In-house vs. outsourced IT support – who comes out on top?
Now, we know what you’ll be thinking… Q2Q is an managed IT support provider, so how on earth could they deliver an impartial view on this topic?!
And whilst it’s true that we do act as an external service provider for other companies – and depend on them seeking our help – we don’t gloss over fact that there are advantages to having internal IT resources and expertise in order to sell ourselves. In fact, quite the opposite!
As well as acting as a bolt-on IT team for many of our clients, for others we work alongside their in-house technical team to ensure that all systems are secure and running as smoothly as possible. As we’ve explored previously, it’s impossible to work within silos in this industry – collaboration is the key to getting the best results, so we wouldn’t be doing our job properly if we pretended that in-house technical teams didn’t have their merits.
So, business interests aside, where do the strengths and weaknesses lie in the internal vs. external debate?
There are many benefits to having an internal team taking care of your IT. No one knows your business like the people at the heart of it, so a designated support team can utilise their strong skill set at the same time as developing specialised knowledge that’s based on your specific infrastructure and processes. This is particularly helpful for more technical businesses that have a very complex network or individually designed systems.
Proactivity and responsiveness are two more plus points that come along with an internal team. Having the IT experts on-site should mean that any issues or emergencies can be tackled with minimal delay, which is especially helpful where security is concerned and acting fast is imperative.
Whilst external support can be useful and more cost-effective in the short-term, for larger companies with enough internal capacity and a high reliance on tech, building an internal team can be a better option in the long run. Establishing an in-house tech division with the capacity to grow as your business does is a sensible move for companies that are heavily reliant on IT systems – particularly as down the line, the level of ongoing support they’ll be able to deliver will be difficult for an external partner to match.
For SMEs, where the investment of time and money is concerned, outsourced IT partners tend to be the most convenient and affordable option. Rather than bringing an in-house specialist on board – and having to go through an entire recruitment process, not to mention shelling out an IT engineer or manager’s salary – agreeing on a monthly payment plan with a reputable, recommended supplier is undoubtedly the more straightforward option.
One key pain point when it comes to relying on an in-house IT whizz – especially amongst small and micro businesses – is that this person can easily become overloaded with everyone’s tech-related questions, queries and complaints. With managed IT support providers, you’ll have more than one expert at your beck and call, inevitably offering a more expansive bank of specialist knowledge than one individual can. So no matter how complex your issue, someone should be able to help!
As well as having the reassurance that your systems are in good hands, delegating headache-inducing tech to an external provider can also free up more time and resources internally – meaning your employees can focus on day-to-day activities and you can direct your attention towards the bigger picture. Plus, you don’t need to worry about things like training and development with a ready-made external team – delivering a high level of technical capability and insight is precisely what they’re there for!
Building a united front
Of course, as with most debates, there’s a lot to be gained from combining both sides. As tech continues to advance and our working lives become ever more entrenched in the digital world, the need for IT support – both internally and externally – will inevitably grow too. Having in-house experts to handle of-the-moment issues will therefore only become more important, as will having a specialist team working away in the background to ensure all systems are ticking away smoothly and being safeguarded effectively.
So, back to the main question – does in-house or outsourcing come out on top?
Ultimately, there’s no clear winner. And whilst declaring a draw might seem like a diplomatic move, from our experience, the best approach tends to be a hybrid one. Where possible, having some internal technical expertise backed up by an external IT specialist can be an effective yet still budget-friendly option for smaller companies with limited resources – enabling them to get the best of both worlds.
Interested in finding out more about the managed IT support packages we offer? Check out our popular IT assessment as a starting point and get in touch to chat through your requirements!