Many companies outsource a range of skills within the company, including accounting, legal, marketing and sometimes HR, but some companies attempt to retain IT as an internal Department. This blog will look at some of the considerations for outsourcing your IT Department, some of the benefits of outsourcing your help desk and also some considerations if you decide to retain IT Support as an internal function in your business.
The first step is to determine what are the Core Capabilities of your company. At Extreme Networks, we don’t do Accounting, Law, Maintenance, Fleet Management, or Printing. These aren’t critical to our business and so we outsource them. We do, however, focus heavily on IT support, Help Desk, Application Development and Marketing, so we keep these capabilities in house and ensure that they have the resources to grow and deliver capability to our Company.
Here is the list of reasons why and benefits you can gain when you outsource IT Support to Extreme Networks.
- No training liability – Learning is one of our key values at Extreme Networks and we ensure that it is a part of every Engineers career path. We fly engineers to Tech Ed for training, even to Computex in Taiwan. We have a manager responsible for building a learning plan for each engineer and the engineers are incentive based on the training that they complete. We have the breadth of engineers to be able to send 2 engineers away for 2 days at a time for training.
- Access to better technology – Extreme Networks has invested over $300,000 in Remote Management tools and help desk management systems. With provide all of our customers with access to these tools if they want them, to ensure that ticketing and remote management is provided in the most cost effective way possible. This can make a significant difference in costs and productivity, especially if you need to manage multiple sites.
- Better decision making – Our team is able to perform the role of Systems Administrators, IT Managers and virtual CIOs, (Chief Information Officer). This enables a company to access a high level MBA educated vCIO on a per hour basis, ensuring that their business plan, IT plan and IT roadmap are all aligned to provide meet the needs of the organisation and to ensure that the company is taking advantage of the best technology available to meet the needs of the company. Our customers are able to benefit from our experience in helping hundreds of local businesses to better manage their IT and to grow their businesses.
- Economies of Scale – Many small businesses do not have the work for a full time IT administrator, so one of two things happens, the person is spread across multiple roles, or the person expands out their role to take up the full week. Either way, this isn’t efficient and means higher costs for the business. It also means that we can send the right engineer for the right job. Junior engineers are often able to do much of the work, so it doesn’t make sense having a high paid IT Manager doing routine maintenance.
- Better hiring decisions – At Extreme Networks, we mainly hire Network Administrators, Systems Engineers, and Application Developers, with a few admin people. Because this is what we mainly do, our experience lies in hiring great engineers. We have spent years refining the process to ensure that we not only hire the best technically qualified but also that they will fit in with our culture and be able to work with our customers. Hiring specialists outside your core area of expertise is often difficult because you do not have the skills in house to judge their skillset. Working for an IT integrator like Extreme Networks is very demanding for our team and we strive to hire the best. We often see people who fail in our hiring process working as in-house IT support for small companies, who haven’t been able to determine whether the candidate has the right skills or not. Retention is easier for us as well as we are always working on new projects which keeps our engineers interested and motivated, whereas in-house IT managers can become bored with stable infrastructure and leave for opportunities of bigger and more complex networks.
- Ability to cover holidays and sick leave – If you have a small insourced team of help desk and network admin people, covering sick leave and holidays can be a significant issue. We have met admins who haven’t been able to take holidays for 2 years because there is no one able to assist with IT issues when they are away. By working with Extreme Networks, you’ll have access to our large team, ensuring that holidays and sick leave don’t leave you without IT Support when you need it.
- Access to a wider range of skills – An outsourced IT help desk means that you will have access to a range of technicians with a range of skills. Small IT Teams often struggle to encompass all of the skills required in an IT Team, network, email, server, desktop, cloud, routers, switches, anti virus, marketing integration, troubleshooting, risk analysis, back up and disaster recovery. By partnering with Extreme Networks, your company will have access to all of these skills and more.
- Reduced Risk – Our Team based approach to customer management means that the informal knowledge of each customer’s site is spread across multiple people, ensure that if an engineer leaves, there is more than one person who knows how the system operates. Coupled with our documentation methodology, we are able to ensure that all of the Corporate knowledge around your IT systems is captured and you don’t have the risk of a single person walking out the door with all of the information about your computers.
- Decreased costs – We have saved some companies as much as $40,000 per year, by replacing a high paid IT Manager with our team. With one major customer outsourcing contract we won, the customer reported that issues were solved more quickly and many things that the previous IT Manager had said couldn’t be done, we are able to do.
- Better Experience – Our Systems Administrators and vCIOs consult to many small to medium sized businesses, managing over 3,000 desktops, PCs and notebooks across a range of industries, including accounting, law, manufacturing, education, and professional services. We are often able to bring industry specific experience as well as experience from other industries that can help you to grow your business, increase productivity and increase sales. We are always rolling out new technology for our customers so we get to see what works for businesses. That is part of our value proposition to help you build your businesses. In house IT Support can struggle to understand new technology as they are left to the mercy of Vendors trying to push their solutions, without the ability to see it actually working in the field.
All of these factors add up to make it often cheaper and sometimes much cheaper to outsource your IT to Extreme Networks, whilst increasing the results for your team. Because you are only paying for what you need and you aren’t paying for training, sick leave, holiday leave and not paying a high level manager to do day to day routine maintenance, the costs often result in a better experience for your users whilst cutting month to month costs.
The main reason that customers outsource their IT Support to Extreme Networks is either to cut costs, or managing IT Staff internally has become too difficult because it is not a core part of their business. We had one customer who decided to insource their IT and they hired a TAFE graduate. He seemed very good because he knew more than they did in regard to managing networks, but jobs were never done quickly, sometimes never done, and after they lost a significant amount of data, they decided to go back to an outsourced IT Department model, because they realised that hiring and managing IT people was outside their skillset.
If you don’t decide to outsource your IT Department, it is often a good idea to partner with Extreme Networks to ensure that your company has back up resources if and when required. We have many companies with internal IT Departments who use Extreme Networks to:
- Provide Level 1 and 2 support for overflow situations;
- Provide back up during periods of sick leave or holidays;
- Provide Level 3 technical assistance, including migration design and advanced troubleshooting; and
- Strategic Consulting based on our wide range of experiences helping business owners to grow their businesses profitably and better manage their IT infrastructure.
They get all of the benefits of being an Extreme Networks customer, including access to our free industry update seminars, and our free build your business series of workshops.
Outsourcing all of your non core capabilities is becoming increasingly common, and for businesses looking to either gain more IT expertise within their business, or to cut the costs of managing their existing IT infrastructure, outsourcing can make a significant difference to your companies, productivity, customer service and bottom line.