How to Outsource IT for Small Business Enterprises

Small businesses can reduce IT costs and access new technologies through IT outsourcing. Businesses begin by determining the IT operations they could benefit by being managed by a third party service provider. The provider can either be someone based onshore or an offshore company.


Why should small businesses outsource IT?


There are many reasons why small businesses can decide to either outsource part or the entire IT operations to IT firms like the Toronto based IT support company Acrodex. The main reason is cutting down IT related expenses. These costs typically come from owning and managing IT assets and employing IT staff.  


However, some businesses don’t outsource IT because of cost factors. In some of these businesses, IT may not be the core activity so that outsourcing can relieve the pressure.


Also, outsourcing IT helps businesses gain access to the latest industry techniques and processes as well as improving operational efficiencies. IT outsourcing can also help a business to market its products and services. Outsourcing particular operations like billing and customer care can also improve service quality.


Challenges of Outsourcing IT


Sometimes, outsourcing IT operations comes with its challenges. Losing control over critical business service or activities is one of these challenges.


For instance, if you outsource external IT support and the service provider fails to offer good service, this can damage your customer relationship. Also, the service provider can lack the flexibility in offering the services you require. At times, you may find it hard to manage your relationship with the service provider.


Which should IT operations be outsourced?


Nearly all IT services can be outsourced, including the development and implementation of IT systems and applications. Today, back or front office operations can be outsourced, and this is one of the fastest growing sectors. It is also known as business process outsourcing.


However, IT operations which businesses provided internally can also be outsourced. Some these services include IT maintenance, security, IT service desk and support, backup and recovery and even managing core business applications like Microsoft Exchange.


How should small businesses outsource IT?


Once the businesses have identified the services of processes they want to outsource, they can look for companies offering outsourcing services to work with. Large companies like Cognizant and Accenture are well-known for their exemplary outsourced services they provide. Also, small businesses can choose for smaller and even more specialized IT services firms.  


However, before you contract any service provider, it is important to know the cost of the existing IT assets. This will enable you to do an evaluation of whether you get the value of your money from the proposed pricing model by the service provider.


Offshore or home-based service provider: which way to go?


Many foreign companies usually offer good rates; however, there are numerous considerations to make before deciding to outsource services from an offshore company. For instance, does the legal requirement for data storage in the offshore company apply for the onshore providers?


Who is responsible for auditing the off-shore services and correcting any problems? Also, is the offshore provider familiar with the language and customs of your customers?


You will be required to meet regularly with your service provider to ensure that you measure their performance and targets as well as getting the most out of your outsourcing relationship.


Is SaaS the same as IT outsourcing?


Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), also known as web-based hosted software shares the same principles with IT outsourcing, but it’s not strictly the same as IT outsourcing. For example, a service provider can manage and maintain your business application. The provider can also allow you to access the application over a network and backup any information you generate.


Businesses should enter into an agreement with the service provider. The agreement should govern their usage and the responsibilities of the service provider to the business. The businesses should also understand that they will regularly be billed for the services they use.


IT operations which can be offered as SaaS services include sales force automation, finance, email, accounting and human resources.

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