Information technology (IT) is an essential yet delicate aspect of your business. You always risk experiencing data breaches, malware, phishing, password attacks, or ransomware. All these, if not proactively managed, can lead to the downfall of your business.
That’s why you need more substantial IT management. Even if you have an in-house team, they may be unable to cover the vast number of problems you’re bound to face. So, instead of simply two or three experts, why not outsource an IT firm?
A typical IT outsourcing company has dozens of employees, each with unique qualifications and areas of practice. This expansiveness ensures they can tackle a wide variety of IT-related threats and issues, keeping your business running.
You may want to distinguish between outsourcing and managed services first.
The latter entails a holistic approach to providing operational support to clients over several years. On the other hand, outsourcing is more short term. This means you delegate a specific IT task to a third-party company only as needed.
For instance, you may call managed services experts when you have an issue you’d like to fix, such as a network problem, promptly.
That doesn’t mean outsourcing can’t provide cutting-edge solutions. It actually allows you to save on costs because they can monitor your servers remotely without needing dedicated office space, salaries, and benefits. Furthermore, they can help you reduce downtime in your operations.
If you plan to outsource your IT team, here are 12 tips and pieces of advice to do it successfully.
Table of Contents
- Select the Right Provider
- Delegate Specific Tasks
- Define Your Objectives and Scope
- Have a Written Contract
- Begin With a Pilot Project
- Ready Your In-House Team
- Ask About the Provider’s Security Policies
- Monitor And Evaluate Performance
- Communicate Frequently
- Appoint One Manager
- Connect with Your Team
- Consider the Budget
1. Select the Right Provider
You must select the right outsourced team for your business to ensure success. They should have in-depth IT knowledge and be able to meet your business goals.
Take your time during your search and shortlist a few companies. Then, scrutinize their capabilities, reputation, strategies, service models, and the benefits they can bring to your business. You can also check previous clients’ reviews to know how they’ve handled their previous projects.
After that, check the provider’s licensing and certification. You’d want to work with a company with all the licenses allowing them to use specific software. Their staff should also have the relevant certificates showing they’re qualified to handle the IT work.
On the same note, look at the value they can provide you rather than basing your hiring decision solely on the price. You may go for those that charge lower rates. But they may not have the resources or the workforce to cater to your business needs. It might help to choose a slightly pricier service to get the coverage you want.
Always strive to find an outsourced team that’ll help you take your business to the next level.
2. Delegate Specific Tasks
It’s never enough to onboard an outsourced IT company without specifying the exact tasks they should handle. It breeds confusion, making you waste a lot of time having a back-and-forth with the company.
If you have an existing in-house IT team, clearly distinguish their roles from those of the IT services provider. Of course, they should work in unison, but specifying their roles significantly fosters accountability. No party will avoid handling a particular task thinking the other party is supposed to do it.
Remember, IT is just one of the several tasks businesses outsource. You may also outsource digital marketing, accounting, bookkeeping, customer service, or data entry processes. Clearly defining the roles of each team facilitates collaboration and keeps them on top of objectives.
Most outsourced IT support teams usually handle the following:
- Custom software development
- Database development
- Web security
- Software development
- Organizational support
- Computer programming
- Data quality management
- Cloud system engineering
If you identify the services you need first, it’ll be easier to communicate tasks, objectives, and expectations to your outsourced team.
3. Define Your Objectives and Scope
Before outsourcing your IT team, you should define your enterprise’s short-term and long-term goals and scope. If you know what you’re aiming for as a business and how to get there, you can share them with the outsourced team. This gives them a clear overview of your business plans while also letting them know the level of support your business needs. The team can then develop solutions to help bridge the gaps and advance your business’s goals.
On top of this, they’ll approximate the size and budget of your project and then see which methods work best for your business.
As a rule, you may want to only outsource the non-core activities. Maintain most of the in-house governance of your essential business responsibilities.
4. Have a Written Contract
Many issues can arise when working with an outsourced team. So, you must have a written contract. It’ll help avoid the guesswork that happens when some work hasn’t been done efficiently, like concerns with delegation or project budgets. The contract will indicate the service delivery obligations and costs based on your agreement.
