In-house vs. outsourcing: why you might want to keep IT in-house

By Lucy Wright

In previous blogs, we have looked at the advantages of outsourcing IT to a Managed Services Provider and the benefits it can bring to a business. Reduced costs, access to expert skills and mitigating the risk of a key IT team member leaving are just some of the reasons companies choose to outsource some or all their IT. But for other organisations, it makes sense to keep IT functions in-house…

This blog will ask why an organisation might prefer to keep their IT in-house and when could they do so, looking at the circumstances in which keeping IT in-house is not just possible, but beneficial…

 

Why would a business keep IT in-house?

A business might choose to keep IT in-house because it makes sound business-sense or for more personal reasons. IT might be kept in-house by companies who want to:

Keep control and visibility of IT roles - outsourcing means relinquishing a certain amount of control over that role and how it is performed. Companies wanting to retain ultimate control over their IT team may prefer to keep roles in-house.

Communicate with team members face-to-face rather than by email or phone - outsourcing means communicating with an MSP primarily by email or phone, which also means there may be some delay in getting a response. If you prefer face-to-face communication and/or want instant access to IT team members, in-house may be the better option.

Restrict access to data - outsourcing means a wider circle of people can access your data, which requires trust and transparency. Companies who want to keep access to data at an absolute minimum and within the business may prefer to keep IT in-house. That said, outsourcing security can often provide higher standard, more robust data protection.

Have an IT team dedicated solely to them - some companies prefer to be the only 'client' of their IT team. Having an in-house team means the people working for you have a vested interest in the business doing well. They understand the complexities and nuances of the business,and are dedicated to providing IT services solely to you, not to numerous companies that they have no connection with. What outsourcing does offer, though, is access to a wide pool of resources and experience of working with a range of businesses and sectors.

You use custom systems – custom systems built by an in-house team may be more easily managed by keeping your own dedicated IT team. Outsourcing would require training up of the MSP to understand the systems.

 

When could a business keep IT in-house?

So, you've decided you want to keep IT in-house for one or more of the reasons listed above. But, is it possible for any business to keep their IT in-house and not resort to outsourcing? What kind of IT environment needs to exist within a business for this to be possible..? Keeping IT in-house may be possible and preferable if:

A large IT team is in place - if you have an in-house IT team of around 25 people or more, you probably have the skills and number of staff within the team to provide a high-quality service, manage the workload and cover most eventualities, so you don't need to worry if, for example, a key team member left. Keeping your IT in-house in this instance probably makes more sense than outsourcing. If the team is relatively small, it may be beneficial to outsource certain functions to avoid having to replace key team members if they leave.

Numerous people perform the same or similar role and can pick up tasks in each others' absence - if you have two or more people performing the same or similar roles, with an aligned skill set, you may have the in-house expertise to ensure that, even if a key IT team member leaves their role can be absorbed. It might be wise to outsource very specialist roles/functions to an MSP to ensure they are always covered and avoid having to recruit for these should the specialist team member leave.

The company is not likely to expand rapidly  - if the company is not growing and you do not need the flexibility to scale up, you may be more suited to keeping IT in-house. Outsourcing gives you IT services on a per user basis, but if your staff volume is unlikely to change much this may not be necessary. If your business is growing quickly, outsourcing allows you to scale far more easily because services are available on a per user per month basis. This is helpful if you anticipate the team growing rapidly.

 

Can a hybrid approach work?

For many businesses, the ideal IT scenario is a combination of in-house and outsourced services. It is rarely necessary or feasible to either outsource all aspects of IT or keep all aspects in-house. Some sort of in-house IT team is usually essential in all but the smallest companies. So, can a mixed model approach to IT work and is it possible?

The answer is, YES.

A good example would be having an in-house IT team to perform certain functions, but outsourcing IT support. This way, the in-house team can fulfil specific tasks during working hours, but the outsourced IT support desk is there at evening and weekends, when the in-house team is not available.

 

Still unsure whether to keep your IT in-house or outsource?

You can contact Core today to discuss any of our Managed Services with our team.

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