Should Engineering Firms Outsource IT Services?

Information technology or IT remains a core pillar of all the work that any company does, and it will always be a vital part of any successful operation. Unfortunately, some companies rely too heavily on their own ability to manage IT processes even after it becomes evident that they don’t have the proper workforce to get this done. There is nothing wrong with asking for outside help, and some may even suggest that outsourcing IT is the best way to get the results you need. This piece is for those managers out there weighing the pros and cons of getting an outside IT provider today.

An Expert Engineering IT Services Team

Imagine walking into a doctor’s office and accepting treatment from someone who had watched a lot of medical dramas on television. The idea is ludicrous! However, this seems to be the approach that some firms are taking when it comes to IT. They accept employees who have a basic working knowledge of information technology without concerning themselves too much about how IT is constantly evolving. This can create problems and leave troubling vulnerabilities exposed for the outside world to exploit.

When one decides to outsource IT services they know that they are getting an expert team of professionals. These individuals not only have years of experience, but they are constantly keeping their base of knowledge up to date with the latest skills and experiences in the field of IT. Many are sent to special training seminars throughout the year to ensure that their skills stay up to par. They also know that the clients they obtain rely on them to come through no matter what, so they put a priority on each account that they obtain.

Drop The Multi-Tasking

Don’t tell this to parents out there who are juggling work and caring for their young children, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, no human being is hard-wired to be able to multitask effectively. Many of us strive to cram as much into our days as possible, but the human brain is simply not set up to handle the constant change from one task to another. It is never able to put its full energy and attention into one thing when it is constantly being asked to swap between two or more agenda items. Despite this, many IT professionals report that they are asked to handle more than just their IT responsibilities. Small businesses tend to be particularly guilty of this as they attempt to squeeze as much productivity out of each employee as possible. Ironically, they are likely sabotaging their own efforts by asking employees to handle more than one role.

Forbes.com says that the right time to consider outsourcing your IT department is when you notice that IT is taking up too of your in-house employee’s time:

Outsource when IT begins to take time away from the functioning of your business. The more time you spend on your IT setup, the less time you are spending on your business objectives. Often when you outsource your IT, you get an entire team with a wide variety of skills, rather than having a single in-house resource. Don’t wait until you make a mess of your setup to outsource your IT!

Many tasks done in-house have to be done by those who are actively employed there, but a few roles such as payroll, human resources, and of course IT can potentially be outsourced to other providers.

Outsourced IT Services = Cost Savings

Managers and decision-makers within a company start to salivate when they begin to think about any program that could potentially save the company money. Cost savings are a big deal as they pump up the bottom line just as effectively as adding new business does. This not only makes the manager look good, but it supports the overall health and growth of the company at the same time.

The going rate for an IT professional is fairly high compared to many other roles in the company. It can vary depending on geography, but a business located in the Washington DC metro area for example can expect to pay a hefty salary for even one IT professional. This doesn’t even take into account the benefits that would need to be provided to such an employee. Overall, an IT professional can be quite costly to any company.

Outsourcing IT services cuts away a lot of that cost. There are fees paid to the outsourced company of course, but these are much lower than the cost of an in-house worker. Benefits and other accommodations are taken care of by the outsourcing provider thus compounding the savings. The savings come in the following forms:

  1. Salary – The salary that a company may pay to a single IT professional is significantly higher than the overall cost of an outsourcing company’s fees. Despite this, the outsourcing company can provide a whole team of workers who are ready to assist you.
  2. Benefits – Benefits such as health insurance and PTO are fully taken care of by the outsourcing company.
  3. Skill Gaps – Plenty of companies have been mightily disappointed when they hire a new IT professional only to find out that he or she doesn’t have the full set of skills necessary to tackle the pressing issues that the company is currently facing. Such skill gaps require more training, and that means time and money lost just getting someone up to speed. Outsourcing companies provide the training of all of their employees and insist that they remain current with their knowledge at all times.
  4. Burden Of Responsibility – In the event of a major IT disaster, burden-sharing programs may be established ahead of time with an outsourcing provider to help stem the damage and save money. This agreement needs to be in writing and set up well in advance of any issue, but it can prove to be a real money-saver when put in place.

These are just some of the areas that companies have reported cost savings. Other money-saving benefits will likely become self-evident once one begins to use an outsourced IT solution.

Services Provided

We have discussed at length the benefits of outsourcing IT programs, but what services are specifically on offer? Each provider will have its own menu of options to choose from, but we want to look at some of the most commonly offered services to choose from.

Vendor Management 

Supplies and inventory are not restocked on their own accord. This only happens with proper vendor management and agreements. Companies must establish working relationships with their vendors to have a regular inventory restocking schedule set up and maintained. This is a tedious job that must be continuously performed. Outsourced IT professionals can help manage the entire process. Stop spending time on this and focus on other tasks.

Help Desk 

From password recovery to more serious IT issues, a dedicated help desk is a way to go. Such individuals can provide the quick answers that employees need when they run into issues with the technologies that they use on a day-to-day basis. It is comforting to know that this helping hand is always there when needed for a quick fix to an otherwise frustrating issue.

Virus/Spam Protection 

Malicious actors continue to target companies large and small to steal everything from personal financial data to trade secrets. These criminals can only be stopped when there is a set of eyes on them at all times. Those relying on employees trying to juggle IT with other responsibilities are not going to fare well in this combat. Instead, hiring an outsourced IT company is the way to go.

Rapid  24/7 Response To Issues

Around-the-clock response to any potential IT-related issue is a service offered by most providers. It is challenging to hire multiple shifts of IT workers to monitor the technology that a company has. Fortunately, outsourced providers are more than happy to offer this service. No matter where you are in the world, there are people waiting to attack your infrastructure. Be prepared with 24/7 rapid response ready to go.

Outsourcing In Our Current Reality

The concept of outsourcing IT services was already catching on with the wider public prior to 2020, and it has only ramped up since that time. Millions of people continue to work from home as COVID-19 remains a very real threat to the health of the public. Thus, technological hardware that is essential to business operations remains scattered all throughout the globe. This makes it challenging to host an in-house IT team, and yet makes the technology so much more vulnerable to attack than it was before.

This prompts even more urgency to hire an outsourced provider for all things IT. That provider can remotely monitor all the company’s technology and find the best ways to keep it protected from attack. The COVID-19 economy has prompted many radical changes in the way that business is done, and a more forceful move towards outsourcing is certainly one of them.

There is always an adjustment period to using outside providers for technology services, but many people report that they are far happier with the results than what they were getting before. It is all a matter of getting the right people in place to take care of issues as they arise. In many cases, those people will come from outside the company.

For the latest on IT outsourcing and its benefits, please contact us. We have information specific to your area and needs.