Having the right IT support company available to you can not only ensure you as a business are able to work if IT issues occur, but they should also help your business expand as they can configure systems to ensure you are working as effectively as possible and promote enabling technologies. This article will discuss the two types of IT support models and explain the benefits of each to help you decide on which suits your company best.
Difference between in-house and outsourced IT
Before you as a business decide what sort of IT support is right for you, you should first understand the difference between the two. The in-house IT support model implies exactly that – your IT department is part of your company. This means you have full control over how it is run and who should be hired. An outsourced IT company, however, is a separate entity and merely offers IT support as a service to you - along with other companies they are likely to support. Whilst both types of IT support provisions sound quite different, they (should) still offer the same sort of service to you, but just operate and are managed in a different way.
In-house IT vs outsourced
It is constantly debated which IT support model is best. Each has their own merits so it is impossible to say for sure which one is best as it depends on how a company operates as one may be better suited to your business model and needs – and preferred management style.
Therefore, we have compiled a list of pros for each to help you decide which type of IT support is best for you.
Benefits of in-house IT:
- Face-to-face – Having your IT in-house often means they are literally in the same office as you. This means you could potentially approach someone face-to-face and discuss a problem that way
- Custom built applications – If your company has a custom application developed in-house, then it is going to be easier to train any new employees (and users) on how it works if the knowledge to support it is part of your organisation. It could be more difficult to get an outsourced IT company to understand both the application and the company’s needs, especially given you have no guarantee that you will be dealing with the same personnel between support calls
- Limit access to data – Having the IT resource as a member of your organisation means you know exactly who has had access to your data and sensitive information. Reducing the scope of those who have handled your data helps secure it.
- More control – As your company evolves, so does your IT. As the IT Department is part of your company’s business model, any growth or expansion your company experiences means you have the control to increase or improve IT resources tailored to the demands of the business as part of your business planning. This means you should always receive the same level of IT support no matter how big or small you are, and determine your own service levels.
- Communication – Communication can potentially be better between both user and IT support colleagues themselves. As the IT department is normally based in the same office as the users, users can not only approach the IT technician for assistance, but they themselves should be able to communicate more effectively if need to pass on a ticket to a colleague.
Benefits of outsourced IT:
- Breadth of experience – An outsourced IT company will not only know how your company operates; it will have a breadth of knowledge extending to all the different systems their other clients are using. This will give them a larger knowledge pool, which will help in administrating current and new systems and make recommendations based on their understanding of your needs
- Greater flexibility – Outsourced IT companies can often offer far greater flexibility, in many ways. Firstly, as IT isn’t part of the company itself, the support agreement contract can be tailor made to suit your needs; including agreeing to a fixed cost for a particular project, or providing unlimited user support for up to a certain amount of hours a month
- Cost – Hiring in-house IT employees means there are fixed overheads. However, in a world where IT is constantly changing, the demands of the company also need to change with it so having an outsourced IT company and being able to alter the contract depending on the evolving needs of the business, and can shrink-wrap IT expenditure in a way you cannot with the inflexibility of hiring internal staff
- Reliability – As per the Service Level Agreement (SLA), external IT companies offer support around the clock and are able to cope better with absences and holidays, and its often significantly easier to hold an external party to account when things aren’t as they should be
- Remote support – As outsourced companies are not based in the same office as the client, most support and troubleshooting is conducted remotely using tools such as Teamviewer that are simple to run and do not intrude or disturb users as much as someone in-house leaning over your keyboard to fix an issue
- Proactive – Rather than having support that just exists to fix something on the fly, as outsourced IT companies naturally have multiple clients, they will therefore use systems to monitor each company’s infrastructure, such as PRTG, and can therefore pre-empt and tackle an issue before it affects a user.
- Quick response/resolution times – As in-house IT teams are often quite small (as they are supporting only one company), response and resolution times can be long as they may have a long list of tickets to get through. External IT companies are often better resourced and more adept at juggling tickets and responding to them quickly and work to guaranteed response times as part of a Service Level Agreement
- More motivated – Outsourced companies are often far more motivated as they can’t take for granted their clients as they aren’t part of the company. Whereas in-house IT are likely to not be as stimulated if they feel their job is secure, an external company should be all too aware that contract renewals are not guaranteed, and are often evaluated based upon historical performance
There are clearly benefits to both in-house and outsourced IT companies, and it is true that no one-size fits all. In some cases, a hybrid solution can also work well, with an internal team being supported by a team of experts in areas where they may lack the depth of experience required or during projects and busy periods.
Whatever the size and shape of solution, there are a number of good general practices to follow should you decide to evaluate using an external provider from how to start your search, how to have an insiders view of the important issues, knowing the right questions to ask and knowing what’s important when deciding.
If you have any other questions regarding the above, please get in touch.