IT support is a critical service for most businesses but it is also one that can be delivered both in-house, or as an outsourced service. There are a number of pros and cons for both options and when you are deciding the best option for your business, there are several factors that you will need to consider.
Out of all of the different functions within a business, IT support is one that is often outsourced because of the many benefits that can be leveraged by doing so. However, while outsourcing IT support services might work well for many businesses, you should review all of the different pros and cons when deciding if it is the right option for your specific business.
In this article, we look and the main factors to take into account when deciding whether to outsource your IT support.
The biggest benefit of outsourcing IT support is the cost savings that can be made by doing so. When you have an in-house IT support department, you have a long list of associated costs including paying salaries, pensions, recruitment costs, training and development costs, National Insurance contributions and any other costs such as bonuses. You also have the cost of running the premises and purchasing and maintaining equipment for your in-house IT support team.
Some businesses choose to outsource their IT support services to an offshore company based in a country such as India, where the service costs less, due to lower labour costs. There are also several problems related to doing this, such as communication issues and working across different time zones. So, you would need to take the location into account and whether you are prepared to sacrifice quality of service for the cost savings.
Using an IT support service that is based in the same country that you are operating in will still allow you to save significant costs, along with a wide range of other benefits that we discuss below.
As well as considering the difference in operational costs between the two different options, the benefit of having an internal IT team is that it is easier to monitor spending and manage your budget. When you use an external IT support service, unexpected costs can quickly build up, but the details in your contract should help to control costs.
Outsourcing to a specialist IT support company ensures that you have access to the highest level of IT knowledge and expertise. The teams are set up specifically to provide outsourced support and have already been doing this for a range of different businesses. They have effective systems in place that help to prioritise the right incidents and get urgent issues resolved quickly.
Due to their advanced level of expertise, outsourced IT support teams can identify and resolve issues faster, reducing downtime and ensuring system availability for more of the time.
Outsourced IT companies will pay for their own employees to develop their skills, so if a new type of software is launched or any other IT developments come to the forefront, you will not need to pay the huge training costs to upskill the internal IT department.
A specialist IT support company will keep up with the latest technology trends and will be able to make recommendations to make the most of digital opportunities that can improve your business.
Recruiting in-house IT professionals can be challenging as these roles are in high demand, with lots of businesses competing for skilled IT employees in the UK. Recruitment costs are completely removed when you outsource your IT support but the other big benefit is that the resources are readily available. This means that you do not have to spend time advertising jobs, reviewing applications, interviewing and conducting assessments, the IT expertise is already set up and available.
Filling a role when somebody leaves an in-house IT department can take a long time, and this can leave you understaffed and unable to deliver the same level of service until the role has been filled and the new employee is up to speed.
One of the disadvantages of outsourcing IT support is that you will not have the convenience of having them onsite. If there is an urgent IT problem, if it cannot be resolved remotely, you will have to wait for engineers to come out and resolve the problem, which could cause your business significant inconvenience.
When you have onsite IT support, issues that cannot be resolved remotely can quickly be investigated once the correct resource has been allocated. Also, some issues will need to be resolved by visiting the location of a fault and cannot be done remotely, so having instant in-house support for this can get these types of issues resolved faster.
However, this will not always be the case, as some problems require specific skills and knowledge that the in-house team might not have and therefore it could actually take longer for an issue to get resolved when there is an internal IT team.
Another factor to consider is the availability of the IT support, as outsourced companies will usually provide 24-hour support, while an in-house IT team may just work office hours or have a limited number of staff on call for emergencies. Having 24-hour support can also prevent your business from having outages, which can cause huge impact to your business.
The other benefit of outsourced IT is that you do not have to worry about key members of staff being off at the same time, as you will have access to a larger pool of IT experts. It also means that there should be support available throughout holiday periods where lots of staff usually take time off.
When you outsource your IT support, you do not have as much control of decisions as you would if the team was in-house. You will have service level agreements in place and incidents must be reported by raising a ticket that will be allocated to the relevant team to resolve.
If you have an urgent incident that you want to get fixed urgently, the wait can be longer when you outsource, as there are competing priorities. With an in-house team, managers can get issues escalated quickly as the business has full control of what gets prioritized.
Range of services
When you outsource IT services, you can choose which teams you need for your business. This typically involves a helpdesk, security, hardware and software engineers, infrastructure design and can also include IT projects and compliance. You can choose your bespoke IT support service to suit your business requirements.
Business and system knowledge
An in-house IT department has the understanding of how your business operates and if you have bespoke systems, they will be more familiar with your systems. If you choose to outsource your IT services, their IT knowledge will be more generic and they will not have used your bespoke systems or understand how they work.
This can lead to not being able to swiftly resolve system issues, or misunderstandings that take time to explain the details of the issue to the IT expert. However, most outsourced IT services will ensure that their employees quickly get an in-depth understanding of the bespoke systems, so that they can quickly resolve issues and fully understand requests.
The objectives for an in-house IT department should be aligned to the overall business objectives, which helps to get urgent work prioritised.
Overall, there are lots of pros and cons to both outsourced IT services and setting up an in-house IT team. Which option is the right one for your business will depend on factors such as the size of your company and how well your current IT support set up is working.
Opting for an outsourced IT service can deliver major benefits to your business, as long as you choose a company that you can trust to provide this critical service to your business. People working with overseas outsourced IT support sometimes find that the relationship does not work out as smoothly as they expected, so it is less of a risk to find a high-quality IT support solution that is based in the same country.
If your business is based in the UK, using a UK based IT support service can be very similar to having your own IT team, the main difference is that they are not based on the same premises. Many of the typical problems that arise with outsourcing to an overseas company do not apply when working with a UK based IT support service, especially as you build up a long-lasting working relationship.
It also makes it a lot easier if you require onsite support and companies based in the same country will also understand any impact related to being located in the UK, such as any regulations or network performance, for example.
Contrac IT provides a range of IT support services to businesses of all sizes. Contact us today to discuss your options and see how we can reduce your costs, while delivering expert IT support.