More and more companies across all sectors are making the switch from physical to digital. Businesses in every field have become dependent on digital technology for tasks as wide-ranging as project management, team meetings, and remote file storage in the cloud. With so many businesses undergoing digital transformations, IT has become an even more essential component of running a successful business.
From small independent businesses to huge multinational corporations, maintaining a helpful IT presence is key to daily business upkeep. Not all businesses have access to the same resources, however. Hiring and keeping on staff an in-house team of IT experts is costly and can be time-consuming. Instead, savvy business owners are outsourcing their IT needs. By outsourcing their company’s IT services, businesses can benefit from top-level IT expertise at a fraction of the cost.
There are many options available when it comes to outsourcing IT needs for your business. In this article, we will take a look at why outsourcing the IT department is a good idea for your business. Then we will review popular methods for outsourcing and explore the best IT outsourcing strategy for your business. Finally, we will share resources to help you choose the best IT service provider for your business and manage a successful ongoing outsourcing interaction.
By outsourcing your IT services, you gain several benefits. Since hiring, training, and maintaining your own in-house company IT expert, or even a team of experts, can be expensive, outsourcing will allow you to cut down on costs. At the same time, you will be gaining access to IT experts with advanced level IT knowledge, specialized skills, and ample experience in the field.
While an in-house IT team requires a regular salary even when there are no challenges to address, outsourcing allows you to customize your level of interaction with your IT experts. You can choose to invest in regular assistance or hire experts for a single project. For example, you can expect to pay at least $60 an hour for an experienced freelance backend developer who can enhance your company’s IT infrastructure. Your company’s relationship with the outsourced IT experts can be scaled up or down depending on your needs at any given time.
Working with qualified IT experts can also boost the efficiency and security of your company’s systems. Since dedicated IT experts are trained in the latest cutting-edge technological updates, you can benefit from their contemporary expertise directly, without waiting for your in-house IT person to undergo training that will allow them to keep up with changing trends and technological specifications. Professional IT outsourcing providers normally utilize strong cybersecurity software and practices, so they can ensure that your data will remain secure. You will also save costs on purchasing or hiring new digital equipment, which can be expensive.
There are several different strategies you can use when considering how to outsource your company’s IT services. Companies tend to outsource particular types of IT functions, and it can be useful to consider what to request in advance as you develop your outsourcing strategy.
IT outsourcing providers can assist with shoring up cybersecurity, developing and testing applications, managing and developing Internet of Things functions, managing data centers, developing and maintaining critical infrastructures, and testing QA. You can also outsource AI and machine learning development tasks, and hire an IT consultant to advise on the growth and direction of your IT development.
Not all IT outsourcing providers can offer expertise in each of these fields, so you will want to look for an IT professional whose expertise matches your company’s needs. Some experts can be brought on for a project-by-project basis, while others are a better fit for ongoing troubleshooting and maintenance.
Businesses can choose from among different popular approaches to IT outsourcing, finding the strategy that best caters to their needs. You will need to choose whether you want to hire a dedicated team to address and oversee specific processes, extend the in-house team you already have by hiring experts with particular skills, or employ professionals on a project-by-project basis only. You will also need to consider whether you prefer to hire onshore or offshore IT employees, as the geographical location of your outsourcing provider will affect your options.
Let’s take a look at some key outsourcing strategies you can utilize when planning for your outsourcing needs.
If you need to hire an IT expert or team who can address all of your company’s IT needs, then you will want to employ a “full outsourcing” strategy. With this approach, all of your IT requirements are fulfilled, from expert guidance and strategy and product development to infrastructure deployment and ongoing maintenance.
If you are planning to develop a new IT infrastructure, you may want to consider complete outsourcing. Rather than invest in costly new equipment to keep your infrastructure up to date in years to come, you can rely on your outsourced experts to provide the necessary equipment and guidance. This is an important tip to remember for future proofing your IT infrastructure.
