While one could certainly argue that an article about the benefits of outsourcing IT – written by an IT consulting company – is a case of self-interest at work, the reality remains. If your core business isn’t technology, keeping many of the traditional information technology functions in-house is simply not the most efficient or cost-effective way to do business.
The Pace of Change is Fast. Real Fast.
That technology develops quickly has been true for decades. But we’re seeing acceleration at a different level now – to say it’s a dizzying pace isn’t mere hyperbole. If you knew something last week, it may have changed today. If you’re afraid that this is all just hype, you may be right. But only temporarily. It’s true that IT trends reach lofty heights of expectation, or what Gartner refers to as the “Peak of Inflated Expectations.”
And, of course, after the peak comes the trough. But after the trough, once all the hyperbole and empty promises are swept away, that’s when technology can shine. If you managed to position your company in front of the inevitable uptick in value (by being a contrarian while that trough is at its depths), you’re probably one of the innovators who truly “gets it.” And you’re setting yourself up for success.
Focus on Your Business
Unless your business operates in the IT space, managing in-house technology is probably not the best approach. It’s similar to the notion of renting a facility/office space for your company vs. owning it. Ownership has advantages, but unless a key objective of your business is to build equity in or otherwise own real estate, leasing is better because it eliminates unnecessary processes and operations from your business.
Likewise, if IT is a service consumed by your company rather than an offering from your company, it becomes significantly less important to build and maintain capacity in this particular area. Instead, do what makes your company a profit. And focus on that relentlessly while those who focus relentlessly on tech do their thing on your behalf.
Reduce IT Expenses
While it may appear that managed services and outsourced IT is expensive, the reality that many people overlook is the notion of reducing fixed costs and replacing them with variable costs. Fixed costs offer the advantage of being definitive, but variable costs are much more manageable and are not (by definition) sunk costs. Looking holistically at your business will allow you to see, relatively easily, that the flexibility offered by outsourced IT and the variable costs associated with it is just what’s required to be an agile organization capable of taking advantage of opportunities.
Love security, denial of service attacks, cyber hacks, and the virtual “arms race” that goes on every day between the white hats and the black hats? Probably not. At best, managing IT security fully in-house keeps your company out of the newspapers with negative press. The worst-case scenario is significantly worse, however. Dedicated technology providers know how to deal with a DDoS in seconds, if one can even touch their tech implementations in the first place. There is value in this, obviously…peace of mind is not the least of the benefits here!
This is closely related to focusing on your primary business. The notion of running a data center and staffing it 24/7/365 is outdated – unless, of course, your business is running data centers or providing technology services. Frankly, it’s a pain – and that’s why it’s best left to those dedicated to providing these services.
Take Advantage of New Skills
Technology companies have the latest hardware, knowledge, and skills in the space, and that allows your company to have the same…without developing it yourself or purchasing it outright or hiring new talent all the time. An often-overlooked benefit, however, is the notion of “insourcing,” wherein the skill sets of your IT partner can be brought in-house in a limited manner. Basically, this is the equivalent of your tech provider “teaching your people to fish” so they have the skills necessary to manage the now-limited technology implementations of your company.
Scale (Think Big).
If your business isn’t growing, it’s dying. And if you’re not moving fast, you may as well be standing still. Yes…that does sound like a sales pitch. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
When opportunities arise, the need to quickly assess and act is essential. If your IT is maxed out, that’s going to be a tall task. Modern IT infrastructure is on-demand and “bursts” to meet specific needs. This allows you to double, treble, quadruple (you get the picture) storage, bandwidth, processing power, memory, user growth, and more. Of course, you can also scale down when your company doesn’t need as much capacity…all without having to worry about the capital expenditures that go along with purchasing IT equipment and licenses.
Even well-established companies must have the capability to move quickly, lest they be overtaken by smaller, nimbler competitors who can turn on a dime. It is often the case, in fact, that those small companies are fully leveraging modern tech to make their fast moves and gain market share.
So if your company is still managing all its tech in-house, consider that pushing it out to IT experts may be the difference between success and failure.