7 factors to consider when outsourcing IT support services

S5 Logic shares the factors businesses should consider when outsourcing IT services.

Atlanta companies, large and small, rely on technology for basic operations. From managing customer relationships to human resources and tracking internal processes, technology helps streamline the way we do things at work.

With technology being such an integral part of virtually every business, many companies rely on IT departments to help them work out occasional kinks, install software, and manage networks. Your IT department acts as your resource for all things tech, whether you need to set up a new system or figure out glitches.

Your company can hire an IT department in two ways: outsourcing or in-house. An in-house IT department is a team of technology experts that work for your company. Meanwhile, an outsourced IT team works for another company but still provides the support and resources your company needs.

Outsourcing IT services offer numerous advantages to businesses, such as cost efficiency and specialized industry expertise. By outsourcing your IT department, you can dedicate more of your time and focus on other, more important aspects of your business. Should you need tech support, the IT team is standing by and ready to help.  

If you decide to outsource your IT department, the next step is to find the right team. Outsourcing your IT department requires careful consideration of various factors. We'll discuss these factors below, along with everything else you need to know about outsourcing IT.

What does an IT team do for your business?

The IT team handles every tech-related thing for your business. This includes installing computers, configuring hardware and software, and managing networks. Not only do they monitor your company's computer network, but they provide essential support when you have an issue.

Essentially, the IT team helps keep your company running by tackling the technology side of the business, which is essential for nearly all operations, internal and external. Reputable IT firms also invest in frequent training and system updates. Technology is constantly advancing, so it's important to stay on top of it to achieve a competitive advantage.

Businesses in Atlanta especially need to keep up with technology. As the capital and most populous city in the state of Georgia, Atlanta offers impressive opportunities for aspiring business owners. However, failing to keep up with competitors can quickly lead to failure.

Having a solid IT team helps businesses maximize their potential by having a reliable resource for tech-related issues and updates.

How does an outsourced IT team differ from an in-house one?

Outsourcing your IT department means hiring another company to manage the tech side of your business. This typically requires signing a contract that outlines what you expect the third-party IT company to do for your company and any objectives you wish to achieve.

Although having an in-house IT team offers several advantages, outsourcing is by far the most cost-effective option. As such, outsourcing IT support is beneficial for new companies or businesses with a tight budget that still need professional tech support.

Seven factors to consider for IT department outsourcing

Outsourcing your IT department is an excellent way to maximize cost-effectiveness and internal operations while having reliable tech support. However, to ensure you have a positive experience, it is essential to hire the right company. Though, this is often easier said than done.

To ensure smooth integration and a valuable long-term experience, consider the following seven factors when looking for an outsourced IT support team.

1. Your budget

The most important factor to consider for any business decision is your budget. Although outsourcing your IT department costs significantly less than having an in-house team, it still accounts for a significant portion of your annual budget.

Smaller businesses often don't have the funding to hire an internal IT team. In addition, with businesses relying more and more on technology, it's becoming more expensive to run an IT department and keep up with the latest software updates and hardware advancements. Instead of worrying about constant upgrades, outsourcing IT services allows you to focus on other aspects of your business while enjoying reduced overhead costs.

Different companies offer varying levels of services, affecting prices and availability. Before exploring your options, determine your company's budget and stick to it. Having a high-end IT department won't do much good if your finances suffer.

2. The company's experience and expertise

You shouldn't trust just any company claiming to know the ins and outs of computers. To ensure you receive the support your team needs, it is crucial to find a company with vast industry experience and expertise.

The best outsourcing companies have IT experts with various certifications and licenses proving their industry knowledge and skills. In addition, a company should constantly be training their employees to keep up with frequent technological advancements and system updates.

Along with certified professionals, an outsourced IT firm should offer data recovery and backup services to protect your company's vital information. Ideally, you should find a full-service IT company that prevents the need to hire multiple outsourced teams.

When interviewing potential firms, ask about past clients, current talent, and company history. Get all the information you can about a company to make a well-informed decision. For unbiased advice, check reviews or ask for references.

3. Regulations and security

Although an outsourced IT team operates through their own firm, they also become an integral part of your business operations. As such, you must ensure that the firm follows necessary regulations regarding client data and security.

You often state security protocols and privacy regulations in the service contract, but it's a good idea to know how a firm protects company information before committing. Reputable IT teams should have state-of-the-art security measures while complying with strict regulations to protect your company's sensitive information.

