Running a startup on limited financial resources can cause one to dread recruitment. Considering that a big chunk of a business’s funds is spent on salaries and wages, it is only natural for business owners to seek out other ways to complete their workforce without actually having to hire a lot of people.
This is where outsourcing comes in.
Aside from solving the issue of recruitment, outsourcing serves as a cost-effective way to keep company operations running smoothly. It ensures that quality of work is maintained and allows you access to a large pool of experienced and talented experts.
While you can outsource a lot of things, there’s one particular department you can choose to outsource entirely to get the most benefit from — information technology or IT. Outsourcing IT support not only saves you cash but also lets you focus on more important matters within your organization.
Still, it is important to note that outsourcing this line of work can only be beneficial if you are able to pick the right partner to do it. To make sure this happens, here are five tips you should consider when outsourcing your IT department:
1. Define the Scope and Extent of the Services You Require
While it may seem obvious considering what IT entails as a department, it is still important that you define the scope and extent of services you require from a third-party partner in great detail. Remember that outsourced projects will only be successful if the goals are clear from the very beginning.
IT or not, outsourced service providers require complete and precise information on the outcome you want in order to give you realistic proposals and quote a reasonable price. Make sure that you also specify the deliverables you require from them. For IT, this can range from simple network support and email hosting to more complex cybersecurity efforts.
The key is to include all pertinent information in your service agreement.
2. Include Realistic and Clear Response Times in Your SLAs
When hiring a third-party IT support provider, you will need a service level agreement or SLA. This document should include not only the scope and extent of services that the IT support vendor needs to fulfill, but also a realistic and clear response time.
When it comes to IT support, including a schedule or a timeline for when you require each deliverable and the manner in which you want to get it done are necessary. For example, you can ask for remote callout IT support available 24/7 along with weekly network maintenance or you can limit it within the company office hours.
Adding this to the SLA will ensure that you know when to expect a service to be rendered and are not left wondering when fixes and updates should be addressed. However, it is worth noting that SLAs will typically indicate when IT support will begin addressing the issue, but not necessarily the time when it will be fixed.
If an IT company guarantees that they can fix any type of error within a specific period in their proposal, you should consider it a red flag. You see, some IT issues may take time to handle, especially if it entails having to deal with another vendor who isn’t bound by your SLA, like an internet provider. If a company guarantees that the issue will be fixed within a set time, there’s a good chance that they aren’t planning on addressing the underlying issue and will only use band-aid solutions.
3. Ensure Proactive Management
Some IT companies offer reactive services where they only fix errors in the system or broken equipment (e.g., printers) and troubleshoot email hosting issues. These services comprise make up the biggest chunk of IT support needs.
But while there’s nothing wrong about sending these issues to an IT solutions agency, a good IT service provider can provide you the opportunity to reduce the need for such fixes and troubleshoots by helping manage your network and devices proactively. This way, you can reduce the chances of breakage, thus reducing downtimes in your operations.
Proactive IT management goes beyond monitoring and fixing things. They can also assist in your use of tools that aid in employee productivity. They also initiate regular meetings with you to form a technology plan that can help meet the company’s goals.
4. Consider Experience and Continuous Training
Experience and training go hand-in-hand in ensuring the performance of personnel, most especially if that personnel is outsourced from a third-party company. When outsourcing IT support, it is imperative that you look for both before signing a contract as it will ensure that your company is assisted in the best way possible.
Remember that the right IT support provider will have experienced personnel who understand the kind of systems they are supporting. They should never only start learning about it on the job and on your machines. After all, you’re paying them for their expertise, not to use your IT network for practice.
One way to determine if a vendor has both experience and training in the specific system you use is by checking their certifications. Many technology vendors like Microsoft provide certification programs for IT companies and professionals as proof of their qualifications in servicing such products. Therefore, these certifications should serve as a determining factor when you outsource your IT department.
IT professionals also need to renew their certifications periodically. This means that any update on software and other products are introduced to them through on-going training so that they remain updated with the changes and support the network effectively.
5. Prioritize Expertise in Data Security
Whether you’re running a large-, medium-, or small-scale business, data security is crucial, so you must make sure that the third-party IT support provider you’re calling in understands the need for expertise in this area.
Today, strong data security is no longer optional – it is a must. It must be wrapped around the entire business, especially in the technologies used for company operations. The right IT company should be able to come up with a data security plan that fits your needs and your budget, all while understanding the specific requirements for your industry.
This is another reason why IT service providers need to have on-going training for their personnel as cybersecurity threats are continuously evolving. While there’s never a 100% guarantee that your firewall won’t be breached, you must make it a point to enhance your protection as much as possible.
IT Support at Your Fingertips
IT support requires experience, skills, and expertise that can be difficult to find during recruitment. Save your effort, time, and money by outsourcing your IT department, while keeping IT support at your fingertips, with the help of this article.
Sharon Mallorca is the Sales Manager at Create IT in Dubai. Established by innovative digital agency Create Media Group, Create IT has rapidly become the Middle East’s leading IT Support and IT Solutions company, providing the highest quality IT support and services to a growing portfolio of global brands.