TO OUTSOURCE OR NOT TO OUTSOURCE
IN A WORLD IN WHICH TECHNOLOGY IS FORCING EVERY BUSINESS OWNER TO RETHINK THEIR STRATEGY, ONE OF THE MAJOR CONUNDRUMS TO EMERGE IS AROUND THE ISSUE OF OUTSOURCING. LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE SCENARIOS IN PLAY.
You run a business specialising in whatever it is that the business can create, provide or service. While technology is an increasingly important part of that process, who within that business is qualified to employ, manage and budget for an IT support person, for example? As IT support specialists, we continuously witness the results of these business decisions and questions in the market.
Interestingly, these questions take on a cyclical nature, which is understandably linked to both affordability and data loss.
On the one side, outsourcing is more expensive than employing an IT person in the business, because the outsourced partner is specialised. This partner has taken on a responsibility to secure your business, IP, productivity, and data, and draws on multiple levels of expertise to deliver their services. In contrast, a single employee simply strives to do their best on the budget they are provided to keep the business operational.
Now, not to undermine the role of “the IT guy” (and if you have the right person, then congratulations), but it is
an increasingly challenging task to deliver these IT services single-handedly.
A NEW WORLD, NEW IT DEMANDS
Today, the task requires not only an effective problem solver, but also someone who is able to communicate the effectiveness and importance of technology to the business (and negotiate the budget to deliver on what is required). This is why a normal outsourced partner should have three levels of services to deliver Information Technology support to a business.
In short, it takes different people to effectively deliver the different levels of IT solutions in a business today:
The technician: The person who supports your business is only one leg of a three-legged stool. This person is not tasked with daily support, but is rather your go-to guy with onsite problem solving, disaster avoidance, and maintaining productivity when the inevitable “downtime” occurs. The technician keeps a business operational from a technology perspective. In fact, the less you see this person, the better.
The account manager: This person is not simply a sales person, but is rather a consultant who negotiates the minefield of technology, hardware, software and services required. He or she can sit with an executive, a business owner or a department head and hear what their requirements are – and then convert that into a project, contract or service to provide it.This is where the real solutions happen, but it’s also where the costs lie. An outsourced partner can solve all your IT problems if your budget is unlimited, but of course there are always limits – and those must be balanced against risk. A good account manager will assist with maintaining this balance.
Remote support: This service is relatively new in the small business space, and has become an increasingly relevant form of support as fibre connectivity (i.e. very fast connectivity) becomes ubiquitous in our cities and suburbs. This person enables support staff to connect remotely in order to fix problems within minutes of phone calls or emails requesting assistance. Immediate resolution of the average IT support query means that time and travel is not wasted, staff do not wait, and productivity and efficiency is maintained all round.
All too often, the person running a business downplays the necessity of technology – that is, until they lose access to the internet, their ability to invoice or work, and their intellectual property or data.All businesses are now technology businesses, and they require an array of highly qualified and experienced IT professionals to support them. Increasingly, an outsourced model is the only way to obtain the services that are truly required.
The business division of Dial a Nerd has a distinct SME focus and a specialist team of technical engineers, managers and a world-class helpdesk to be able to provide a full breadth of IT services. Visit www.dialanerd.co.za for more information.