An outsourced IT firm should also have services for disaster recovery and compliant data security management. If you must share sensitive information with the IT team, ask what security measures they take. If they utilize security measures like two-factor authentication and one-time codes, it's a good sign.

4. Your employees

Outsourcing services affects your employees' productivity and morale. In many cases, employees feel uncomfortable with strangers coming into their space and messing with their computers, phones, and other equipment. If you don't consider your employees before outsourcing IT services, you could face communication issues, diminished morale, and reduced productivity.

Before hiring an outsourced IT firm, meet with your employees and get their opinions while sharing your expectations. Keeping your team in the loop while hiring an IT firm with a positive reputation can help ensure successful integration.

5. The IT team's accessibility

Outsourcing your IT department means they typically won't be on-site, so it's essential to find a team that is easily accessible and readily available. Ideally, the outsourced IT firm should be available 24/7 to address any concerns you or your team have. They should also have straightforward means of communication, so you don't have to go through multiple people to reach the IT support you need.

Ensuring your outsourced IT team is accessible is vital for productivity. Unexpected downtime can create several problems for a business. If you can't reach the IT team when you need them, your business suffers.

When considering a firm, ask how they handle communication and support services. For example, can you call or text them? What time zone do they operate in?

While communication barriers are nearly impossible to completely avoid, the ideal outsourced IT company will have a clear communication plan and be easy to reach at all hours of the day.

6. Managed services vs. break-fix models

Generally, IT firms offer two types of service models: managed services or break-fix models. Many firms provide both, depending on the needs of their clientele. Determining which service to go with requires you to consider your budget and tech support needs.

For example, if you want 24/7 access to the IT department, you should opt for the managed services model. Meanwhile, if your company plans to use IT services as needed, go with the break-fix model. However, you should also consider the cost of each service type before committing.

For example, break-fix models are typically more expensive as IT firms charge by the hour for this service. Conversely, you receive monthly bills for the managed services model. Before deciding on a model, examine your budget and tech needs to ensure you find the right fit.

7. The company's overall operations

Although all IT firms offer similar services, they don't often operate in the same way. When looking for an outsourced IT team, ask the following questions:

  • How does your reporting process work?
  • What are your security compliance protocols?
  • How do you manage support services?

In addition, explain your IT goals and ask how they can help you achieve them. Understanding how they operate and how they can benefit your business is essential for drafting the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA is a contract between your company and the chosen outsourced IT firm. The contract outlines the expected services and lists specific goals or milestones you wish to achieve.

Understanding how the firm works before signing a contract helps clarify expectations and contractual obligations. This also helps the integration process by giving your employees a better idea of what to expect from the IT department. In addition, you can ask questions about the company's services and get all the information you need before committing to a relationship.

What are the benefits of outsourcing IT departments?

The most apparent advantage of outsourcing IT services is the reduced costs. Outsourcing your IT team means avoiding paying additional salaries and benefits. In addition, the IT team takes responsibility for system updates, technological advancements, and other industry changes that cost money.

Additionally, IT firms comprise experienced and certified tech professionals who are experts in technology. This specialized expertise is crucial for keeping your business ahead of its competitors by exploiting tech opportunities. It can also give you peace of mind knowing that you have a reliable source to go to regarding tech questions or system issues.

Outsourcing is especially valuable for start-up businesses. Whether you have 20 or 100 employees, start-ups require a lot of funding, which means reducing costs as much as possible is essential. Unfortunately, cutting costs is one of the biggest challenges facing new companies.

Outsourcing IT services can not only save you a significant amount of money but also prevent the need for additional office space for an in-house IT department.

In addition, start-ups can gain a competitive edge by hiring an IT team equipped with the latest tech and vast industry knowledge.

Our final thoughts

Overall, outsourcing IT services is an excellent way to cut costs while ensuring your team has the resources it needs for all things tech. Reputable third-party IT firms can help streamline operations by providing reliable tech services that keep your systems compliant, updated, and efficient. Although you have several factors to consider before deciding on a company, taking the time to do your research is essential for ensuring you hire the right team.

When it comes to IT services in Atlanta, S5 Logic knows what businesses need. Atlanta is a bustling city full of innovation and advancing businesses. However, this vast number of different companies means greater competition in pretty much every industry. To get ahead of competitors, it's essential to keep up with technological advancements. Fortunately, an outsourced IT department can help you do just that.

If you want to learn more about outsourcing IT services in Atlanta, the team at S5 Logic can help. We are experts in the field of IT support outsourcing and can answer the most common question business owners and managers have about third-party IT firms.