Feb 24 2012

4 Things to Keep In Mind When Outsourcing IT

Handing off IT management to an outside company can increase efficiency, but keep these tips in mind when looking for help.

For small businesses with limited technical expertise and staff, outsourced IT operations are a lifesaver. It allows the business to compete on a technical level with other companies that have in-house technical staff, while allowing the rest of the company to focus on building up the core business.

But opting to outsource IT operations doesn’t mean that businesses should step into the relationship blindly. Keep these four tips in mind when looking for a firm to outsource IT operations to.

  • Do your due diligence: Vendors that deliver outsourced IT services vary in their knowledge, skill level and business style. To ensure that an outsourcing vendor meets business needs, SMBs should detail their requirements and expectations.
    Ask for recommendations from trusted sources and then, once a list has been narrowed down, interview at least two and preferably more providers about their existing business partnerships. Also, find out about each potential provider’s business philosophy, security models, finances and track record. Finally, ask to speak with some comparable customers.
  • Think relationship, not price: In some instances, outsourcing can provide dollar savings, but basing your choice on price is likely to be short-sighted — and possibly even costly — especially if the arrangement is suboptimal or fails completely.
  • Small companies should view outsourcing as an opportunity to select a trusted partner to provide needed IT tools so that employees can focus on the company’s business goals.
  • Don’t limit yourself: To find the right vendor, consider local providers but, if appropriate, be willing to broaden your search to include companies elsewhere that offer remote access, including cloud-based services.
  • Take your time: Migrate in phases to give your employees time to adjust and to work out any glitches in the IT functions or the vendor relationship.

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