The question of whether your small to medium business should develop its own IT staff or enter into partnerships – outsourcing – with companies which specialise in the field, is a relatively new one.
As your organisation seeks ways to embrace the digital revolution to drive efficiencies, it is also likely to be a question that won’t go away.
Depending on your business, the processes you have in place, global competitors in your marketplace and your budget, the answer to whether you should outsource some of your IT tasks is probably yes. If you are time poor, the answer is more than likely to be absolutely yes.
However, as with everything, you get what you pay for. So, if you partner with a reputable outsourcing company to perform your IT functions, the answer is still a yes. If you engage a budget outsourcing outfit where the staff do not have a thorough understanding of your products and services, the answer is an emphatic NO.
What can and should be outsourced?
There are four clear technology-related areas of your business that can easily and efficiently be outsourced. While not an exhaustive list, these four areas are commonly and successfully provisioned by external partners.
A relatively new and highly specialised field, business analytics has become the new “must-have” in the business world. Data analysis can reveal where your clients are, what services they use, how they found you and other important insights to use in your strategic planning.
Business analytics can become fairly complex, so access to a skilled workforce with the specialist knowledge of the tools and techniques is advisable. It should therefore only be kept in-house if you have a team which is across the latest advances in programs and receives ongoing training.
Social media platforms
With some 2.01 billion monthly Facebook users, everyone is an expert at social media now, right? Not so much.
Social media has become a powerful new marketing tool which, when being managed by experts, can drive new leads and business to your door.
There is quite literally a world of social media knowledge out there which the less tech-savvy don’t even know exists.
If you have a dedicated communications and marketing team that is trained in social media and hungry for more continual learning, then you should look at keeping social media in-house. If not, outsourcing to an expert is a strong option for you.
Now the preferred storage place for data, web-based apps, and cloud-based operating systems, cloud computing is quickly becoming an essential ingredient for business in the modern world.
The benefits are now widely understood and include minimal investment in hardware and agile scalability to meet business growth needs. The agility of outsourced cloud extends to other aspects of business, including mobility. For example when relocating or adding extra offices to your network, it’s a much bigger undertaking when you have your own in-house infrastructure.
Further, many cloud providers now offer high levels of data security and reliability than you could manage yourself.
The field of process automation looks at ways of reducing lost time to menial and repetitive tasks by automating them. This can be as simple as automated inquiry forms on your website to the development of bespoke apps designed specifically for your business.
The benefits of outsourcing process automation include ongoing improvements and efficiencies for your organisation, increased time to allow staff to focus on their core roles and the ability to develop systems that can evolve as your business does.
This process should be outsourced if you do not have dedicated tech-savvy staff in the automation field.
Rethinking IT outsourcing
Outsourcing used to be a term which conjured up images of cramped, sweaty call centres operating in third world countries. Undoubtedly, such outfits exist, but demand for them is being quickly phased out by organisations which insist on humane, ethical working conditions for everyone associated with their business.
And outsourcing doesn’t always mean offshoring, the world of IT outsourcing is now made up of individual IT professionals, employee leasing, consulting firms, full service providers and even robots. It is both an evolved and evolving industry which allows for increased flexibility and cost and time savings.
If you’re not yet at the stage of outsourcing and you’re still at the stage of choosing which software is right for your business, download our checklist. It will help you identify the problems you would like the software to solve, set your budget to keep expectations in check and assess software functional requirements based on your team's needs and feedback. Get your copy today!