Right-sourcing means finding the optimal balance of in-house and outsourced resources for your organization. For some organizations, right-sourcing might mean nearly 100% outsourcing, while other businesses might be better off with 100% in-house operations. However, the ideal configuration for your organization probably lies somewhere in between.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the value of right-sourcing your IT operations and the role that managed services can play in finding the perfect balance for your business.
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Deciding what to outsource
It’s critical to consider the cost, skill availability, strategic importance, and operational impact associated with each IT role that you’re considering outsourcing.
This is the most obvious factor to consider. If you need to perform a routine IT task for one hour a day, you could ask one of your in-house IT experts to do it, but that probably wouldn’t be the best use of that highly paid professional’s time. You could assign the task to an entry-level IT worker or a non-specialist on your payroll, but that person might not be able to perform the task efficiently or accurately enough to meet your expectations. Hiring a part-time employee is also problematic: this isn’t an agile strategy and there are several hidden costs associated with adding someone to your payroll.
Outsourcing the job to a trained professional is usually the best option is this scenario. Global IT outsourcing has become an $85 billion industry. Outsourcing firms operate at scale and can provide services at a better price point than an in-house resource. It’s also easier to scale back outsourced tasks when they’re no longer required.
As mentioned in a previous article, highly skilled IT professionals are in short supply, so usually isn’t feasible to keep a large team of specialists on payroll. However, relying on just one in-house expert creates a single point of failure; if that employee calls in sick, your business is left exposed to significant risk.
It makes sense to outsource tasks that require specialists that would be impractical to retain in-house. That way, your outsourcing firm becomes responsible for ensuring that skilled resources are available to address your needs. This is also a good approach when you need a specific skill set for a short-term project.
If a specific technology task is critical to your business strategy and provides differentiation or competitive advantage, then you should probably keep that task in-house. More routine technology tasks, however, are great candidates for outsourcing. If the task doesn’t involve highly customized, proprietary workflows or technologies that set your business apart from the competition, offload that responsibility to a specialist.
Some of your technology solutions might be so central to your business that you can’t afford even the slightest dip in performance. Maintaining in-house operations used to be the best way to ensure direct oversight and tight control, but managed services have become a widely accepted solution that marries the convenience, value, and agility of outsourcing with the proactivity and focus on quality that make in-house operations so attractive. More on managed services in a moment.
The consequences of “wrong-sourcing”
Failure to right-source your operations can hurt profitability. Businesses that insist on in-house operations become rigidly structured, and find it more difficult to adjust their technology skill set as the industry evolves. Relying on one or two in-house experts for various mission-critical technologies leaves them more vulnerable to service disruption. You’re also responsible for all hardware, software licenses, cloud subscriptions, solution upgrades, and employee training to keep your technology footprint running smoothly.
Over-reliance on traditional outsourcing is also problematic. Outsourcing technology roles that act as brand differentiators will reduce your competitive edge. It’s more difficult to exert control on how outsourced tasks are executed. Traditional outsourcing firms are also narrowly scoped: they perform specific tasks, but usually don’t suggest better ways to get the job done. Managed service providers (MSPs) provide a more comprehensive and proactive approach to technology support.
How managed services offers new options
As discussed previously, managed services are distinct from traditional outsourcing. They allow your business to offload risk by assuming responsibility for various technology roles. They also provide continual recommendations on how new technologies and methodologies can improve your IT operations. Their consultative stance makes them strategic partners, not just simple order-takers. By keeping your technology team aligned with you organization’s changing needs, an MSP ensures that you’ll never have to worry about skill upgrades or training costs.
Your business can use outsourcing to maximize efficiency and focus on its forte, but it isn’t always obvious whether or not a particular technology task should be outsourced. Partnering with an MSP is a great way to ensure right-sourcing; your MSP will provide expert guidance on how to optimize in-house and outsourced operations, ensuring that you’re getting the best value from your IT investments.
To learn more about how managed services can solve your organization’s right-sourcing equation, please contact Visionet.