Editorial

Should SMEs Use IT Services or Manage In-house Only?

For small and medium-sized enterprises, they face a choice regarding whether to expand their IT capabilities in-house or look to external IT service companies to fill their requirements.While the founder may prefer to go in the direction of hiring specialists, that’s not always the best solution unless the company can afford to do so. Here are some thoughts on whether an SME should use IT service companies or not.

Get a Better Overview of What’s Needed

While the IT department may consist of a couple of people who keep the servers running and troubleshoot any immediate issues staff have, their knowledge may not cover much more. When you need to look ahead to what will be required in the months and years to come, the lack of foresight may prove to be a costly shortcoming. 

If you are faced with this problem, hiring an IT consultant to review what’s currently lacking can provide much-needed clarity. At least, once the report is in, the founder and the existing IT staff can fully appreciate the challenge ahead.

Ability to Invest in People, Training, and Systems

For an SME, growing to accommodate an expanded IT team is not a minor thing. While generalist IT workers can play at handling everything themselves, they’ll be spread too thin. They also won’t have specialist training in all the areas required, or be able to keep their skills updated. This creates a gap between what’s needed and what they can realistically deliver. Can the business invest sufficiently to hire more qualified people, and train them to expand their capabilities? Can improved systems be implemented to support their roles too?

Ask What IT Service Companies Can Do Better

It’s a tough pill to swallow but, sometimes it is necessary to acknowledge that a dedicated service provider can do better than the in-house employees. For instance, cybersecurity solutions require a team of dedicated professionals solely focused on this area. Without such dedication, they won’t keep up with the latest trends and changes in security. Merely dabbling in this sector will not produce adequate outcomes and leave the company vulnerable to a potential cyberattack.

Is There a Case for a Blended Solution?

Company founders are unlikely to sign off on outsourcing everything to an IT services company. They will probably always want a small team in the IT department regardless of what’s being outsourced. And that’s okay. A blended solution can be configured to integrate external IT services to support the business operation while keeping other necessary services in-house. This allows the internal team to keep tabs on what’s being done on their behalf, rather than feeling completely out of the loop.

For managers, staying in the loop helps them to anticipate future problems and find quick solutions. Whether that’s switching over to a different cloud backup integrator or administering the currently allocated users for different SaaS apps as staffing levels change.

With founders looking toward the next five years, getting the right IT services in place now offers a platform to rely on. If you were previously dependent on patched together MacGyver-type solutions, isn’t it time to address that before it comes back to hurt the business?

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