Some problems with IT outsourcing

The economy has hit everyone hard. Many companies have had to pare back departments, employees, budgets… on nearly every level. And many companies have done something no one thought they would ever do — jettison their IT departments in favor of outsourcing. On paper, it seems to make perfect sense. You have a company willing to handle your IT needs on an on-call basis. You’re not paying staff to sit around and wait for problems, nor having to pay benefits or deal with the issues that come with having computer engineers on hand.
But along with that approach there is a handful of issues you may not be prepared for. Let’s examine some of them.

– Real cost
There are costs involved with IT outsourcing that many do not consider. For example, when you schedule an appointment with your outsourced IT Company, you’re going to be charged for the drive time there and back. And what about when that outsourced engineer has no idea how to fix your issue and has to learn on the job? Are you willing to pay for that? It’s one thing if your own employees learn as they go. But it’s a different story when a contracted employee does it.

– Time factor
When you have an emergency, it will have to wait until your outsourced IT department can get someone there. Drive time strikes again. You’re also subject to the calendar of your outsourced company, and many factors can cause your emergency to be pushed back. At this point, you are at the mercy of your outsourced IT department.

– Familiarity with network and systems
When your IT is in-house, your IT workers know your system and your network really well. They probably built it. So it’s likely that in-house IT workers can keep your systems running more smoothly and solve emergencies much faster. Of course, as time passes an outsourced IT department will learn your systems and networks.

– Employee relationships
When employees are in-house, they know one another and know how to interact well with one another. If you are outsourcing your IT, you may or may not get the same engineer showing up every time. That means your employees must get used to different contractors and how they work. With an in-house IT staff, relationships can form and solidify. Of course, that’s not to say relationships with outside staff can’t be built.

– Liability
There are certain instances where information or situations can become a liability when a third-party is brought in. Security measures may need to be implemented to protect company data, employees, systems… everything can become a liability. You never know when data is accidentally going to walk off on an external hard-drive or be left in a car and stolen.

Outsourcing your IT functions may appear to make good sense, but beware of certain side effects that could negate the benefits.