The current coronavirus pandemic has thrust business spending into the spotlight
With many businesses closing – or forced to cut costs through downscaling and redundancies – maximising efficiency and streamlining budgets is a must.
Outsourcing is seen by many as simply a quick fix to small challenges or dedicated projects, and not an accessible platform for growth and long-term savings. However, the reality is, working with an external provider could be the key to efficiency and productivity for businesses.
IT can be frustratingly inconsistent for managers and in-house teams in small to medium-sized businesses. Those in the IT department often find themselves swept off their feet, struggling to deliver high-volume projects on time, before experiencing periods of downtime shortly after.
The challenge for business owners is finding balance. When demand is high, the temptation is to invest in growing the team to speed up delivery, then when it slows, they’re left considering downsizing, with the IT team under-worked.
For a growing number of businesses, the answer is outsourcing. It represents a simple solution for matching resources with demand, allowing them to scale up or down as needed.
When unexpected projects arise or demand is high, businesses can instantly access the labour-power needed to resolve issues or deliver projects quickly and efficiently. Then, between projects, they cut the costs, freeing up cash to invest in other areas.
However, for SMEs, it represents more than just cost-efficiency. The potential to access the specialist skills, knowledge and capacity of an entire team of IT managers allows them to go toe-to-toe with larger competitors. They’re no longer restricted by salary limitations and can allocate funds where needed, allowing them to pitch for larger, more complex projects.
A financial boost
Growing a dedicated in-house IT team has its positives in instant and reliable responses to rising issues or new projects. However, with technology playing a role in virtually every aspect of modern business, assembling a team with the skills and resources to tackle every demand is increasingly unrealistic.
Onboarding full-time employees is expensive. Businesses must cover salaries, benefits and training budgets among other expenses, and when looking to grow a team, these costs quickly add up.
However, when outsourcing work to third-party specialists, businesses only cover the costs for the work they receive. For SMEs struggling with cash-flow, this blueprint allows them to target their budget where it’s needed and get off the ground. They can turn their attention in-house once they have established client retainers and achieved stability.
Critically for SMEs, outsourcing IT services and only paying in periods of peak demand frees up capital year-round, to invest in growth and expansion. Plus, cashflow is a key asset when it comes to attracting external investment.
Not just a quick fix
Outsourcing is often unfairly labelled as a short-term solution. It is seen as a way of quickly meeting unexpected demand or patching bugs. However, for those willing to adopt outsourcing as a long-term strategy, the rewards include an efficient and cost-effective platform for growth.
For SMEs willing to build lasting relationships with third-party IT providers, they act as an extension to the team. Investing this time allows external providers to achieve the intricate working knowledge of the business in the same way a team of employees would.
These businesses can look to the future, using the extensive knowledge of a team of senior IT specialists to help them build out their entire infrastructure, roadmap for future success and most importantly, deliver the projects.
It allows them to fast-track success, avoiding the lengthy and costly process of building an internal team with the skills needed to facilitate this progression.
Plus, when working with local IT providers, there is the opportunity for regular meetings and site visits, giving employers access to the instant response and reliability that makes an in-house team so desirable.
Productivity is key
Productivity is the lifeblood of SMEs, with the weight of demand and responsibility hanging heavy on each employee.
The challenge for many, however, is providing employees with the platform to focus on their main roles. For many, the reality is that employees end up pitching in with different tasks and helping out where needed, with their own roles taking a backseat.
Outsourcing IT services doesn’t mean simply replacing an IT Director or team but can instead mean adding external talent to the mix. It gives them access to additional resources when unexpected tasks arrive and frees employees up to focus on their day-to-day tasks.
For example, if a sudden cybersecurity threat or compliance issue arises, SMEs may turn to a third-party provider – assigning the task to those with the specialist skills to make light work of the project.
Meanwhile, in-house IT professionals are able to focus on innovating and streamlining internal processes, making life easier for the wider team and testing opportunities for improved efficiency and growth.
About the Author
Vikki Durden is Head of Operations at UK IT Service. UK IT Service provides customer-focused, Director-led IT for UK and international businesses with a presence in London. We offer 24/7 remote IT Support & helpdesk services, scheduled or on-demand engineer visits (onsite “smart hands”), IT consultancy and project planning (includes office set up and moves, hardware installs, hardware and software auditing, maintenance and fault resolution). We do all this, and much more for UK and international businesses with offices in London and the South East.
Featured image: ©Denisismagilov