Looking at this question in two parts, here we’ll be firstly looking at the pros and cons of opting for outsourced IT support.
The Popularity Of Outsourced IT Support
A considerable number of businesses in the UK now use outsourced IT support, as outsourcing has become a popular way for businesses to access specialised expertise and reduce costs. For example, in 2021, a widely reported survey (Tony Blair Institute for Global Change) showed that two-thirds of UK firms were planning to outsource the same or more of their IT services within the next two years, with the manufacturing (59 per cent) and financial services (46 per cent) sectors looking to outsource the most.
Why? – The Benefits
Some of the key benefits for businesses of outsourcing their IT support include:
- Cost Savings:
Outsourcing IT support / opting for managed IT services can be a much more cost-effective route than having to hire and manage an in-house IT team, especially for small businesses that may not have the resources to support a full-time IT staff.
- On-demand expertise:
IT support companies have a team of highly skilled IT professionals who can provide a range of IT services, including troubleshooting, network management, security, help with planning and more. Having on-demand expertise from specialists with up-to date knowledge can add value, save time, minimise disruption, help maintain business continuity, and help steer a business away from costly errors and can create new opportunities.
- Scalability and flexibility:
Businesses can scale up or down their IT support needs as needed, depending on their current needs and budget. This can be especially useful for businesses that experience seasonal fluctuations in demand. Outsourcing IT can, therefore, help save costs and help with competitiveness. Outsourced IT support can be more flexible than an in-house IT team, as businesses can choose the level of support they need and can adjust their service levels as needed.
- Keeping a focus on core business:
By outsourcing IT support, it frees-up more time and resources so that the businesses can focus on its core competencies and leave the management of the IT infrastructure to the experts.
In the interests of providing balance to this article, some of the possible drawbacks that businesses may want to consider before opting for outsourced IT support / managed IT services / and outsourced IT helpdesk could, for example, include:
- Control issues:
It’s tempting to think that when you outsource IT support, you may have less control over the service you receive, as you are relying on an external company to provide those services.
- Possible communication issues:
There may be communication barriers and difficulties coordinating with an outsourced IT support team, especially if they are located in a different time zone.
- Security concerns:
There may be security concerns when outsourcing IT support, as you are entrusting sensitive data to an external company. However, with IT security being part of their expertise, outsourced IT support companies take steps such as adhering to industry-standard security practices, e.g. ISO 27001, to protect customer date, use secure communication channels to communicate with customers, offer security guarantees, implement strict access controls (e.g. multi-factor authentication), and much more to maximise security.
Some businesses worry that they may become dependent on the outsourced IT support provider, which can be risky if the relationship is terminated or the provider experiences difficulties or could be costly if prices go up.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Outsourcing IT support has become a popular choice for businesses in the UK due to the cost savings, on-demand expertise, scalability, and flexibility it offers, all very valuable benefits to growing businesses in today’s fast moving, inter-connected, highly competitive digital word.
While there may be some potential drawbacks to consider, such as control issues and security concerns, these can be addressed through careful planning and the use of reputable IT support companies that follow industry-standard security practices.
Overall, outsourcing IT support can allow businesses to focus on their core competencies and access specialised on-demand expertise, while still maintaining a competitive edge and minimising costs.
By Mike Knight