After the lean times of last decade’s Great Recession, IT investment by businesses has been on the upswing. And while the spending boosts have been modest—2% to 3% per year, according to some studies—a pattern of growth is definitely there.
This comes as both good news and bad news for IT teams. The good news is that some of that money is being invested in staffing. The bad news is that more IT investment means more new IT projects, and fuller plates for everyone in the department.
The consulting firm Protiviti estimated in 2014 that two of every three companies were undergoing a major IT transformation. Some choose to handle growing IT needs in-house by restaffing or expanding, but that solution often can lead to further problems and complications. To properly address the needs of your growing business, outsourcing IT support may prove to be both the most cost-effective and the most productive decision.
Here’s a look at a few of the items that should be on every business’ IT to-do list:
Studies consistently show disaster recovery preparedness as the top priority for many IT departments. That’s not surprising, since global losses from natural and man-made disasters surpassed $90 billion in 2015. But developing a disaster recovery strategy is a massive undertaking for an IT department. It requires organization-wide business impact analysis, determination of recovery time goals and responsibilities, evaluation of physical and virtual backup options and frequent testing and re-evaluation to make sure the strategy actually works.
Research indicates the number of cyber security incidents increased by as much as 40% in 2015. That means IT teams need to up their game to make sure corporate devices and data are adequately protected. But there are so many different tools in play, including firewalls, multi-factor password authentication, multi-layer encryption and biometric authentication. Do you need it all, and how do you manage it all?
If it seems as though there’s a software package or an application to address just about every function, that’s because these technologies have diversified rapidly across all corporate departments. Companies are using many times more software products than just 10 years ago, and many times more software suppliers are feeding them into those companies. Lots of software from a highly fragmented supply chain creates a management nightmare for IT teams.
This year, more than 875 million smartphones or other mobile computing devices will be managed by employers. That figure will surpass 1 billion by 2021. And it’s not just a matter of giving employees mobile connectivity to corporate email. Increasingly it means secure access to a multitude of corporate data and documents, as well as a range of applications and services to help enhance their productivity and give them a virtual office presence while mobile.
The challenges facing IT departments these days are not limited to what’s new. Unfortunately, IT teams still have to address all of the traditional, sometimes more mundane IT problems bound to surface within a company on any given day. IT still must devote a great deal of its resources to being the helpdesk; resolving log-in issues, e-mail glitches and Blue Screens of Death; and to outfitting new employees with computers and connectivity.
These needs represent just a taste of everything corporate IT teams are juggling these days. For many companies, the time has come to take a good, long look at their IT strategies to find out if they have enough resources, people, and expertise in-house to handle all of these challenges, or if they need to seek outside help.
Outsourcing some or all IT systems and processes could be the best option to help your business overcome its growing IT challenges. Outsourcing isn’t a new concept at all. In fact, the worldwide market amounted to $442 billion in 2015, according to Statista. But that figure doesn’t mean it’s expensive. In most cases, outsourcing IT tasks to a third party is actually more affordable that constantly hiring new full-time employees and booting up new servers to handle a growing workload.
Here’s how outsourcing can help your company overcome some of the IT challenges that accompany business evolution:
Disaster recovery-as-a-service and similar solutions mean you don’t have to worry about maintaining backup systems in-house (which is probably a dangerous practice anyway), or mobilizing your entire organization to act in the moments after a disaster strikes. When you reboot after a disaster, all you need to do is connect to the cloud.
Keeping up with all the security solutions you need is as difficult as tracking all of the constantly evolving threats. Outsource it to a provider that can do all of the above, keeping you apprised of threats while ensuring everyone in your organization is protected. An outsourced provider will make sure the right combination of security tools is used to suit your company’s unique needs.
If the problem is too many different software elements and apps from too many different suppliers, the answer is streamlining. That’s what you can accomplish by outsourcing to a service provider that can give you simplified, straightforward access to your software tools while managing ongoing software updates from a stable full of suppliers.
Outsourcing enterprise-wide mobile device and app management puts these tasks in the right hands. An outsourced provider can make sure mobile employees are getting secure remote access to the corporate assets they need to do their jobs, regardless of the specific device or network being used.
The multitude of day-to-day projects leaves in-house IT teams little time to serve as the corporate helpdesk—the very reason the IT department originally was created. Letting individual employees try to fix their own problems isn’t the answer either. Instead, outsourcing the helpdesk functions to a third party gives employees someone who can respond quickly to big or little problems, approaching glitches and needs with full knowledge of the organization’s hardware, software and apps.
IT departments have more to do than ever before. The solution is not always to hire more IT people, or expand the responsibilities of the existing team. Outsourcing can provide an affordable answer that allows your company to keep up with technology trends and address all corporate needs without sacrificing the notion that all of your IT assets remain right at your fingertips.
flickr photo by haru__q shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
flickr photo by Andrew Abogado shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
flickr photo by Kris Krug shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license