The “age-old” question of whether I should hire an in-house IT person or team, or look to outsource my IT needs is one that is hotly debated in business circles. In this blog, we look to deconstruct some of the pros and cons of both methods and arrive at a logical decision based on your company’s structure and budget.
First, we need to look at what has changed with IT infrastructure and technology. Arguably, with faster internet speed and more bandwidth, remote technology, or the ability to host remote sessions to help solve IT problems, has progressed significantly. It is much easier to quickly load up a preferred remote access tool and start digging into an end user’s problem than it was 10 years ago. Even if a company is not a managed client, it is quick to launch a remote meeting, screen share, and take control of an end user’s machine to sort out the issue.
The KR Group has collected data on remote vs. on-site IT issues weekly for a number of years. We have concluded, across multiple company sizes and vertical markets, that approximately 8 out of 10 IT problems can be solved remotely without ever going on-site. Looking at more recent data, the number tends to shift closer to 9 out of 10 IT issues are solved remotely — data that tends to support the above paragraph as well. All this to structure the idea that outsourced IT may become a more rational idea depending on a company’s needs and budget.
So, what are the benefits of completely outsourcing your IT? One of the main arguments is that IT companies like The KR Group have a broad set of talent among the various engineers employed. For many companies today, the technology stack has become much more complex than in previous years. Numerous companies have hybrid setups with both on-premise and cloud applications that have to work together to keep things running smoothly. Other companies use complex ERP or line of business applications that need expert vendor support. Companies may have both “fat-clients” or standard PCs and laptops, but also have a virtual computing environment that needs a lot of TLC and can be complex to troubleshoot. The list could continue for some time, but for brevities’ sake, we can stop there. The general idea is that you need tons of talent and education to make modern IT environments run correctly and securely. This is where out-sourced IT makes sense from a strategic and budgetary standpoint.
Managed service providers like The KR Group hire engineers that each have expertise in specific IT disciplines. This helps address the challenges of today’s IT environment with its multitude of complexities. It is unlikely that a company could hire a single engineer with all of the talent and knowledge required because that person is extremely rare, and/or extremely expensive. Thus out-sourced IT, or managed services helps address all of the needs of the modern IT environment at roughly the cost of a single in-house tier 1 engineer with benefits.
The managed service model also provides redundancy of staff, where if an in-house IT person were to become sick or go on vacation, IT issues tend to pile and not get solved until that person returns. Many IT professionals have worked at a company with limited IT resources. Ask any of them, and most will tell you that all they can do is keep up with the day to day support requests. Few companies staff the number of necessary IT personnel to do important tasks such as patching software regularly, doing security and firmware updates on networking gear, or making certain that back-ups are working properly and are being tested regularly for validity. It’s generally not a function of companies unwilling to do this; it usually is a function of money or resources. Managed services can address both shortcomings; providers have a talent pool to address all IT problems with consistency and can do it for a price that meets most company’s budgets. Thus, where does the in-house model still fit? This is a challenging question and one that would be individual to each company. It depends on company culture and how much hands-on assistance end users need. The KR Group does offer the ability to purchase a block of support hours to test out our service. More and more I believe the managed service model will take hold as IT environment complexity continues to increase and computer users become more comfortable using technology. It’s funny, one of my older relatives was barely able to turn on an I-phone on a few years back, but now they are Instagramming with the best of the youth.