Why outsourcing IT can be a gamechanger for growing businesses
Small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) make up 99% of all organisations operating in Britain today. These growing businesses face many challenges, including managing limited time, money and resources. So, it’s no surprise that from accountancy firms to estate agencies, recruitment companies to marketing agencies, many small businesses are opting to outsource.
Seeking the support of specialist, external teams to help manage crucial business functions, can be a highly cost-efficient option and removes many of the costs and pressures associated with recruiting internally.
In the case of outsourcing IT services, it can mean round-the-clock support from an expert team who are up-to-date on the latest technologies and security threats, as well as a service that can grow and adapt to the changing needs of the business – without ever having to think about covering absences, holiday pay, pensions, or any other employee benefits that come at a cost to a business.
In other words, outsourcing to an experienced team offers the perfect solution for SMEs looking for an effective and cost-efficient solution.
Outsourcing 101 – a quick guide to IT outsourcing
What is IT outsourcing?
Outsourcing your IT means entrusting your cyber security, desktop support and other critical IT-related business functions to an outside company – i.e. a specialist third party provider.
IT outsourcing can replace the need for a traditional in-house IT team entirely, or offer an extra level of support to your Chief Technology Officer or other internal IT employees, at key times.
Why outsource your IT?
Outsourcing IT provides businesses with many benefits, including the ability to save money without compromising the integrity of the existing IT infrastructure.
For many companies, handing over this vital aspect of business operations offers a welcome respite. You can focus fully on other critical business functions, such as marketing, manufacturing and customer services; all while knowing your IT operations are running smoothly and in the best possible hands.
What are the main benefits of IT outsourcing?
- 24/7 support – Unlike internal teams, who may only work Monday-Friday during business hours, IT outsourcing offers you unlimited round-the-clock support for your business from experienced engineers who can quickly intervene to fix issues that crop-up, as soon as they occur.
- Tailored to your needs – IT outsourcing offers businesses flexible support that can be uniquely tailored to your individual requirements. Whether that’s constant remote monitoring of your IT systems, or just out of hours support at times when your primary team is indisposed or on leave. IT outsourcing ensures there’s no disruption to business as usual.
- Cost saving – Outsourced IT teams can be retained for a set fixed fee, which often costs less than directly hiring employees in-house. Procuring new hardware and software is also cheaper for businesses via an outsourced IT company, as these organisations have access to competitive trade pricing structures, not available on the open market.
- Experience – As IT processes continue to evolve, and cyber security risks become ever smarter, it can be hard for internal teams to stay up to date on the latest industry best practice and training. Outsourcing your IT means you always have a team of experienced professionals working on behalf of your business, all of whom are proficient in today’s IT systems.
- Competitive advantage – With in-depth technical knowledge and visibility across a variety of industry sectors, working with an external IT provider offers your business a strong competitive advantage. Not only can outsourced teams help with day-to-day efficiency, they can also contribute to long-term strategy, providing key operational insight in the same capacity as a senior IT professional (for a fraction of the cost).
What kinds of companies benefit from outsourcing their IT?
IT outsourcing can commercially benefit businesses of all ages and sizes in the UK – from one-man bands just starting out, to larger SMEs with an already established customer following.
The great thing about outsourcing your IT is it’s 100% flexible to your needs and budget, but the common thread across all businesses is the outstanding ROI outsourcing delivers.
You could never replicate the experience of an outsourced IT team in-house, for the same monthly outgoings – which is why outsourcing makes strong commercial sense.
Is outsourcing a good option for my business?
Companies and individuals who find outsourcing their IT particularly cost-effective include:
- SMEs – growing companies who are still in their infancy and establishing commercial IT systems for the very first time.
- New businesses – with no existing IT experience or resource in-house.
- Established organisations – who have grown beyond the capabilities of their existing IT infrastructure or in-house team.
- Small businesses – that lack the office space or financial resource to accommodate an in-house IT team.
- CTO’s – who need to cover short-term employee absences due to ill health or staff holiday.
- Businesses with internal hiring freezes in place – making it difficult to grow internal IT resource.
- Companies who handle sensitive consumer data – and are at increased risk from cyber attacks.
- Ecommerce businesses – who sell to consumers 24/7 and need IT support outside of head office opening hours.
- Larger firms of 150+ professionals – looking to supplement an in-house IT team with strategic outsourced support.
What services typically fall into the IT outsourcing remit?
The beauty of IT outsourcing is that it can be as hands on, or as hands off, in the everyday running of your business as you need it to be.
How much of your IT you decide to outsource is entirely up to you, but typical IT functions businesses look to save money on by outsourcing include:
- Server maintenance
- Desktop support
- Email support
- Telephone support
- Infrastructure upkeep
- Scanning for security threats
- Disaster and backup recovery
- Emergency support
- Firewall maintenance
- Project-based / ad hoc support (for example, moving office premises)
- Antivirus protection
- Data encryption management
It’s an outsourcing company’s job to work with you to assess the level of support your business needs to meet its day-to-day IT commitments, and to determine the most cost-effective solution for outsourcing some, or all, of your IT.
Best practice IT outsourcing should be both proactive and reactive
In fact, one of the key benefits of outsourcing an essential business support function like IT is the ability to pre-empt problems and stop them before they manifest – something that can have huge financial benefits for any business, as it avoid costly downtime and the impact such issues can have on reputation.
This type of preventative action is the benchmark of best practice for IT outsourcing and one of the strongest arguments in favour of using a specialist IT provider.
You only have to look at the reputational and commercial damage sustained by businesses including British Airways and Ticketmaster in the wake of IT system breaches to appreciate how valuable round-the-clock IT support is. Particularly as new GDPR laws introduced across Europe are now seeing businesses slapped with hefty fines for failing to protect consumer data.
(For more tips and advice on this, see: GDPR for small businesses – simple steps you can take to protect personal data)
At Dragon IS we operate a three-pronged approach to IT outsourcing
Our IT support for businesses is founded on three best-practice principles:
- Preventative action
- Predictive action
- Corrective action
Through preventative action we banish IT issues before they occur, employing methods such as heuristic analysis to scan for new strains of cyber virus that threaten the integrity of your IT infrastructure.
Our predictive approach is how we keep your IT systems bug-free. By constantly monitoring the behaviour of your business’s infrastructure we ensure your networks and digital touch points are in full health, and if we do spot a problem, we resolve it (often, before our customers realise a problem even exists!).
Our corrective intervention sees us to mobilise to help your business in a crisis – whether it’s under threat from a hack or infected with a virus, our Dragon IS engineers quickly jump into action and do everything possible to help our clients when a priority call comes in.
Free IT outsourcing assessment
At Dragon IS we think IT outsourcing should be transparent and easy, with flexible pricing and support agents who speak in plan language, not tech-jargon. That’s why we offer all new clients a free IT assessment.
Designed to identify where outsourced IT support can help your business achieve its commercial outcomes, the assessment comes with no obligation to instruct our services. So, whether you choose to work with us or not, you’ll still come away with a full picture of your business’ current IT health.
For more details, or to claim your free Dragon IT assessment, simply call us on 0330 363 0055 or complete this online form.