Achieving IT efficiencies may be an organization’s major expectation from outsourcing. By outsourcing, an organization may have access to people, processes and technology that it might not otherwise economically obtain. Outsourcing often provides access to advanced technology that can result in distinct technical leadership. It can be a way of keeping up to date with changing technology and gaining access to IT expertise and, through this, improving the quality of IT services delivered to the business and to customers.
On the surface, outsourced IT management seems to solve many of the problems with in-house management.
By outsourcing to IT experts, you gain access to specific expertise for much less than employing a dedicated IT manager, and you can adjust the services you need as your needs change (providing your IT partner is flexible enough to do so).
And in the case where you do have in-house IT staff, you can always outsource some components (e.g. data backup) – leaving your in-house team to focus on high-priority projects that have the potential to add significant value to your business.
These are all great reasons to consider an outsourced solution, but you should also know that many outsourced solutions are based around the outdated ‘Reactive Approach’ to IT support.
This is where you outsource your systems management to a company who responds to your IT issues by sending a technician to your site after the problem has already occurred.
This has several drawbacks:
1. It often takes a considerable amount of TIME for technicians to arrive on site, the problem to be diagnosed, parts to be ordered and the fix implemented
2. Problems don’t always occur during standard business hours, even though your business may still have to keep on functioning round the clock
3. Service Technicians are usually charged out at a high hourly rate, which gives them little incentive to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.
Aside from the drawbacks outlined above, another risk with the ‘Reactive Approach’ is that essential maintenance tasks tend to be overlooked. Things like:
1. Monitored daily data backups and regular testing of restoration capabilities
2. Application of security patches to defend against the latest viruses and threats
3. Strategic planning of your IT systems to be go beyond the purchase of your next computer or server to mapping out where you need to be in 6, 12 or 24 months and the most cost-effective way to get there (for example, a few hundred extra dollars spent on a better server now might save you from buying a new one in 12 months once your business grows).
So the key drawback with many outsourced solutions is that many problems are solved AFTER they become a problem, while maintenance tasks are often overlooked which leads to… a higher likelihood of problems!
And in IT, fixing a problem that has already occurred is much more expensive than preventing it from happening in the first place: “An ounce of prevention is worth a gallon of cure.”
If only you could predict IT problems before they occur…
It turns out that technology now exists that allows you to do exactly that. This is the basis of the ‘Proactive Approach’ to IT management that has now superseded the outdated ‘Reactive Approach’.