When companies find themselves needing to address a specific business need, one question they'll often have to ask is whether they can handle the task in house vs outsourcing it. Both approaches have pros and cons, and the answer to whether you should opt for in house vs outsourcing depends on multiple factors. Each business will have a different response to this, depending on their company and the business need in question.
Let's take a closer look at some of the issues you should consider as you try to decide whether to address it in house vs outsourcing it to an external, third-party provider. While most of these considerations can be applied across industries, let's use the need for IT services support for a London business as an example.
Let's say you need dedicated IT support for a new IT platform adoption your company is undergoing. What happens if you suddenly (or temporarily) need more or less of the service and expertise provided? With outsourcing, you may be able to scale the support up (or down) depending on your needs at the time. But having an in house employee dedicated to a task may not give you the same versatility. They may be underworked (or overwhelmed, depending on the situation) in the case of slow or fast times.
If you outsource a specific task or service, you may be able to maintain a more flexible approach to getting it done. A provider can generally get more creative in how they solve problems as it's up to them on how to approach the task. With an in house employee, it's on the company to provide the solution or policy on how to do the work.
With in house staff, you'll be responsible for paying your staff members a salary for their work. With outsourcing, an external contractor will handle all salary payments - you simply pay the company for the service. How much you pay for the position will depend on the nature of the work and a host of other factors - but from a human resources standpoint, you're only responsible for the salary and benefits of your direct employees, not those doing work via an external provider.
In house employees come with other costs along with salary and benefits. There's the cost of providing them with office space in which to work.
There are the costs associated with offices equipment and supplies. There's also the matter of providing personal time off (PTO), holidays, and sick leave. You'll need to provide your in house employees with these benefits as well. If you opt to outsource, the outsourcing company will assume all these IT support costs. They'll handle all additional costs for their staff working on your project so you don't have to.
Some projects or companies may require an in-person presence for their work. You may require client-facing staff to serve as onsite IT support. In this case, the pros of hiring in house may outweigh the benefits of outsourcing the position. You'll have more control over where the in house staff works on a daily basis, assigning them to a specific office location.
If you don't require client-facing staff, outsourcing your team will have many advantages. If they're able to work from anywhere, they can work:
Not needing representation at the client site gives you a lot more options on where your team can work from, which is well-suited for outsourced IT support.
Your decision to go in house vs outsourcing will also depend on the skill level required for the tasks you require. If the task is simple, you may be able to hand it to a single employee. If the services you require are more complex in nature, it's highly unlikely a single in house employee will be able to match the collective skills and experience of an outsourced company.
You'll also want to ask yourself how familiar the identified staff will need to be with your company. Do they need to be fully integrated with your business? How much do they need to participate in internal company meetings and events?
One positive aspect of external providers is that often, they can develop familiarity with the business they work for while assigning regular onsite support to that business. These team members can act as de facto part-time employees due to their comfortability with the company.
Another issue of concern when evaluating the in house vs outsourcing decision: when you need your staff available. Will you need 24/7/365 availability/support? What about support outside office hours and during the weekend?
If you're opting to hire in house, your employee will only be available during working hours. They may also be unavailable when they're sick or on holiday. You'll need to have an alternative team member identified, trained, and ready to provide that support when they're away. Let's say, for example, you were looking for IT services in London. You'd need to incorporate the need for emergency IT support into the position as well. With outsourcing, you can always request this type of out of hours availability upfront. That way you'll have coverage no matter when you need it.
Trying to decide whether to go in house vs outsourcing for any specific task is a decision you'll need to make based on the type of business you run as well as the scope of the task you require. Generally speaking, opting to outsource your IT support company will give you more flexibility and cost-efficiency. Adding in house support may give you more direct control over the individual.
Ultimately it's about your company and the project you need to complete. If you want innovation without the hassle that comes with hiring and managing an employee while still maintaining some degree of control over how the work gets done, outsourcing may be the answer for you.
Established in 2008, we provide outsourced IT support in London. Our IT services are scalable, cost effective and can be tailored to your unique business. If you're looking to bring IT capabilities to you business contact us for more information and we'll be glad to help.