When is outsourcing your IT a bad idea?

You’re probably wondering why on earth an MSP (Managed Service Provider) would think outsourcing your IT is a bad idea.

Well it all boils down to how you interpret the word outsourcing. Contrary to what many people believe, IT outsourcing does not mean washing your hands of IT all together. It’s not about making your entire IT team redundant and handing responsibility for the entire operation to a third party you have only recently met.

In truth whilst this may work for organisations at certain stages of their growth, for the majority, this is not a good idea.

Here’s the argument for keeping some IT in house:

  • You get to keep control

For some it’s all about direct control. Outsourcing means relinquishing a certain amount of control and how it is performed. Companies wanting to retain ultimate control over their IT may prefer to keep activities in-house.

  • You may get quicker response to issues

Should a crucial issue arise internally, in some instances your internal IT team can step in and resolve more quickly than an MSP.

  • You restrict access to data

Outsourcing means a wider circle of people can access some data. Certain industries are rightly protective of their data. As such they may prefer to keep responsibility for IT in-house.

  • Your internal team understands the business better than your outsourced company

Your IT team will be closer to the business than your MSP may ever get. They understand the complexities and nuances of the business and will be better equipped to ensure IT is fully aligned to business objectives.

Whilst we would debate some of the detail, there is a strong position to be taken.

So, having highlighted that outsourcing shouldn’t and doesn’t mean getting rid of IT entirely, and because there are a number of benefits for keeping IT in house, is there a strong case for a mixed IT model that uses a combination of in-house and outsourced service – a hybrid IT  support model?

The answer is yes.

It is rarely necessary or feasible to either outsource all aspects of IT or keep all in-house. It is not a binary decision. Some sort of in-house IT team is essential in most companies.

Here’s how a hybrid IT support model would work.

Let’s think of it in terms of a musical analogy. Your IT team gets to write the score and conduct the music, whilst your MSP plays the strings and blows the horns.

Your in-house IT team leads and directs IT for the reasons we have explained above, but your IT support is outsourced and fully supported 24/7. This gives your internal IT room to breathe…and time to focus on driving value back in to the business. You get shot of the boring (utility) IT to your MSP. In turn, you maintain your more highly skilled IT technicians to focus on the more relevant (strategic) IT.

And whilst your internal IT team will have their eyes focused on the business as a whole, your outsourced partner will have their ears closer to the ground and can bring the benefits and experience of working with other businesses and sectors.

In conclusion then, outsourcing your IT is a bad idea if you think it means getting rid of IT all together and having no internal IT function.

IT outsourcing is a good idea when used as a part of a hybrid IT support model. You choose the IT functions you want a third party to look after – infrastructure and/or end user support for example – and keep your core IT team inhouse to focus on the strategic direction of IT within the business.




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