Outsourcing has been around since 1989 in some form or the other. But during the past three decades, the outsourcing industry has gained momentum and has become an integral part of business management. According to Fortunly, about 300,000 jobs get outsourced in the US every year!
Businesses outsource different activities to third parties so that they can focus on their core business. One of the areas that most businesses are choosing to outsource is IT support functions.
Outsourcing IT support functions implies a third-party managing your IT infrastructure, systems, network, security, etc. remotely.
IT support outsourcing should not be confused with Managed Services. While managed services take the responsibility of the complete IT maintenance and support functions of the client, IT support services provide additional support to the internal IT team.
Entails sending IT-related tasks to a company in a foreign country such as India or China.
In this case, the IT-related tasks are outsourced to a company in a country sharing the border with the country from where the task is assigned.
This entails outsourcing the IT-related work to an external agency located in the same country where the business hiring it is located. The service provider can work remotely or onsite.
The external service provider provides IT related services over the internet.
The external agency provides services such as network management, IP, VPN, firewalls, networking, monitoring, and many more.
A business has the option to outsource different functions to multiple vendors or choose a single vendor for multiple functions. A business can decide on the most suitable option based on the unique needs of the business. However, choosing an efficient single vendor who can handle multiple responsibilities works better because the business needs to collaborate with only one vendor. It is, therefore, easier to establish and maintain a relationship with the vendor. Having multiple vendors takes a lot of time in coordinating between the different vendors and ensuring a streamlined flow of activities.
One of the main reasons why businesses opt to outsource their IT support functions is the rapid rate at which technology is advancing. It is difficult for a business to cope up with the pace of technological advancements. Therefore, they outsource the regular IT functions to a third-party. The third-party ensures that the IT infrastructure, networking, etc. operates seamlessly while the business can focus on ways of implementing new technologies in their business. IT support services are also updated with the latest technologies and trends and enable their clients to leverage these technologies.
The objective of any business is the growth and enhancement of ROI. If a business manages its IT support functions in-house, it will have to spend on ensuring that the support staff is trained and up to date with the latest in the field.
Managing the in-house support staff, their salaries, etc. will become a cost-factor and additional responsibility for the business. This will eat into the time for managing the business goals.
Outsourcing IT support services take the responsibility off the shoulders of the management who can channelize their time and efforts towards the growth of the business.
When a business outsources IT support services to a third-party, it minimizes its risks. This is because the professionals in the company providing the support services are experts in their field and will ensure that all your IT systems are well-protected and functional.
If a business has an in-house IT support team, it's IT professionals will be working on routine maintenance tasks. On the other hand, outsourcing to a third-party will free these resources who can focus on other tasks and add value to the business in achieving its goals.
Outsourcing IT support services to a third-party enables a business to utilize its resources optimally. Besides the professionals in the third-party are experts in their field and ensure that the IT infrastructure, systems, networking, etc. function without a hitch. This enables a business to enhance its overall efficiency.
When a business hires an in-house team, it needs to pay them a high salary, offer them perks such as insurance, and other company benefits. Besides, there is also a need to invest in training the team to ensure that they are up to date with the latest technologies. On the other hand, outsourcing, IT support entails all expenses packaged in one affordable bundle with no hidden costs.
In this day and age when cyber-attacks have become prevalent, securing data, networks, and systems from spyware, ransomware, etc. is vital for a business. Because of the increased risks, the focus on cybersecurity is increasing and businesses opt to outsource cybersecurity to an external agency as well. This proves beneficial because securing digital frontiers is complex and professionals at an external agency have the relevant expertise for it.
The latest trend among IT support service providers is that they are leveraging new technologies to provide quality services. For instance, manual processes are automated using AI to minimize the time spent on routine tasks. One example is using AI-powered chatbots which help in resolving customer queries. Automation helps minimize human errors and enhance the quality of services.
Paybacks of outsourcing are surely attractive to a business; however, outsourcing has certain drawbacks as well.
When a business outsources its IT support to a third party, its sensitive data is at a risk.
However, this risk can be mitigated by choosing a service provider who can deliver best industry standards and best practices for data protection.
If the IT infrastructure of a business is complex, it becomes difficult for a third-party to get it up and running.
Although there may be a temptation to engage an in-house team for this purpose, in the long run, outsourcing proves beneficial. This is because the IT provider may take some time at the initial stages, but once the system gets running, the business stands to benefit from their expertise in the field.
Although not a common issue, there is a risk of losing IT infrastructure. This happens when service providers introduce their own proprietary software in the infrastructure of the business and demand it back when the contract ends. Therefore, an IT support company should be chosen with caution.
If you are at crossroads between choosing to outsource your IT support or hire an in-house team, an analysis of the benefits and drawbacks reveals that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
Outsourcing is here to stay. It has impacted economies across the globe in different ways. If we look at Asian third world countries such as China, India, and the Philippines, etc., the effect of outsourcing has been positive. These countries have responded to the outsourcing demands of advanced countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc. Outsourcing by these countries has created employment opportunities in these countries helping stabilize the economy of these countries. However, outsourcing by advanced countries is leading to unemployment in the domestic market.