Steve Ross: What is outsourced IT support?

Having IT support when you need it is important to most modern businesses, but to ensure you're getting the most out of your IT systems, outsourcing to a managed service provider should be an option.

Shackleton Technologies managing director Steve Ross. Picture: Contributed
Shackleton Technologies managing director Steve Ross. Picture: Contributed

Outsourcing IT support is no different than outsourcing any other aspect of your business. By subcontracting your IT systems and functions to an outside party, which can provide you with tech support and strategic guidance, you can potentially enhance your business’ performance, whilst reducing your costs.

To understand the full benefits of outsourcing, however, it’s important you understand what the process involves.

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Since IT outsourcing options can include hardware and software, physical and virtual resources, and a number of computing processes, to some the concept of IT outsourcing can seem vague or daunting. With a managed IT service provider however, more technical aspects such ongoing IT maintenance and repair duties can be handed over to a specialist outside team, which will take responsibility for monitoring network performance, software issues and cyber-security threats.

But should you outsource your business IT or not?

There are advantages and disadvantages to outsourcing your company’s IT. The benefits of outsourcing include financial savings: you won’t have to hire such a large internal IT team, but will still gain the experience and expertise of a dedicated IT team.

Your employees can focus on clients and productivity, whilst your IT provider keeps your systems up to date and efficient on your behalf. Managed service partners can also provide you with long-term IT strategic planning, meaning your business can be prepared for future growth and expansion.

On the other hand, moving to an outsourced IT team can also be frustrating as you will no longer have someone to call on at a moment’s notice to assist with any IT problem you may encounter. However, with the right company providing your outsourced support, you can be safe in the knowledge that any issues will be dealt with quickly and effectively. More serious issues will always be prioritised to minimise the impact to your business and clients.

By building a strong relationship with your outsource team, and trusting them to deliver for your business, you can be sure that no matter what IT issues your business faces, you will have a strong partner to help advise and support you.

Your decision to outsource should be based on business goals: in order to implement it successfully, it is important that you understand what you want from the process, and what it means to have an outsourced IT team. If your business is happy with the way things are today, don’t rule outsourcing out completely – as your business grows, outsourcing your IT infrastructure might become a no-brainer.

• Steve Ross is managing director of Shackleton Technologies