When is it time to outsource IT to an external service provider?
Most small business owners handle all aspects of their businesses, including acting as the Information Technology department. This will work for as long as you remain a small business without employees. When you grow and start hiring staff, will it make more sense to use your business-building time on handling IT issues or outsource to an external IT Service Provider?
Unless you are an Information Technology Service Provider yourself, chances are your time will be much better spent marketing your products and/or services, establishing relationships with your clients, providing exceptional customer service and just otherwise growing your business – so why not outsource to an external IT Service Provider?
How do you know when it’s time to get IT help? If the information technology demands are affecting your day and negatively impacting your actual business related activities – then it’s already beyond the point to consider finding an IT resource. If you start adding new employees and computers, it’s probably a good time to look into adding IT help, as well.
Should You Hire Internal IT Staff or Outsource to an External IT Service Provider?
When you make the decision to find an IT resource, your first decision will be whether you need to hire one or more staff to fulfill the role, or if you’re going to outsource IT services. Having dedicated IT staff means they are 100% committed to your business. They’re not splitting their time among numerous clients the way a contracted company might. One of the benefits of having an IT department is that the staff develops a strong understanding of your unique business needs and should be in a good position to manage your short and long term IT requirements. With your own IT staff on payroll, you know you’ve always got someone available (unless they’re out sick or on vacation!) should an emergency or urgent situation present itself.
The primary disadvantage of hiring IT staff is that you’ll be paying for their benefits, their training, and a variety of other costs associated with hiring a new employee. Not to mention, you have to pay them the agreed upon salary regardless of how much IT work you end up having, which means you may be overpaying based on workload!
There are a variety of advantages of outsourcing to an external IT service provider over hiring staff. You can choose to outsource your information technology needs to a flat rate IT service provider and reduce your monthly and overall costs. Having a virtual IT department lets you focus more on running your business rather than the technology that supports it. You aren’t stuck paying employee benefits or other employee costs, and you aren’t responsible for making sure the IT team remains up to date with their training and knowledge.
In the almost 30 years we’ve been working with small and medium businesses, we have generally seen the following rules of thumb play out: Unless you’re very good with all aspects of computing, then having an IT support company is going to be necessary no matter how small you are. Even a single person company is going to need help sometime. Having an outsourced IT department (letting a vendor handle all your IT needs) is going to cheaper and more efficient all the way to somewhere between 50 and 75 desktops (meaning computer users). Somewhere right around that number, it is probably going to make sense to bring on a full-time staff IT employee to handle a lot of the day to day issues that occur with your users, but you’re still going to need to an IT support company to provide additional assistance in the form of labor fill and advanced topics. By the time a business grows to around 100 desktops or so, the need and costs will flip and it will start making sense to have multiple IT employees on staff handling all your IT needs. At this point, you’ll probably only require outsourced IT for special projects involving new or advanced technologies, or for some specialty services (cloud services, business continuity, etc.)
The Bottom Line
Finding the right information technology help for a growing business needs is challenging. When you think strategically about your business’ unique IT requirements, you can make sound decisions that further promote its growth and profitability.
Click here to learn how WJP Enterprises, Inc. can help you with your IT outsourcing needs. The first step is to schedule a meeting to go over our Technology Consulting Services for your business in Brandon, Plant City, and the rest of Hillsborough and Polk counties with you.