In part three of our Technology Assessment Framework series, we look at what to do when your IT assessment recommends outsourcing part—or all—of your infrastructure.
No matter what kind of company you lead, today’s fast-moving digital economy demands a secure, reliable IT infrastructure. That means at some point you should conduct an IT assessment to tell you:
- If your IT infrastructure operates as efficiently, reliably and securely as possible
- If you spend too much on basic IT infrastructure
- If you have the best IT talent to run your operations
- If you’re vulnerable to cybersecurity incidents or IT disasters could hurt—or even cripple—your business
In previous posts in this series, we’ve looked at five keys to conducting a successful IT assessment, as well as how to assess your IT risk profile. So, what do you when your assessment and risk profile analysis indicate you should outsource all, or parts of, your infrastructure?
Your assessment might recommend outsourcing because it identifies potential cost or performance benefits—or both! The assessment might also find ways to free up skilled internal resources to work on more critical areas.
Still, you may be wondering: “Isn’t my IT team the best group to run my IT infrastructure? After all, they are the ones who use it every day.” A recommendation to outsource is seldom just a reflection on current staff. It is more directed at optimizing all the assets at a company’s disposal. Consider the following:
- While it may be true that your own IT staff knows how you configured your systems for your business needs, there may new solutions available they are not aware of that could have a real impact on your business.
- There may be critical areas of your business that you cannot afford to staff appropriately. Cyber Security, Backup and Disaster Recovery solutions are good examples of key activities that you can outsource to provide better solutions.
- New business and expansion may make it difficult for you to find and hire the right resources.
- You may be able to free up existing staff, giving them time to investigate IT solutions to key business problems more thoroughly.
- The can meet the need to provide redundant staff for critical functions in a more cost-effective way.
An effective outsourcing arrangement can mean better service to your employees, suppliers, and customers while reducing your IT costs. And equally important, you’ll sleep better at night knowing highly trained professionals will take care of your cybersecurity, backup and disaster needs should an unforeseen incident occur.
But it’s a big job.
Hiring a consulting team can help you complete the process of assessing your needs and choosing the right infrastructure supplier. Essentially, it comes down to understanding:
- Your company– If you aren’t an IT company, you’ll likely need some help recruiting the right people to operate or assess your complicated IT infrastructure
- Your organization’s level of stability, and whether you have the infrastructure and the people to support it
- Your organization’s tolerance for change– How much is too much, too fast?
Next, you need to find a vendor who considers your ROI costs and capability. Every IT implementation has known and unknown costs and your IT provider should understand both. Keep in mind that while outsourcing your IT infrastructure may result in cost savings, you can optimize those savings by comparing a range of providers, including local and national firms. Also, look for vendors who can help you find opportunities to lower overall corporate costs by deploying enterprise-level technology, like cloud phone systems.
Of course, your vendor should also be sensitive to risk. It should be up to date on all the latest hardware and applications, as well as licensing for those resources. Your supplier also must demonstrate that they understand your cybersecurity risks and are ready to help you be as prepared as possible to come back from any IT disaster.
People, Process and Functionality
Finally, you need to evaluate three key concepts: People, Process and Functionality.
People are the most important part of any business, and while there are plenty of IT resources out there to hire, you need to make sure it’s the right resource at the right time. For some processes, it may make more sense to hire out than to pay full-time staff. And, it can be risky to have too much critical information in the mind of one person.
Your vendor should evaluate how standard, known, and reliable your processes are in comparison to customized processes or procedures altered to solve short-term issues. Ideally, you need a supplier who helps you make processes as replicable as possible while addressing your business’s unique needs. Here are a few processes to consider:
- Event management
- Incident management
- Problem management
- Change management
- Access management
- Asset management
- Configuration management
- Request management
- Supplier management
Look for a vendor who has the most stable, leading-edge technology that does not require frequent future changing and updating. Also, ask each company’s references for its track record of timely and correct changes.
Embrace the Potential
Deciding to outsource your IT infrastructure is a tough decision—and choosing which parts to outsource is even tougher. But working with a partner who knows the ins and outs of the process can help you save money, better serve your customers and employees, and be better prepared for the unexpected.