Whether your business is just getting started or has been rolling along for years, the decision to outsource IT services can be challenging. If IT is currently on your payroll, it will mean integration and it may mean letting people go. However, if your IT situation is getting in the way of building your business, you need to make the decision and move on it.
Red Flags to Watch For
1) You don’t have the time you need to focus on your core competencies.
What did you go into this business to do? If your area of focus isn’t getting the attention it needs to keep your business moving forward, the decision of when to outsource IT operations has been made. You need to put your time and focus into building your business, not monitoring your IT department.
2) You need more flexibility.
Are you planning to scale up? Relocate? Start a new product line or purchase another business? If you need increased IT support for a limited or unknown amount of time, it’s probably time to outsource IT services. Your provider has a working knowledge of the expertise that’s available and the power to contract with more support when needed.
3) Your employees, including IT, need more support.
If your employees can’t get their work done, your business isn’t moving forward. However, if your IT department can’t handle the needs of your employees, IT will be frustrated and overwhelmed while your employees who are looking for help will be ready to toss their hands in the air, or worse, seek out their own repairs and corrections.
The security of your data is paramount. Making sure your employees have the support they need and are able to do their work without having to do their own research and possibly access dangerous programs is a necessary part of your job. Unfortunately, you are then working in your business, not on it.
4) Training is behind the times.
Your IT department needs to be on the cutting edge of software expansion and security. One serious security breach can put your business at risk and may lead to serious expenses and risk of exposure. Make sure you aren’t forced to decide when to outsource IT operations. Be proactive in protecting your proprietary data, the security of your client’s confidential information, and your financial records before a breach.
5) You have excessive downtime.
Invariably, programs will lag and software will crash. However, downtime causes uncertainty, frustration and a lack of confidence in leadership among your employees. In addition, downtime is costly. Current estimates are that companies in North America are losing $700 billion on an annual basis due to IT problems.
Outsourcing is change, and for some, change will always cause resistance. However, quality IT support will help your business to grow and provide you with more flexibility. Most importantly, you can go back to work growing your business.