Getting the Right IT Support for Your Small Business
By: Ian Hansen, Philantech3, guest blogger for ActionCOACH Northwest
In 2020, nearly every company must now rely on technology on a daily basis. For most companies, the role of IT support will only grow in the future, making it even more important for all companies to have the tech support they need at all times.
The Signs – When Outside Help is Needed
Depending on your company’s situation, you may hire employees to handle IT in-house, or you can “outsource” IT to a third-party provider. The information below can help you determine if it’s time for your business to consider additional help with your technology.
You may already have an in-house IT support solution that is working for you. If you find, however, that you’re experiencing technology headaches with your current structure, it may benefit you to start looking around.
Here are the top 5 signs when you may benefit from looking from outside IT assistance:
- Poor IT support response time
- Unknown or unpredictable IT costs
- Disruptions to your business, including data loss
- Massive amounts of your and other employees’ time being consumed in the IT support process
- Wondering if your network is secure and if you have been hacked
In-House or Outsourced IT?
If you are running a successful technology department with in-house team members, next you may want to determine if you can scale your business with the present arrangement. If you are unsure, then it may be useful to explore an outsourced solution. Deciding whether to outsource IT to a third-party provider can be a challenge for any company and there are many factors to consider. If you aren’t sure whether outsourcing IT is right for your company, simply compare your options and weigh the pros and cons. Remember to evaluate the potential for cost savings, as well as the impact on your day-to-day operations. It’s also a good idea to learn about the services available to you so you will know what you should expect if you choose to outsource.
If you decide to seriously explore outsourcing, it is important to consider multiple providers before making a final selection. Choosing the right IT provider can make all the difference in the success of your company. Remember that the cost of outsourced services is not the most important factor—making sure that you are receiving reliable, high-quality services that address the 5 points above, is essential. Interview each of the providers you are considering and ask them about the services they provide, the fees they charge and the customer support they offer. You should also read reviews from past customers to find out how others have felt about the services they received from the provider in question.
Considerations of Outsourcing IT
Before you can decide whether outsourcing is right for you, you must first understand the reasons you might choose this path. Below are some of the potential benefits and drawbacks:
Fewer headaches – When you outsource IT properly, you no longer have to worry about maintenance, upgrades, repairs or any other technological problems.
Fewer expenses – Outsourcing IT may be cost-effective, as you won’t have to pay for full-time employees to handle IT and costs can be a fixed-fee, predictable amount.
Scalability – Outsourced IT services can be scaled up or down to meet your needs as your company evolves.
No interruptions – When IT is outsourced and properly functioning, you won’t need to deal with downtime or other workflow interruptions related to IT issues.
Better use of in-house resources – Many businesses delegate IT responsibilities to existing employees when they can’t afford to hire full time IT personnel. With outsourcing, you will no longer need to split your employees’ focus in this way.
Although outsourcing IT offers several benefits, there may be downsides as well. For example, you might not have as much control over your operations as you would have if you kept IT in-house. In addition, if your provider is in a different time zone or has a heavy workload, communication can be problematic. Finally, if your business is very small, outsourcing may be too expensive.
A Solid Decision
With due diligence, you can find the right arrangement for your business technology needs. Partnering with an outsourced provider can give you an advantage that allows your business to scale and for you and your team to focus on their primary tasks. In the end, the decision you make should result in an overall increase in your company’s stability and productivity.