Many basic IT services are very general and not business specific. Services such as anti-virus protection, data backup and IT support can benefit from the economy of scale an outsourcing organisation offers. For a small business taking care of these areas effectively may prove difficult. While there is a cost associated with outsourcing there is a far higher cost to not maintaining and looking after IT services.
The main benefit outsourcing can offer is expert support without the associated inhouse costs. It can take care of systems security, data backup or even provide complex system support. For small business the key attraction here is that expert support. Even in organisations with their own IT support there may be some benefit through the outsourcing of selected IT services.
A further advantage of outsourcing is that a business can choose which individual services to allocate to an outside provider. Different services can be provided by different suppliers, although this may involve extra management.
A potential downside of outsourcing can be the loss of control over IT systems and possible loss of expertise to the business. This is true if there are key systems that the business depends on. This may not be what the business wants, especially if it has invested heavily in technology.
One way to overcome this possible loss of control is for an organisation to agree levels of service with their outsourcing partner.
These should include
● Guarantee of service
● Specified service hours
● Level of support provided
● Security policies for customer systems
● Data Protection policies
IT outsourcing is not a panacea and for some SMEs it may not provide any immediate solutions, but given the growing complexity of IT systems, it is something that should be considered.Just because a business is small it doesn’t mean it’s not entitled to quality support.