IT, while it is important, it is a support function within your company. The IT department are there to ensure that equipment is working properly and is up to date. They deal with the peripherals and do not contribute directly to profits. That means that they are an overhead and can generally be quite an expensive one too, as software, hardware, and licences have to be kept up to date. Like the quality and maintenance departments, IT are people you need but don’t want; their role is crucial, but adds nothing to what you are trying to sell. So what are the alternatives?
- Reduce IT headcount: – It’s never the largest department anyway, but there may be scope to cut back further without affecting cover.
- Outsource your IT: – If you can get an outside company to take on your IT needs, you have the possibility of maintaining your cover without having permanent IT people under your roof.
There are many companies that specialise in providing IT services to industries that cover the areas that are necessary within a business, but are expensive overheads to have. IT, Quality auditing, accountancy, building services, and catering can be covered by contractors who, for a monthly charge, will provide the services you need without the requirement to have those people in full time employment. This can cut down on unnecessary expenditure and ensure that you have cover when you need it.
The benefits of outsourcing your IT needs are:
- Reduced costs: – You will undoubtedly still have the expenses of buying and installing necessary software, hardware, and licences. If you choose to outsource, you will not have the continued overheads of wages and supporting an IT department in your building.
- Up to date knowledge: – IT contractors will be aware of all the latest needs and requirements for your business. They will be knowledgeable of all the different hardware changes and software patches, some of which can easily be overlooked by an in-house IT department who do not have to keep abreast of technological changes on a day to day basis.
- Core business focus: – By taking peripherals out of your business equation, you are able to concentrate on what you do best, and market your product or service to ensure it reaches its highest potential.
- Reduced worry: – Having a plan of maintenance will give you the peace of mind that back-ups and upgrades will be carried out as they are needed.
Of course, there are some areas where employing an off-site company may not be the best solution. Sudden outages of your computing power through fault or virus may take a little time to organise and may end up having a profound effect on your business. In truth however, full computer shutdowns are very rare as operating systems evolve to cope with them, and uninterruptable power supplies kick in within seconds, making a blackout a simple and deflectable. Virus intrusions are deflected by good firewalls and anti-virus software, so as long as you undertake your planned maintenance, outsourcing your IT will have little or no detrimental issues.
About the author:
Shane O’Connor is a freelance blogger who writes on business issues. Shane enjoys cycling and has particapted in many charity cycles.