Integrated Business Systems (IBS)
999 Riverview Drive, Suite 280
Totowa, NJ 07512
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Release Date: Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Media Contact: Christine Ziomek (201) 796-7788
Why Outsourcing Your Information Technology Might Make Sense
Small- and Mid-Size Businesses Embrace the Benefits of Managed Services
By Michael Mullin, president
March 4, 2014 – Today’s information technology infrastructure is incredibly complicated, and its rapid rate of change is nothing short of mind-boggling. Even those of us in the technology industry are challenged to understand and prioritize which of the many moving pieces are worth grabbing and adopting. How, then, can small- and mid-size companies whose businesses are not tech-related successfully stay on top of what they need in order to keep their systems current, let alone advanced enough to create competitive advantage?
In many cases they cannot. And with everything from the escalating risks associated with business-critical functions like collecting and protecting customer payment data, to confusion over what the imminent support end-of-life for several popular Windows business products, to the pros and cons of cloud computing, it is no wonder that many companies are choosing to outsource their IT function through Managed Services. In short, companies like IBS are seeing a surge in demand from clients looking to hire a third-party provider to fill the role of an internal chief information officer.
IT outsourcing comes with a number of immediate benefits.
Cost Control and Reduction
Outsourcing converts fixed IT costs into variable costs and allows companies to budget effectively. The company pays for what it uses, as needed. On the other hand, organizations that try to “do” IT in-house often invest significant time in related research, development and implementation – all of which increase costs. Additionally, hiring and training an IT staff can be expensive, and temporary employees may not live up to expectations. Outsourcing lets businesses focus their human resources where they need them most. They no longer have to financially support employees dedicated to the IT function, nor do they have to worry about training.
Certification, Qualification and Experience
Unless you are a trained technology professional, how can you really tell if a potential IT employee is qualified? Certifications like Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) are important, but so is experience. Outsourcing to a specialized firm ensures the involvement of a team with the proper skills and backgrounds. This is especially important when it comes to solving problems. An in-house IT employee leads an isolated existence – no matter how much they train. Good IT service companies are exposed to multiple systems and network configurations. Very few issues can arise that they have not already seen (and solved).
Rapid New Technology Implementation
A quality outsourced IT service organization will have the resources to start new projects right away, where handling the same project in-house might involve a company spending weeks or months dedicated to hiring and training the right people, and providing the support they need. They also can help businesses vet new technology products to identify the advancements that will bring real ROI, rather than just bells and whistles, and advise them on an appropriate timeframe and budget for adoption.
Renewed Core-business Focus
Businesses have finite resources, and managers have limited time and attention. Outsourcing can help companies focus on their core business by eliminating the distractions associated with complex IT decisions. In other words, companies do what they do well, and an experienced IT services provider enables them to stay centered.
Risk Reduction, Compliance and Security
Is your firewall up to date? Do you have a DMZ installed? Do you audit your workstations and servers? Has your company implemented PCI security standards and work to maintain those standards? Every business investment carries a certain amount of risk. Markets, competition, government regulations, financial conditions and technologies all change very quickly. For example, the many available forms of transacting business and collecting payment electronically today necessitates impeccable due diligence to ensure the privacy of client data, sensitive competitive information and more. Managed Services providers assume a significant amount of this type of technology-related risk, especially in the areas of security and compliance.
A Level Playing Field
Most small businesses simply cannot afford to match the in-house support services that larger companies maintain. However, an independent, third-party-managed cost structure and economy of scale enable IT service providers to give their clients all the benefits of a solid IT infrastructure. In this regard, outsourcing can help small companies act “big” by giving them access to the cutting-edge technology and high-level expertise traditionally enjoyed only by larger organizations.
Of course, not every Managed Services provider is equal. When choosing an IT outsourcing partner, look for longevity and reputation. Ask what experience they have supporting businesses like yours, and whether they are certified in the technologies you are using or expect to use. Determine if they have the resources to expand their involvement as your operation grows, and whether they will be able to adapt their service structure to accommodate peaks and valleys encountered along the way. Find out what kind of commitment they will make to understanding your company’s unique needs, how their customer service is structured and if the field engineering staff will respond quickly and effectively to issues that arise. As in any hiring situation, asking the right questions from the outset is the key to setting the foundation for a comfortable and beneficial long-term relationship.
About Michael Mullin
Michael Mullin’s real estate technology career spans more than two decades, during which he consistently has delivered positive business outcomes for his clients, leveraging technology to improve operating results. Mullin joined IBS in 2010 to align sales, marketing and professional services with the company’s strong regional success.