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Outsourcing Versus In-House Services In The IT Industry

Aug 28, 2008
Outsourcing is a growing phenomenon worldwide, one which is allowing many companies to focus on their core competencies and grow their businesses like never before. It makes for much simpler organizational structures, and also creates more interactivity in the business world, making for healthier economies and more integrated societies. However, there are still some arguments for keeping services in house, and here we examine both the pros and cons of outsourcing services, especially in the information technology consulting area.

When it comes to IT consultants, though, it can become expensive and wasteful to keep one of these on staff. Unless you have a large, IT-dependent organization, you won't need the capability to build a website at the drop of a hat, in house, or to build new information management systems with full employee confidentiality. These functions are better outsourced.

Surprisingly, one function that is increasingly being outsourced to information technology consultancies is maintenance services. If something in your IT infrastructure 'breaks', you will often need it fixed straight away, which could tempt you to have an employee on hand for that very purpose. However, companies like Datacraft, an Asian IT solutions firm, are pioneering remote 'break-fix' solutions for companies. Sungard is another of these IT consultants, in the US, that has fast and effective remote maintenance capabilities.

If maintenance is something that particualrly concerns your organization (if it is critical that problems be fixed almost immediately), then monitoring is another IT service you should consider outsourcing. Excellent IT resources are needed, however monitoring is a proactive service, that greatly enhances maintenance offerings. Events that could affect the availability of your electronic information can be intercepted and managed before they create a problem. Look for companies like Datacraft in Asia, and OBT in Australia, that offer both.

You'll often hear that you should outsource anything that isn't a core competency of your organization. However, you will just as often hear that there is no right answer for every situation, and that anything that generalizes so extensively is definitely untrustworthy! The truth lies somewhere in the middle - obviously you should outsource things that aren't in your core deliveries or competencies, but not necessarily everything. Take things like website management - this is a (usually) simple, quite routine task for many organizations. If you need to update price lists, staff or products on your website, paying contractor rates to have this done will soon cut quite a hole in the company budget. There is a wealth of content management systems available to help - this is one service that can easily and often be kept in house.

Some companies have become dissatisfied with full outsourcing model, and have chosen to bring selected functions back in house. These functions include IT architecture, governance and compliance, financial controls, and IT policy. Many of these management decisions are more effectively carried out by the people that need to implement them - the managers.

One thing to be aware of is that some information technology consultants that you outsource to, will in turn outsource services to their own partners. Look for companies that take final responsibility for your system, no matter whether they or a partner provided a particular service. This will help make things simpler for your organization, especially at times of stress and concern - when you most need things to be easy.
About the Author
Datacraft is the leading independent IT services and solutions company in Asia Pacific. Datacraft combines an expertise in networking, security, Microsoft solutions, storage and contact centre technologies, with advanced skills in consulting, integration and managed services, to craft IT solutions for businesses.
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