This type of outsourcing is called “project-based outsourcing”, as it usually involves hiring an expert specifically for one project, such as software or website development, digital transformation, or data migration. Once the project has been achieved, the professional arrangement is also complete. There are a few variations on this strategy, including:
If your company is ready to develop a new product for sale with your specific brand identity, you may need a service provider who can offer every type of resource and solution to work with this new product. This is manufacturer outsourcing, a one-stop shop type of outsourcing for a specific product.
Professional outsourcing allows you to fill in the skills gap in your company as you develop new software, mobile applications, or a more sophisticated online presence. This type of outsourcing is useful when you need a professional with a higher level of expertise in a specific area, who can make up for the skills otherwise lacking in your in-house team. It is a supplemental approach to outsourcing that augments the staff you already have.
With process-specific outsourcing, you can hire a software development company to help you maintain a particular process. This can be different from other forms of project-based outsourcing, as it is typically an ongoing process, rather than a simple project limited to the development and implementation phases.
With the multi-sourcing approach, you can outsource not only IT tasks and services but other types of tasks and services necessary for your business. This approach is helpful when you want to employ an external IT team who can manage and oversee not just the development of specific IT infrastructure, but also maintain your servers, manage your networks, and provide customer service and help desk support.
Managed services outsourcing can therefore include public-facing positions, unlike other forms of outsourcing that focus more exclusively on back-end development.
As you prepare to choose the IT outsourcing strategy that works best for your company, you will want to establish a clear set of goals. Define your intended outcomes and then clarify what types of IT services you need, which skills will be required to achieve your goals, and how much or little you will need to outsource. If your goal is to cut costs, then make that a priority when considering candidates. If the goal is to improve efficiency, then that principle will help guide your choices.
Automation can be an important ally when approaching IT outsourcing providers. Routine tasks can be automated to help reduce overall costs and boost efficiency. The IT industry comprises over 21% of the machine learning market share due to the high level of consistency and efficiency automation can provide for IT experts.
Make sure you have a good understanding of where the skills gaps in your company lie, as this will allow you to make more informed choices when approaching external IT professionals. Keep in mind your company culture. Consider how well your employees will be able to collaborate with different IT service providers. Maintain clear channels of communication to ensure that your outsourcing provider works seamlessly within the preexisting structure of your company.
Craft a contract that clearly defines the tasks and expected outcomes, payment plan, and responsibilities of both parties. This service level agreement, or SLA, will ensure a smooth working relationship with your outsourced IT service provider. Professional duties and boundaries should be agreed upon in advance so that both parties feel secure under the terms of the agreement.
Outsourcing your company’s IT needs can provide a more secure, efficient, and cost-effective way of working for companies at all levels. You can benefit from the most cutting-edge skills and technical know-how when it comes to IT infrastructure, app and software development, and ongoing troubleshooting without the cost and hassle of maintaining an in-house IT team.
Consider whether you would prefer an ongoing working relationship with your outsourced IT experts or whether it would best suit your company to hire professionals for one particular project. Look for experts who have the skills necessary to complete your intended goals. Your outsourced IT service provider should help you meet your outcomes, whether those are cutting costs, improving efficiency, or filling in skills gaps within your team.
Provide clear communication and agree on a contract before you engage with your outsourced IT service provider. Try to find an IT professional who can work well with your company, keeping company culture and existing technology in mind. Use automation where possible to cut back on routine tasks.
And make sure you hire an IT service provider with top-level cybersecurity measures who can keep your data secure. By following good practices and establishing clear goals and communication channels, you can benefit from IT expertise while cutting costs. This can help your business stay on top of the rapidly evolving digital transformations, and give your company a valuable competitive edge.
K&C is a Munich-based IT outsourcing services provider with a track record that goes back almost a quarter of a century. We’ve had contracts with some of Europe’s best known corporations for almost as long as that and would love you to be the next client relationship that lasts for years!