You likely went into business not to perform your own IT support. No, you're there to run your business, but your company's data and IT infrastructure are far too valuable to trust to just anyone. Even an hour of downtime comes with tremendous cost.
Additionally, when your systems are made more efficient and easy to use, the whole company sees increased productivity and earnings. It becomes easier for you to do what you do best, run your company.
What is Outsourced IT Support?
The simplest definition of outsourced IT support is a service that makes your life easier and your company more profitable.
Technically, outsourced IT support is an inexpensive investment in IT leaders that:
- Reduces risk
- Improves efficiency
- Improves revenue
They do so by:
- Protecting data
- Optimizing IT infrastructure performance
- Leveraging the full benefits of your IT capabilities
- Tailoring systems to departments and users
An outsourced IT support professional does this by first developing a solid understanding of the business operations and its needs. Subsequently, the IT professional learns the system's design and business needs to maximize the organization's benefits.
What Benefits Does Outsourced IT Support Provide?
Outsourced IT support comes with many benefits that come together and are reflected in one number, the bottom line on your income statement due to business savings and improved revenue.
Savings and predictable budgeting
A full-time IT specialist isn't always necessary, especially for small and medium-sized companies, and can be an unnecessary expense. Establishing a monthly budget that fits your company's needs means operating costs savings and a predictable monthly payment.
Outsourcing also eliminates the costs associated with full-time employee benefits and availability variability.
Professional expertise and reliability
Your outsourced support professionals have the expertise that comes from working with clients across industries, meaning an expert perspective with diverse solutions instead of potential internal myopia.
Knowing what has worked very well for others, coupled with knowing your internal processes, results in the best solutions and guidance.
An outsourced solution also means 24/7 support. There are no set hours for these IT professionals.
Reduced risk of downtime or cyberattacks
Constant remote monitoring by a managed service provider means that responses to cyber-attacks and security risks are immediate, while ongoing employee training results in prepared employees that know what to do in such events. That same training helps prevent employee behaviors that can open the door to hackers by helping employees understand the importance of password management or how to detect phishing attempts.
More time to focus on your business
You're best providing for the direction and management needs of your small business. Your unique business began because you could offer a service or a product and do it better than others. No business began because an owner decided they wanted to be on the lookout for cyber attacks and be their own IT service provider handling network monitoring.
Utilize your valuable time doing what you do best, managing your core business, and leave the IT to the pros. You get better results and aren't losing the hundreds of dollars an hour that your time is worth when maximizing the entire company's results.
Access to professional expertise
An outsourced IT service provider isn't just people who bury their heads in router cables and software installations; they also answer questions, train employees, provide desk services, and continually seek to understand your organization's changes.
You have access to tech support experts for assistance with questions whenever needed. Those quickly answered questions result in quick solutions.
Improve employee performance
Systems tailored to the needs of employees and departments mean utilizing the full functionality of your IT solution, resulting in tremendous efficiency gains. An employee that might have repeatedly been performing a single task gains valuable time when shown how a system can perform bulk actions.
Often automation is part of your software solutions and not leveraged to carry out minor tasks that allow employees to focus on higher-value aspects of their jobs. Putting that automation into place gives employees time and reduces the mistakes that often happen in minor and repetitive tasks.
Keep technology up-to-date
Technology's functionality and benefits are constantly increasing, but companies not focused on keeping up with the changes and enhanced functionality miss out on the benefits. It's much easier to keep doing things as always if there isn't a professional looking out for new changes and helping implement them.
Having an IT support professional to keep the business up-to-date with software and infrastructure maintenance means the company's performance grows in lockstep with its technology improvements.
Reduce IT operational costs
Your infrastructure is expensive, and over or under-implementing can have tremendous organizational and monetary costs. It's essential to have a source that understands the actual value of systems and their ROI on your side to ensure your IT infrastructure matches your needs with their support services, not introducing unnecessary costs.
Maintain a competitive edge
Not only does the full implementation of your technology solutions result in internal efficiency gains and cost savings, but it puts you ahead of competitors. Your customers like it when you're utilizing tech solutions that make their lives easier.
Removing barriers to their interaction, scheduling, or outreach through tech solutions can be a tremendous competitive edge. Saving customers time, improving service, and reducing hassle result in return customers.
What Support Services Do Outsource IT Support Provide?
It can be shocking to know the total amount of services that an outsourced IT support company provides because most of us don't know the full extent of what goes into this essential component of top companies. Just some of the offerings include:
- Device and inventory management
- Network security and industry compliance
- Network management and server management
- Applications and cloud management
- Backup and disaster recovery
- Data monitoring and insights
- Telecommunications and phone systems
- Improved customer service systems
- Reliable technicians
- Employee on/off-boarding
- Real-time support
- Network monitoring
- Response planning
- Software updates and installation
- Hardware configuration
- Hardware swaps
- Managed services provider
- Technical support
This list could no doubt keep going, but you get the idea. Your business has a tremendous amount of IT needs to address to keep it running smoothly.
Cons of Outsourcing IT Services
Yes, anything with a long list of pros must have a few cons. Not every business need is the same, and there are times when outsourcing your IT support can have drawbacks over keeping an in-house IT department or dedicated support team.
Outsourced IT support responds immediately, but some companies might need the quickest response possible, which would come from a IT department. If the company is heavily tech-dependent and every minute counts, a full-time support staff that can confront the issue on-site and at any time could be necessary to reduce downtime.
While your outsourced IT support is a trusted partner, businesses handling sensitive information might have requirements for in-house IT with specific clearances. The conditions could be due to satisfying client needs, meeting insurance requirements, or just internal protocols for the protection of valuable intellectual property.
Not everyone outside of your company will be on the same page or able to understand the company objectives and inner workings. Outsourcing can sometimes produce outcomes that don't match your intent, and it's no different if the outsourced party is for marketing or IT support.
Outsourced services also mean competing for time with the services provider. You aren't their only client, resulting in limited flexibility for them. If your needs always need an answer right now, an in-house employee or team might be the way to go.
How Do I Get Started With Outsourced IT Support?
The first step is to call a qualified and expert company for an assessment of the business, its infrastructure, and needs. An IT support professional will interview, assess, and take a preliminary inventory and then craft a plan that best addresses the company's needs.
When starting to work with an outsourced IT support company, ask for references and take the time to call them. Look at reviews online and don't base an assessment on price but excellence. There's a lot at stake and tremendous earnings and efficiency gains ahead; look for experts that get results.
Outsourcing IT Support is an Excellent Option
For most small and medium-sized companies, outsourcing their IT support creates a huge benefit. They receive the expertise they need and a manageable monthly cost. The results of an experienced partner are much-increased efficiency, savings, improved customer service, and earnings growth.
Your company's IT is a crucial component of your operations and performance, and it can be an asset that provides you a marketplace advantage over others. But most importantly, when it comes down to just one number, excellent IT support always shows excellent results on the bottom line. A company not maximizing its IT infrastructure needs to start looking for an outsourced partner immediately.