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For many businesses, an IT team represents the oil on the machine. Without in-house IT support, there’s no one to take support calls and no one to help with new hardware. You also have no one to tell you what’s possible when your growth relies on having the right tech in place.
The trouble is, IT teams cost a lot of money. Many small businesses just don’t have the capital needed to grow and have a team of IT experts keeping the technology gears moving.
So, is it possible to cut back on your IT costs? Or will doing away with the need for an in-house IT team hinder your business?
We’ll look at the options.
Pros and Cons of an In-House IT Team
Whether you are considering the feasibility of a new business or you’re looking at ways of growing an existing business, you won’t be alone if you are suprised at IT costs. However, an in-house IT team is no longer your only option when it comes to IT support. If you can track down a well-managed IT service provider, you’re likely to save yourself money and still receive cutting edge tech support.
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This might sound as if an in-house IT team is an inherently bad idea. However, that really isn’t the case. If you have the option of an incredibly talented in-house team and you can afford it then it can make a lot of sense.
The trouble is, very few businesses can justify these kinds of costs. We’re not just talking about small businesses. There are government departments and major names in commerce that have decided to outsource their IT support.
So, why do they (and millions of other businesses) do it?
Make sure you’re comparing like-for-like. Compare the process of bringing onboard a new IT team with the cost of outsourcing. First, consider the investment of time on your part. If you’re lucky, your recruitment process will extend only to 12 weeks. This includes the notice that new-hires must give to their current employer. It is not uncommon for this timeline to stretch into more months out of your year, especially since IT managers are often contracted to give 3 months’ notice.
All in, you should expect recruitment to cost your business around $3,000 – $5,000 per hire. Since most small businesses are going to need at least 2 members of IT staff, that’s going to be between $6,000 – $10,000 before you’ve done any induction training. Even if you’ve got that money sitting in the bank at the moment, the real question is; does this represent the very best way to spend it?
What’s the Alternative?
Using a managed service provider (MSP) is unquestionably the most cost-effective way of doing things. But should you be focusing on cost alone? Realistically, probably not. After all, if you bought on cost alone, you could outsource your IT support to non-English speaking, non-US based freelancers and take on all the challenges associated with their services.
The great thing about using a managed service provider is that their costs are understandably lower. They work with a large number of clients and have low overhead costs. They may still offer excellent service, but their cost represents an economy of scale.
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For example, a well-managed service provider might have a monthly wage bill of $250,000. That is completely out of the reach of small businesses. However, when freelancers or managed service providers work with 150 small businesses, the shared value meets the income expectations of IT professionals and provides excellent support to clients.
How Much Time Do You Need?
If you’re worried about an MSP not paying your business enough attention, don’t be. In reality, a small business actually has a very limited requirement for IT support and maintenance time.
With this in mind, you might be wondering why we initially suggested a minimum of 2 full-time members of staff if you were going to build your own team. The answer is fairly obvious; while your IT requirement will come in bursts, your employees’ contracts won’t. So, you’re going to need to keep your team employed, even if they’re not actively working on anything at any given moment.
This represents another big plus for using a managed provider. Sure, they might not be sitting next to you in your office, but you’re only paying for what you need. While they’re away working with other clients, they’re sharpening their skills, too. The result? You’ve got a part-time IT team that’s constantly up to speed with the very best practices in the industry.
This is enormously useful for small businesses because it means you’ve got access to cutting-edge knowledge whenever you pick up the phone. Are you keen to understand what SD WAN could bring to your growth plans? Maybe you’re interested in building a hybrid network that will allow you to put staff on the road? Whatever your requirement, your managed service provider will have done it already and they’ll be ready to help you put together a solution of your own.
Running Without an IT Team
Realistically, no company is going to be able to run without an IT team. If you do, your luck will run out pretty quickly, especially when you consider how many cyber-attacks occur around the world on a daily basis.
So, having a good, reliable, and knowledgeable team on board is a must. You just need to ask yourself whether you’d like that team to be in-house with all the costs and logistics that go alongside that or based in the office of a managed service provider. When there’s the kind of world-class knowledge that will put you ahead of your competition for less than you’d pay in-house, it’s clear to see why so many businesses are choosing to outsource.