What’s the right approach for a small business?

Technology has become an important and necessary part of any business no matter what size.  It enables businesses to grow, increase productivity and in many cases reduce costs. Yet the decision of how and when to employ skilled IT staff can be a difficult one, especially if the Directors of the business are not experts in IT themselves.

In-house

For many small businesses, employing an in-house IT person might feel like the obvious solution, fearing that the costs of outsourced IT could escalate outside of their budget. But employing senior and experienced IT Managers is expensive, often leading to the employment of more junior, less experienced IT staff.

As a business Director, having an IT person on the ground day-to day fixing problems can feel reassuring, but employing junior IT staff only, often means the business is only receiving reactive IT support, focussed on fixing problems as they happen.

Lack of IT expertise within a business also leads to poor IT infrastructure decisions, both in terms of best practice and sourcing the right solutions from the start, at best, resulting in an IT platform not stable enough for growth, at worst, an infrastructure which is not secure or fit for current purpose.

Outsourcing

Some small businesses that choose to outsource, seek out a ‘pay-as-you-go’ solution, believing this to be most cost effective, but again this only provides short-term fixes and doesn’t consider the long-term health of your IT infrastructure which could stop many problems arising in the first place.

An ‘always on’ outsourced IT solution could provide the strategic direction and expert advice which brings long term efficiencies and cost savings to the business. Through their experience with other clients, external IT experts will also have working knowledge and experience of new technologies and good relationships with vendors which could prove invaluable to your business.

Hybrid solution

A fully outsourced solution may prove too expensive for some businesses however, but a hybrid solution could provide the best of both worlds.

With junior IT staff providing a cost effective solution for fixing day to day problems, working alongside external experts who can focus on the IT Infrastructure, recommend and source the right solutions and continually monitor your network to spot problems before they occur.

With the right external expertise, this collaborative approach also means your junior IT staff can be nurtured and continue to grow their expertise.  Working alongside an external company can also provide continuity which is critical should your internal staff ever decide to leave.

This external expertise can also be bought on a consultancy basis too, meaning you only pay for the level of advice and additional support you need.