There are two words an IT support person can say that will strike fear in the heart of any employer:
Recruiting qualified IT help is a huge challenge for businesses, especially here in Vermont, where the supply of skilled help can be somewhat thin. So, what can you do when your IT person leaves the job for a better opportunity, or retires?
You can start posting “Help Wanted” ads, of course, or you could consider other options. Many businesses are now outsourcing their IT to a managed IT services provider rather than hiring within.
Your path for IT support will ultimately be specific to your company’s needs, but before you make a decision, here are three considerations you’ll want to explore about the advantages and disadvantages of insourcing vs outsourcing.
Do You Need an IT Support Person Next to You?
One of the biggest advantages of insourcing IT is employee availability. Having an IT person physically present in the office increases the likelihood he or she will be available the instant you need help.
When outsourcing IT, technology problems are resolved by submitting a service ticket to the remote IT staff, who then connects with you to resolve the issue. While this isn’t the same as walking to a person down the hall, it will solve your problem with the same efficiency. In most cases, it takes 30 seconds to submit a ticket to your MSP, alerting them to your problem.
While having an in-house person can definitely be an advantage, there’s an empty chair if that person gets sick or goes on vacation. An MSP never gets sick, takes vacations, or sleeps. They provide 24-hour support, 365 days a year.
Do You Need Just One Specialist?
Another advantage of having a full-time, in-house employee is they become specialized in your business and/or vertical because they are operating in the industry every day, dealing with your company’s specific needs and challenges.
The downside is in-house employees usually get overwhelmed with juggling so many different tasks, leaving little time to look at the bigger picture and make system-wide improvements. Their focus is on resolving the day’s most pressing issues and going home for the night.
In some cases, they may even lack motivation for fixing everything. If there are no issues to resolve tomorrow, they may worry about losing their job down the road.
IT people either grow professionally and want higher pay, more training, and greater responsibility, or they become stagnant. At some point an employee may become hard to retain due to their career ambitions, or hard to manage, because nobody is there to push them to the next level. The latter will not be familiar with the latest updates, and replacing stuff only when it breaks.
As a result, when an MSP takes over the job, we usually end up inheriting a network that’s pretty out of date and requires a lot of effort and money to get your systems current.
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Another downside of insourcing is that your IT staff usually doesn’t have experience in project management and strategic planning. When you hire an MSP, you get a full team from one vendor, including a CIO, a solutions manager, an account manager, a technical support team, a security technician, and an implementation specialist. The MSP has access to all tools needed to solve your problems, and even to different vendors and providers that can be leveraged to assist your business as needed.
They will also attend regular meetings with your decision makers and team leaders, create strategic plans, and review your service tickets. When you outsource IT, you won’t need to do more hiring, because the training and transitioning of people who provide your service is covered. At VTC TECH, if the team changes over time, all the knowledge and procedures are documented in an industry-grade support system, so each new team member can easily catch up. This ensures that institutional knowledge about your company’s needs and history remains intact.
What Are the Costs of Insourcing
vs. Outsourcing IT?
With an MSP , you have a fixed, predictable cost for IT support and services. This amount is estimated based on the number of services that are outsourced to the MSP. When comparing the costs of outsourcing versus insourcing, don’t forget to include additional costs for full-time employees. These may include vacations, sick leave, training, rehiring, and even paying for additional IT support when a current employee doesn’t possess the skills necessary to solve your problem.
Additionally, to do enterprise-level management, you need enterprise management tools, which are usually expensive. Business owners typically can’t afford to splurge on these resources for a single employee. In this case, the in-house employee is basically just a consumer that doesn’t have access to the benefits and possible discounts that an MSP has.
As an MSP, we may be biased about the benefits of outsourcing tech support, but we are also honest. This option is not for every business out there. Some businesses are only looking for a break-fix technician they can have coffee with in the morning, and shout down the hall to when the copier goes down. If you are looking for more stability and vision for your infrastructure, however, managed services and IT support in Essex might be the right fit for you. And you’ll never hear the words “I quit” from IT again.