Outsourcing of the IT Department
Article paru le 21 août 2017 | Partager sur les réseaux sociaux
The value of the IT Department
The IT industry is constantly evolving with new tools which introduce new ways of working. The success of a company depends on being able to use these tools / functions reliably and efficiently.
For example, it is crucial for organizations to send and receive emails to communicate with employees, clients, partners and vendors. This presents a question on how long can the business operate without such an important function ?
The organization will also need to be able to access, store and protect employee data, customer information and financial data in order to run the business. There are also many Business As Usual (BAU) back-end processes and functions that need to be performed including data back-up and security, anti-virus protection and server monitoring.
With the above being considered, organizations will have to consider how feasible it is to take on such a large investment in IT talent (training), infrastructure (maintaining IT equipments and keeping technology up-to-date), money and time. This introduces the area of IT outsourcing.
Outsourcing the IT Department, a way to gain efficiency
IT outsourcing definition according to Gartner is : ”the use of external service providers to effectively deliver IT-enabled business process, application service and infrastructure solutions for business outcomes.” (1)
Outsourcing of the IT Department provides a broad array of quality choices for the organization as well as the opportunity to trade ownership for results, thereby giving the business a competitive edge ; it cuts costs and gives an organization the ability to gain more flexibility whilst acquiring a quality pool of IT resources with wider technical experience and competencies. It also means that an organization can focus on improving its overall business, knowing that its IT services and infrastructure are being well looked after inline with the industry best practices.
Other benefits of outsourcing includes : increase in business growth, as the organization’s main focus will be on growing the business, reduction / elimination of infrastructure and application downtime, scalability and longer support hours.
The complexity involved in Outsourcing of the IT Department
Organizations can choose to outsource its entire IT department or parts of its IT department, e.g. service desk, application support, data backup, monitoring, and cloud infrastructure.
After the decision of what to outsource, the next decision to consider is how many suppliers to outsource it to. Outsourcing the IT department to just one supplier will become more risky for the organization as the contract progresses as it might give the supplier more power than they should have. On the other hand, outsourcing the IT department to multiple suppliers also comes with its own challenge, but it’s often the preferred option, as the suppliers can be selected based on their expertise, which in today’s dynamic IT services market, few companies can excel in all these areas.
The goal is to get all the suppliers to come together and act as one, i.e. produce one seamless service for the organization.
As with anything there are some risks involved with outsourcing, as organizations are in effect giving someone else the responsibility of running that aspect of their business.
Some of the risks involved are : most IT functions are not easy to outsource, especially when the organization does not have a streamlined process ; control may be lost ; loss of ‘in-house’ expertise ; change in the organizations requirement and the length of the contract might no longer be suitable, etc.
These risks can be reduced by carrying out due diligence on the prospects, having the correct contract(s) and clearly defined processes in place, but the outsourcing of the IT Department stays a complicated process that needs a lot of factors to be successful. Proper management is key, expectations and objectives with the performance metrics must be defined. The organization must also be willing to adapt its work place culture to fit in the new IT, to give it some time for the new ‘outsourced IT’ to adapt, and also for them to start seeing the savings’ that are promised with outsourcing.
by Tolulope Obassa, mc2i UK