Larger businesses usually have their own IT departments populated with techy types who can assist if your network printer isn’t playing ball or the internal email system crashes. But for a smaller business, employing in-house IT consultants isn’t really viable.
In-House IT is Expensive
The cost of employing someone is fairly high and unless you have a big IT budget, covering the salary of a highly educated individual will probably not make financial sense. In the US, the basic cost of employing someone is typically as much as 1.4 times their base salary. A US-based IT consultant can expect to earn around $65k a year, so multiply that by 1.4 and you’re looking at an annual cost of $91k. And that doesn’t take into account any extra benefits and bonuses you might be expected to pay to attract the right talent. Once you have a team of 3-5 people in your IT department, the costs add up exponentially.
Outsourcing managed IT support makes a lot more sense financially. If your needs are sporadic, you can probably get away with a pay-as-you-go contract, whereby you only pay a consultant for the time they actually spend sorting out your issue. This can be cost-effective for smaller businesses that only need experts when something goes horribly wrong.
Do You Really Need Full-Time IT Help?
In addition, you may not need someone in your business every day, which means that the very expensive employee you just hired will be sitting around drinking coffee and updating their social accounts on your time.
Using an external IT consultancy makes a lot more sense when your needs are few. You can call on them if you have a problem, but if your systems are working just fine, it won’t cost you a cent.
Even if you do need someone on-call more often, contracting an external IT support company still makes sense. They’ll be available 24/7/365, so you are always covered and staff holidays are not a problem.
Access to Highly Experienced Professionals
Hiring people in-house means you’ll need to cover the cost of their ongoing training. If you don’t, their skill levels will slowly decline until they are well behind the curve of the latest technological innovations. Paying for continuous professional development is expensive, and this cost will be in addition to the everyday costs of employment.
IT consultancies ensure their staff are highly trained and suitably qualified. By outsourcing your IT needs, you have access to people who are probably more experienced and skilled than the type of employee you could afford to hire. In addition, having a small in-house team of IT professionals makes it hard to attract the sort of people who work for larger IT support consultancies. Whereas your in-house IT guy might be a graduate with limited real-world experience, the person you outsource to probably has 20+ years of experience working for businesses in many industries. Who would you rather have on-call when your company’s website is hacked and your client’s data stolen for ransom?
Outsourcing is almost always beneficial for smaller businesses, but do the math before you make a final decision.