5 Reasons You Don't Want to Fire Your Outsourced IT Team Yet

Written by Linda Rolf on 9/25/2017

If you're a growing company where building an in-house IT staff makes financial and strategic sense, then replacing your outsourced IT team at the right time is a logical transition. On the other hand, if you're a growing company where having no internal or outsourced IT staff is your goal, then read on.

1) Do you have a plan?

For each growth initiative what is the technology infrastructure required to get you there? If you can't clearly describe what the technology components are and why they are necessary, then bring your outsourced IT team to the planning table with you. Yes, there will be a cost, but the ultimate cost of leaving them outside the building will be substantially higher.

2) Do you have an IT budget?

If the line item is $0 because you're going to fire you outsourced IT team, then you have no plan. Go back to #1.

3) How do you measure the value of time?

For each employee on your payroll right now, is he or she contributing at peak capacity or just staying busy?

I'm reminded of a financially successful office equipment company that didn't bother with an inventory system. We're talking about a big warehouse with a lot of equipment in it. Why no inventory system? Because there was always some bored, underutilized employee who could be sent to the warehouse to search for equipment to rent or sell.

How many times have you heard the justification for this as "it's a fixed cost because we have to pay the employee anyway". There are two flaws with this. First, it's pretty safe to say that employee could be contributing something more significant financially than aimlessly wandering around a warehouse. Secondly, a valued employee wants to be challenged and encouraged to grow. Giving him the opportunity to learn an inventory system builds a sense of contribution and value to the company.

4) Do you think that free cloud storage is an enterprise workflow solution?

Bad news --- it isn't. Who doesn't like free? But let's put a real number on price vs. cost. I'm reminded of an email from the owner of a well-established company asking for help with a "software problem". It seems they had implemented the "Let's Fire the IT Company and Save Six Figures a Year" strategy. It sounds like a pretty great deal, doesn't it? Who wouldn't want to add a hefty six figure boost to the financials?

But let's get back to the software problem. As part of the money-saving plan, the internal file server was put in the recycling pile. All of the company files – including proprietary documents – were moved to an almost free cloud solution. Now don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of shared cloud storage and use it often. However, I don't indiscriminately equate that with a secure, role-based workflow solution.

It seems that an employee dropped a malware-infested document into a shared folder. Just like magic – poof! – the folder was locked and the ransom email sent. After reassuring me that every security application currently available was running correctly on every local device, the company owner / de facto IT team – took matters into his own hands. Who needs an IT professional when all you have to do is remove the hard drive from the infected PC, clamp it firmly into a vise and proceed to drill holes in it. Problem solved. Really? The shared folder was still locked and the files inaccessible. There was also the added expense of purchasing and configuring a new PC. This sure sounds free, doesn't it?

Cloud storage management is no different than file server administration. It starts with a plan. Who will be the administrator? What is the folder structure? Who has access to what folders? What files belong in what folder? What are the permissions for each file and each folder? Is access limited to internal staff or can links be shared with the outside world? This last point is an important one. Without tight administration and control, proprietary documents can all too easily be shared outside the company walls.

For example, did you know that moving a file from one Google Docs folder to another can change who has access to that file?

5) You don't know what you don't know.

We're all fairly comfortable being experts in the technical aspects of our business. Why do we tell ourselves that we can equally master those key drivers of business success that others have dedicated their entire careers to mastering? Financial, legal, technology, marketing, sales, strategy – we simply can't be the master of all.

These services all look easy because they are being competently delivered by experienced professionals continuously developing their expertise. It's all too deceptive to view well-executed services as so easy that anyone can do them.

As technology has become more interwoven into the enterprise, it has become more complex requiring an ever-increasing level of expertise to manage the integration among the many parts. It is this subtle shift into the background that has created a false sense of IT simplicity. This perceived ease of creation and management has led many companies to abandon the IT advisors who should have a valued seat at the table.

You will always need a strategic plan with technology tightly integrated into it. Every successful organization must have a valued IT team to move the efficiency and profitability needle.

IT will never be free regardless of the advertised price of $0.

Tags: Technology Services

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Linda Rolf has traveled the technology landscape for more than three decades. She has designed and developed enterprise applications for a wide range of industries including insurance, healthcare and private member communities. Linda sees unexpected connections among everyday business and the ever-evolving technologies, propelling Quest Technology Group's clients to new growth successes.

Linda is a passionate entrepreneur, avid learner, creator and connector of ideas and people.

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