Liability
- Lost productivity (it is possible that an employee is only productive one half or one third of the day)
- Training and re-training due to turnover
- Legal compliance when dismissing an employee
- And, as some of you are aware… many, many more hidden costs
- Greater expertise. If you solve all tasks internally, often you will have to enforce your employees and colleagues to go beyond their comfort zone by doing jobs that they are not fully trained for, which can compromise the quality. By outsourcing every particular task, you can find a professional who knows what he’s doing.
- Better focus. Outsourcing will enable you to better concentrate on the tasks and processes which are vital (crucial) for your business, instead of neurotically trying to accomplish things that are outside of your domain. Outsourcing will bring you more flexibility and easier adaptation to different circumstances.
Finding the Right Balance in I.T. Services Outsourcing
Probably the best thing a new or existing business can do is to have an I.T. Audit and Bid for Outsourced I.T. management. It would be prudent to meet with three or more I.T. consultants and discuss your business’ technology needs and get bids on managing your I.T. infrastructure. Some questions that you need answered in this I.T. audit are:
- If there is a crisis at my company, what is the highest level person in your company I have access to to make sure the problem is fixed as fast as possible?
- Do you offer help-desk support?
- Is the help-desk agent based in Calgary?
- How long on average does it take to get on-site support?
- Is on-site I.T. support billed separately?
- Can you manage the buying of computers, servers, and other I.T. infrastructure?
- Can we do without the physical I.T. infrastructure and operate on the Cloud?
- Do you manage Virus and Malware protection and removal?
- What can you do for security?
- Do you manage data backup?
- Do you provide training to my employees or just tech support if something breaks?
- What do you do for preventative maintenance?
- How do you bill for services?
- Do you offer À la carte options when I can pick exactly what I need?
- Will there ever be unexpected billing items on my invoice?
- Can you manage mobile devices (billing, email, mobile app installs and management?)
- Are these I.T. services put in a monthly or annual contract?
A common thing we hear from company owners or executives placed in charge of I.T. is, “I’m no I.T. expert but it’s a part of my job. When I hear recommendations for the so called ‘experts’ I have no way to evaluate what they are saying so I usually just agree with them.” At Matterhorn Business Solutions, our goal is that you know everything that is going on in your I.T. environment, the best decisions are being made for you and not just because “some computer nerds think you need all the latest bells and whistles because he’s spending your money – not his own.”