Five Questions You Need to Answer Before Hiring a Managed IT Services Provider
Hiring a managed IT services provider does not have to be an all or nothing proposition. For both organizations with Internal IT staff and ones without, it may be the most cost-effective way to ensure the IT needs of the organization are met. This is a growing trend as an increasing number of businesses are relying on IT outsourcing as a strategic IT solution. In fact within the past year, 57% of businesses increased their use of IT outsourcing.
The reasons for getting outside help may vary. Some organizations may need to free up internal IT resources or scale their IT functions. Others may need to implement new technologies or reduce IT spending.
Regardless, before hiring a managed IT services provider, organizations need to carefully assess their IT goals and needs. To help with that, here are five questions that need to be asked and answered before the decision is made.
1. What Are Your Goals for Hiring an IT Provider?
The first question will help the organization to clearly define the goals for hiring a managed IT services provider and set measurable metrics for evaluating the ROI.
The most common goals are cutting costs, freeing up internal resources, solving network issues, or improving data security.
2. What IT Functions Do You Plan to Outsource?
Organizations should also consider the scope of help needed and decide on the tasks or functions they plan to outsource.
Depending on the goals, an organization may outsource their entire IT department or hand over specific IT functions.
Some small businesses may not have IT staff or services and need to get full coverage for their IT needs. For others hiring an IT company can enable them to implement industry-specific technologies, or implement computer systems to help them remain competitive.
For medium to large organizations, outsourcing a portion of IT responsibilities can provide more time for internal IT staff to focus on core IT tasks. This is the second-most common reason for outsourcing. This can help streamline IT operations and increase the overall productivity of the in-house IT department.
IT providers can also work on individual or short-term projects, such as expanding into a new market or auditing their current IT operations.
3. Will Hiring an IT Provider Increase ROI?
One of the main motivators for outsourcing is to reduce overall spending to improve ROI. 59% of businesses outsource to cut costs in their internal departments.
IT outsourcing can allow organizations to freeze IT hiring or scale IT operations without increasing internal payroll. Implementing new technologies can also be much more cost effective when working with an outside firm.
After determining the functions which need to be outsourced, a thorough analysis should be done to determine if managed IT services will in fact increase ROI.
4. Can the IT Provider Meet Your Current Needs?
After considering how an outside firm may help improve IT operations, businesses may need to consider whether the firm can meet their needs. There are certain risks involved in trusting an outside source to handle essential functions.
Most businesses are not prepared to deal with a major IT disaster. In fact, 75% of small organizations have no data recovery plan for dealing with data loss. Working with an unqualified or unreliable IT firm may increase the risk of these disasters.
Businesses also need to ensure that the firm is reliable. As most of the work is completed offsite, oversight is more complex. Organizations do not get to closely monitor the activities of the IT agency. When outsourcing, the organization has to trust that the provider will perform their duties diligently.
Due to these circumstances, businesses need to review the credentials, and reputation of the IT firm and even request references.
5. What Are the Pros and Cons?
Evaluating the pros and cons is the final step. After reviewing the goals, and needs, the organization can begin to weigh the advantages against any potential risks.
There are only a few possible drawbacks to IT outsourcing and they can be avoided with proper planning. One issue is that the internal IT staff may feel that their roles are threatened. If organizations do not plan on laying off current employees, it is important to communicate openly with existing staff.
Another potential issue is the risk of working with an unqualified agency. As mentioned, organizations need to carefully vet IT agencies before handing over these important responsibilities.
The primary advantage of hiring a managed IT services provider is reducing operating costs. IT agencies provide controlled, predictable spending that allows businesses to better plan for growth.
Internal IT teams may struggle to implement the latest technologies. IT agencies on the other hand, employ experts in their fields. These individuals are required to continually research the latest IT developments and maintain certifications.
Outsourcing may also free internal resources, allowing the internal IT department to get back to their core functions. These benefits may even improve morale and productivity.
However, before making the decision to move forward, it’s imperative that the above 5 questions are asked and answered so that the organization will have all the information they need to make an informed decision.
Contact Outsource IT to learn more about how Managed IT Services can help reduce the operating costs of your organization.