IN-HOUSE IT?

TO OUT­SOURCE OR NOT TO OUT­SOURCE

In Flight Magazine - - FEATURES - { TEXT: AARON THORN­TON, MD, DIAL A NERD | IM­AGES © IS­TOCK­PHOTO.COM }

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.

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