Outsourced IT or Internal IT team?
A client of ours, one that we've been supporting for close to 10 years recently came to us with a question. They have a business of about a hundred staff, with six locations around Australia, with their head office located in Melbourne. They had a national IT manager who was an internal staff member and an IT assistant who helped out with some of the onsite issues in the Melbourne office. To complement their IT, we provided additional support and maintenance to them.
That means they escalated issues to our help desk, and we would either solve them remotely or send someone out on-site if required. Recently, both of those IT staff resigned and that gave management pause to think about how they might restructure their IT support.
So being a trusted advisor, they came to us and asked for our advice. We gave them three options:
- Move to purely internal IT ream,
- A mix of internal and outsource (which is what they've previously had) or
- Outsource their IT strategy and support completely.
So, we went through those three options with them.
Purely internal support
So the obvious benefits are that your IT staff is 100% dedicated to your business. They could be working from the office or working from home, as we do these days, they're dedicated to your business. The problem with that is, with a company that size and two IT staff, there isn't much redundancy if someone's sick or when someone's on leave. It's also more expensive for the business to have your IT completely insourced. So for this business, and insourced model doesn’t make much sense.
Another thing to consider is a completely outsourced model means you're not going to have onsite support for your head office or for your staff, which can be to the detriment of smaller issues. You know the ones, the annoying ones where the staff member might not want to log a ticket for but it does actually affect their productivity. Having someone onsite helps with removing those issues which is great for your team.
A mix of internal and outsourced IT
The second option, which is the mix of internal and outsourced IT, seemed to work well for them. Staff were able to have walk up to IT support, and request help when needed. This is good for your staff as you get to bypass the industry standard of a four hour response time.
There's someone who is always there to help, at your head office anyway. If there’s anything that can't be solved by your internal support team, they have a method of escalation to the outsourced IT provider. They can then log a ticket and then have that ticket resolved externally, which seems to work well for them. This also gave the internal team coverage when someone was on leave or otherwise occupied.
Purely outsourced IT
The final option is the outsourcing model. So no internal IT staff at all, and everything is outsourced. So the obvious benefit of that is the cost-saving. Outsourcing your IT as opposed to having salaried staff is much cheaper. Another benefit is, the knowledge of your IT operation is spread across more than two individuals.
Outsourced IT departments generally have more rigorous documentation procedures and time logging procedures so you can see what you're spending your money on every month. Documentation is important to an IT provider because, in order to keep internal costs down, they want their staff to work as efficiently as possible.
One thing to consider is you don't have that specialist who is 100% allocated to understand your business sitting there in the organisation. Then again, if that person leaves, they may leave with all that knowledge and that is to the detriment of your business.
So they were the options as we saw it. We spoke to our client about these options. They really like the idea of the purely outsourced IT model. Their biggest concern was not having that onsite person to assist with queries. So what we’ve done is come to an agreement with them where we have one of our staff onsite support between nine to five, Monday to Friday.
We are on a 2-month trial where we roster on some of our staff to rotate through to see how that works for their organisation. It's been a couple of weeks now, and so far so good. So they really have, at this stage, the best of both worlds where they don't miss out on onsite support but are able to save money by going with that outsourced model.
Is this right for your organisation? Well, it really depends. We can see the benefit in any of those three, but you just need to make sure it works for your business. Are you dealing with any questions on your IT model? Feel free to reach out and we can discuss what options make sense for your business.