For many businesses, one of the most important questions they will face has to do with whether or not they should maintain their own in-house IT department, or whether they should employ the help of a third-party outsourcing provider. As with most things, there is not necessarily a “one size fits all” answer to this situation. It’s important to pay attention to certain requirements and performance benchmarks to help definitively know when outsourcing is right for you.
Outsourcing IT Department Requirements: Considerations
Generally speaking, the turning point for most organizations is around the 500 user range. Once you cross this threshold, it really is an excellent idea to set up and maintain your own internal IT department. You need a certain level of oversight into the proceedings to help govern things like data security that you can likely afford if you’re behind the proverbial wheel of an organization this size.
Businesses with less than 500 users can still set up their own internal IT department if they feel they can handle it, but they often end up running into a number of different problems that make things more and more difficult with each passing day.
The Silo Challenge
One of the major issues that small businesses run into when maintaining an in-house IT department is one of silos. If you hire internal people, you’re essentially limited to their own particular skillsets. Employee A may be great at setting up your infrastructure, but they don’t have the time to learn about new technology. They don’t have the resources necessary to investigate new technologies or to find out what new equipment might make an impact in your organization. Your IT department essentially becomes silo’d and your entire business suffers from it.
The Benefits of Outsourcing your IT Department
Perhaps the biggest benefit that IT outsourcing brings to the table for small organizations in particular is one of availability. Let’s face facts – unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in a day. If your IT department takes a vacation, you essentially lose out on their capacity until they return.
Outsourcing, on the other hand, gives you 24 hours a day, seven days a week access to engineers. It gives you the type of full availability you need to work any time, all the time. It gives you access to a more diverse set of skills – all for the cost of just a single bill.
Outsourcing your IT department is typically less expensive, but not always. As always, this will require you to take a long, hard look at your business-specific goals to see how it aligns with your long-term IT strategy. For many small businesses in particular, however, outsourcing IT department functionality can be the silver bullet they’ve been looking for to maintain a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace.
- Outsourcing your IT department brings with it a great deal of freedom, particularly in terms of investment, that you won’t get via any other channel.
- Typically, the turning point for organizations is around 500 users. Above this point, you need to start setting up and maintaining your own internal IT department.