Which is better: outsourced IT or internal IT?
Outsourced IT provides a lot of benefits, including lower costs. You can typically have an entire team of outsourced technology experts for less than the salary of one dedicated internal IT employee. Depending on the skills needed, plus benefits and continued education costs, an internal IT resource will cost between $45,000 to $100,000 annually.
Using an outsourced IT company will provide not only a team of technology professionals, but a diverse team with a range of expertise. IT companies also often have several partnerships with vendors and other companies to make it easier to procure computers and other hardware.
Small and midsize businesses usually do well with an outsourced IT solution as IT demand can come in waves. There may not always be work to do to justify the salary of a full-time employee.
Larger corporations often have enough demand to justify an internal IT person or department to manage employees' requests, troubleshooting, planning, networking, custom reports, software management and more.
A downside of using outsourced IT is their priorities may not always align with yours. External IT has multiple customers, and as needs and requests come in, they are re-prioritizing throughout the day. If there is a production outage at one client, your issue may get bumped to later based on available resources.
While most issues can be resolved remotely, there are times when i'ts necessary for an IT tech to be on-site, so you may have to wait for help to arrive. If you have an internal IT, the person is presumably always available.
It can be convenient to always have staff onsite to address technology concerns and questions. Technology is a large part of business, and this resource will likely be essential to every department.
Additionally, an internal employee can more easily understand your core business, your customers, products, mission and vision because they are in the mix every day and truly a part of the team. While this is not really necessary to providing excellent technology support, it can be beneficial.
Help desk support can take up a lot of time if you have only one or two IT employees on staff. Constant small requests can easily consume their day and distract them from the long-term planning and proactive management businesses need to thrive. It's easy to interrupt an internal IT person by walking into their office and asking for help.
Defining the technology needs your business has will help when deciding which solution is better for you. Try to understand what the current problems are to help understand the needs. Do you have old faulty equipment? Do you have security issues and antivirus questions or issues? Are there several employees who require help desk support?
It's not uncommon for businesses to utilize both internal and external IT teams. This allows one team to handle the help desk support requests and leaves the other available for IT planning and other proactive management tasks.
Oftentimes external IT companies are also called in for consulting, or a special short-term project like replacing a server, setting up hardware in a new facility or migrating to a new operating system.
So, how do you choose which is best for your business?
Biggest factors to consider when deciding on outsourced or in-house IT include:
- The size of the business / number of employees
- Budget - what can you afford?
- Needs and expectations, such as:
- number of help desk support requests from employees
- technology infrastructure, networking and cybersecurity
- goal setting, planning and forecasting
Knowing the above information can help guide your decision and choose the option that is best for your business.