Making the right level of investment in IT support can be a tricky juggling act for SMEs.
Either you end up with too many resources and not enough work for your IT team. Or the opposite: insufficient resources, not enough team members and painfully slow response and resolution times that can impact the entire business.
IT performs two primary functions with most organisations. Strategic and therefore value added, where the work your team performs will generate long-term benefits. And at the same time, IT is immediate and necessary, a troubleshooting and business operational role, to ensure everyone has WiFi, email, access to systems and the network and other mission-critical services.
Security is interwoven in both roles, increasingly vital, considering the constant threat organisations of every size face from cybercriminals and malicious hackers.
Why is in-house IT support so expensive?
IT talent doesn’t come cheap.
Naturally, those with more experience can expect higher salaries. However, even those with only a year or more experience (recent graduates) can be tempted by higher salaries offered by venture-backed startups and big tech firms. Competition for talent in the IT market is fierce, making it harder to recruit people in-house for service desk analyst roles.
Talent competition is one reason for higher than expected IT costs. IT professionals also need resources. Software, hardware and other equipment and services necessary to deliver support services. Attempting to work out how much – human and software – support is needed isn’t easy. It partly depends on what technology your company uses to operate. Do you use legacy software and hardware or have you undergone a digital transformation recently?
Older tech often requires more specialist support, making it more expensive to operate. You could recruit great IT talent, only for them to run first and second line support services. On the other hand, if your organisation has recently updated your tech, you could have an over-staffed IT team with not enough to occupy their time. Especially if a digital transformation project involved the implementation of self-service and other cost-saving tools.
Other costs associated with an in-house IT team include management, tax/NI, insurance, pensions, holidays, absences and various associated fixed costs. Budgetary pressures across an organisation could also mean that IT can’t make strategic improvements that would save money in the long-run.
Another option: outsourcing IT support
Unlike strategic projects, first and second line support can be easily outsourced. How much IT support your business requires depends on the nature of the problems encountered on a weekly and monthly basis. Some issues may only appear sporadically, and with the right support, problems are proactively managed, so they don’t impact productivity anymore.
So why employ a team on a full-time basis to manage IT problems when they may only happen every so often? From a budgetary perspective, this doesn’t make much sense. Not when outsourcing support functions are far more cost-effective.
Consequently, this doesn’t mean you need to downsize your team. Instead, they can focus on long-term strategic projects that will save the company even more time and money, making everyone more productive whilst releasing budgetary pressures. Outsourcing IT service desk is the way forward. For long-term gains and to ensure your mission-critical services stay operational around the clock.