IT outsourcing can help SMEs reduce IT costs while enjoying the freedom to access new technologies.
It is likely that you currently have core IT operations that could really benefit from being managed by a third party service provider – either onsite or offsite, depending on what is the best arrangement for you.
Why outsource your IT?
There are many reasons why a business might choose to outsource part or all of its IT operations. These can include cost savings, particularly from owning and managing an IT network and employing an IT team to carry out the work.
There are other reasons besides cost – IT may not be the core activity of your business, so outsourcing can relieve the pressure and allow you to focus on your core competencies. Outsourcing can provide you with access to the latest industry technologies and processors creating better operational efficiencies. It can also improve your speed to market for new products and services.
Service quality can also be improved through outsourcing specific operations such as customer service and payroll etc. for example.
Which IT operations are usually outsourced?
All IT activities can now be run as outsourced services, including the development and implementation of applications and IT systems themselves.
Many non-core IT activities, which businesses have traditionally provided internally, are now available as outsourced services. These include IT service desk and support, IT maintenance, security, backup and recovery and even the running of core business applications such as Microsoft 365.
How do I outsource my IT?
Once you have decided which department or operations you would like to outsource and made the business case for it, the next step is to find an outsourcing partner who matches your requirement.
From a financial point of view, it is advisable to understand your existing IT estate and its cost base in enough detail to enable us to evaluate the most cost effective solution for you.
Should I look for an offshore provider or stay UK based?
Overseas service providers may be able to offer good rates but there are many considerations involved in choosing to outsource your services abroad.
For example, will the overseas provider be subject to the same legislation as any UK based provider? For example, in relation to legal or data protection?
Who will audit the off-shore services, and correct any problems? Also, will the overseas provider have a sufficient degree of familiarity with the language and expectations of your customers? These points must be considered very carefully.
Ensuring that you get the most out of your outsourcing relationship means you will need to have regular meetings with your service provider, and measure their performance. This level of monitoring will be highly challenging with an overseas provider.
Is Software as a Service (SaaS) the same as IT outsourcing?
Software as a Service (SaaS) or web-based software is not necessarily the same as IT outsourcing, however it does have similar principals.
A service provider will manage and maintain a business application for you, offering you access to it over a network and backing up any information that is generated from your usage.
You will be billed accordingly for the services you use, and there will be an agreement between you and the service provider that governs your usage and their responsibilities to you. The sorts of IT operations that can be provided as on-demand SaaS services include email, accounting, human resources etc.
If you have any further questions about IT outsourcing for SMEs, please get in touch. Our team are happy to have an informal chat about your requirements and explore different options.