When drawing up a contract, you must include every detail about the project before you and the outsourced team can sign it. You can also have a refund policy in your contract in case of any problems. This puts the onus of delivering according to their agreement on them.
A written contract also acts as evidence in case of a legal dispute between your firm and the outsourced team. In this light, make sure it complies with current regulations on business projects.
5. Begin With a Pilot Project
You can ask the prospective outsourced IT team if they do trial programs for clients before you hire them for the long term. This should help make things clearer for you before you settle on a specific provider.
Begin with a pilot program to see if they’ll be the right fit for your business. It’ll allow you to gauge the provider’s expertise in a real-life setting. You can also tell if they’re transparent with their approaches, communicative with your team, can keep strict timelines, and give the results you’re looking for.
So, take your time to run pilots to check how compatible you are with different service providers. After a successful trial period, you can consider hiring them or looking for another one that provides better results.
6. Ready Your In-House Team
Always communicate new developments with your in-house team along with the other stakeholders. Doing this can help make the transition process seamless and easy while keeping you from delaying daily businesses and customers.
Also, clarify to your in-house team the reasons for adding external experts to help them feel included and appreciated. Failure to do so may leave them thinking they’re being replaced. In turn, this breeds distrust and animosity between the two teams.
You can also describe to them what the new workflow will look like. For instance, outline the communication channels, teach your staff about the need to work together, and motivate them to work cordially to ensure the company’s goals are met.
7. Ask About the Provider’s Security Policies
It helps to ask the prospective outsourced IT team about their security policies, especially when they’d like access to your most sensitive data. Cyberthreats only grow more sophisticated by the day, and you wouldn’t want to expose your business’s data to malicious elements.
In light of this, the company you choose should have up-to-date cybersecurity protocols. Request to see their network security before you hand over sensitive information to them.
8. Monitor And Evaluate Performances
You must regularly evaluate the outsourced team’s performance to assess whether their addition to your company is beneficial. Start by setting a solid list of key performance indicators and define the timelines for specific objectives. You may also have to look for reliable management tools to help you monitor milestones the team has made, and you can know if you’re achieving excellent results. Determining their productivity enables you to decide whether it’s wise to proceed with them or drop the contract.
9. Communicate Frequently
Regularly schedule a meeting with your outsourced team. You can do this on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Use these meetings to discuss the team’s progress depending on the significance of their roles.
Communicating frequently can also assist in clarifying emerging issues. In turn, this helps keep your partnership with them a productive one for both parties. Make sure to celebrate the team’s achievements, so they feel motivated to continue their relationship with you.
10. Appoint One Manager
Since this team works remotely, assign someone to manage communication with them. It helps avoid confusion for the outsourced team, giving them an easier time responding to any inquiries. At the same time, this shows the team that their work is always accounted for.
11. Connect with Your Team
Having friendly ties with workmates is critical to fostering loyalty and long-term cooperation. When you have a cordial relationship, you can count on everyone to uphold their due diligence to the best of their ability.
So, schedule some meetings dedicated to just spending time with the team members. You can also organize team-building activities for more natural exchanges.
Let them be free to express any concerns while working with you. Conversely, be willing to discuss a way forward to ensure success. By creating an open, positive environment, the team will be more motivated to ensure your enterprise’s success.
12. Consider the Budget
Assess your budget to see if you have enough money to pay the outsourced team’s fees. You have to factor in all the possible costs you’ll incur.
Furthermore, always allocate some extra funds for contingencies. The last thing you want to happen is to get stuck on an issue you can’t readily fix on time. This can derail operations and put your partnership at risk.
When setting your budget, keep in mind that changes may happen within the contract. If these occur, the provider may want to set its own terms for rates in compensation. Don’t be too rigid, then. Instead, accommodate emerging demands.
Finding the right outsourced IT team for your business is a worthwhile investment because they can cover a lot of things you simply don’t have the resources or people for. However, like any other partnership, you must find ways to make it work. Consider these tips above, and you’ll turn your outsourced team into an asset for your enterprise’s success.