Written by Vikki Durden, Head of Operations at UK IT Service
With UK businesses feeling the full force of the current coronavirus pandemic, budgets and spending are firmly under the spotlight.
Before nationwide lockdown measures temporarily shut down many businesses and caused major disruption for those able to continue, IT investment was noted as a key priority for businesses. Now more than ever, it’s vital this investment marks significant reward with minimal risk.
For many, transitioning to an outsourced managed IT service signifies just that.
A scalable solution
A common challenge for IT professionals is managing a consistent workload. For IT teams in small businesses, it often means being swept off their feet with urgent, time-consuming projects, to be followed up sustained periods of down-time.
It’s a problem for employers too, for whom the aim is efficiency – matching resources with demand at all times. This is especially true in the current unpredictable workplace.
Outsourcing IT is a game-changer for SMEs. Instead of relying on a small internal team or even a single IT Manager to work through high-volume projects, outsourcing gives them the capacity, plus the technical know-how, to breeze through IT tasks.
Managed IT solutions providers act as an extension to the business, so when demanding projects arise, they get instant access to an unlimited amount of specialist knowledge and labour to get the work done.
Then, when demand slows, businesses pause outsourced work, solving the costly and inefficient challenge of hiring temporary talent to meet sudden demand.
Counting the costs
Employing an in-house IT team has its benefits. They can begin project work or technical fixes immediately and build long-lasting relationships, understanding business expectations.
However, achieving these relationships while also accessing the skills needed to solve all IT challenges and enable digital transformation simply isn’t financially viable for many SMEs.
Employing a dedicated IT team is expensive. Businesses must not only cover the cost of salaries but employee benefits, training budgets, onboarding resources and more. Even during downtime or unexpected periods like the current pandemic, these expenses must be covered.
Unlike an in-house team, when businesses outsource IT projects, they only pay for what they need. When demand is high, they have the resources at their fingertips to complete projects efficiently and when it slows, these costs are paused.
Importantly for SMEs, outsourcing only when needed frees up capital day-to-day to invest in growth. Cashflow is also an important consideration when it comes to attracting external investment.
Look to the future
Outsourcing isn’t just a short-term solution. Those committed to forming lasting partnerships with IT solutions providers can benefit from a cost-effective and efficient way of planning and implementing their IT strategy.
More businesses are recognising the value of working with contractors to deliver long-term transformation projects, with a third of SMEs now actively outsourcing work. However, the way they are approaching these projects is changing.
It’s no longer just a quick fix to an unexpected challenge – businesses are trusting external companies to deliver the projects previously left to internal teams, like building out their whole IT infrastructure.
SMEs can outsource forward-thinking tasks like IT systems audits, IT roadmapping, strategising, budgeting and even project management to qualified specialists, without the costs associated with hiring a dedicated IT Director and a team to carry out the workload.
For ambitious SMEs, outsourcing levels the playing field with their competitors, too. It gives them access to the skills and knowledge of a larger team of experienced IT managers, without the financial risk of hiring a team with these skills in the early stages of the business.
Productivity is key for ambitious businesses. It allows them to meet demand, build a platform for growth and deliver consistent results for clients. However, it’s only possible in an environment where expectations are defined and employees are given the resources to meet them efficiently.
SMEs must be able to adapt to new challenges and meet demand without compromising on productivity. Results shouldn’t suffer as the business grows.
Outsourcing provides businesses with a platform for growth, giving them access to not only the resource pool to cope with increasing demand but also the specialist knowledge needed to take on more complex projects.
Plus, it enables employees to focus on day-to-day duties while contractors take on these additional tasks, giving businesses a vital transition period as they adapt to new challenges. The result for businesses is seamless growth and minimal downtime.
Security and compliance are also significant concerns within the IT sector, with changing regulations draining resources. These days, IT managers spend more time than ever on compliance admin tasks, with progressive business opportunities falling by the wayside.
Those working with specialist contractors have the peace of mind of knowing these complex and time-consuming admin tasks are in the hands of dedicated professionals, freeing up employees to focus on creating an innovative and rewarding environment.
About the author
Vikki Durden is Head of Operations at UK IT Service. Vikki joined UK IT Service in 2013 with an IT consultancy background and works directly with London businesses to deliver seamless, secure and reliable IT support, in a way that suits them.