I often get asked why a company would want to outsource their IT. In some cases, there is no compelling reason to do so, especially in situations where the techs are highly specialized with very specific skills that are needed. In most cases, however, especially as it pertains to desktop support, techs are a dime a dozen and they are not all created equal. The saying “Qualified doesn’t equal Experienced” comes to mind.
Sadly, just about anyone with a little bit of computer experience can be an IT tech. Most techs gain their experience by working on the job and learning as they go. I’m certainly not knocking this approach, as I believe this is the fundamental way of learning any new skills, and eventually these techs may become very competent. However, I’m not keen on the idea of someone “learning as the go” while working on my most critical devices. What guarantees do I have that they can fix my problem, or better yet, not make it worse?
The problem a lot of small businesses have is relying on just one technician to support a wide gamut of devices and applications. Well, what would happen when that person goes on vacation, gets sick, or decides that they no longer enjoy the job and quits? No matter who does your IT, you need to make sure that you find a company that is going to be able to fill the role(s) of your previous personnel. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
1. Ask if the techs are fully capable of providing support for all the devices in the office, and what certifications/qualifications they have. For example, most techs know how to support a Microsoft Windows platform, but not all are capable of providing support for a Mac or Linux based system.
2. Provide a list of nonproprietary applications most commonly used in the office and ask if they can be supported.
3. Ask if phones – especially Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones are supported.
4. If your company requires after-hour, weekend, or holiday support, ask if they cover the time frames in question, and what costs are associated if they do.
5. Will support be remote, onsite or both?
6. One of the most important questions to ask is regarding availability. How quickly can a tech be available to look into the issue?
What are the benefits of IT Outsourcing? As long as you are outsourcing your IT to a reputable company that specializes in the areas that you require, there is a lot to benefit from.
1. Having a team of seasoned IT professionals that can support your infrastructure year round.
2. Having a broader area of knowledge and expertise.
3. Cost saving for not having to pay for full time staff, or train personnel to keep them up to date on new and emerging technologies or certifications.
4. On demand support that is available around the clock.
5. Increase of efficiency and competitiveness.
6. Being able to focus on your core business.
Outsourcing your IT may or may not be cheaper up front, but generally it is far more cost effective in the long run, and knowing that you have your support needs covered without having to worry about a tech being absent due to an illness or vacation is a huge plus.
By: Tim Sweatman