Maximising the Value of your Outsourced IT Support Team
IT support’s crucial yet highly technical nature make in-house hiring too expensive for many small businesses. An IT support professional earns an average of £32,000 per year. For more experienced individuals, that number can exceed £50,000.
The steep cost of dedicated IT staff is driving a very healthy outsourcing industry. Forecasts put the market at USD 397.6 billion by 2025. Even the pandemic hasn’t stymied its growth. If anything, mass work-from-home arrangements are forcing more and more businesses to seek outside help.
Clearly, IT outsourcing isn’t going anywhere. But these partnerships have evolved beyond simply being a cost-cutting strategy. With more and more business data and processes migrating to the cloud and technologies like edge-computing revolutionising work, your IT team will be a linchpin for future success.
Optimising your approach to outsourcing will be crucial for maximising every pound spent on your hired IT team. Here are some ways to make the most out of outsourcing.
Assign A Manager
A manager’s job at the office is to make sure employees have access to the tools they need to get the job done, motivate the team, and keep everyone on track. Too often, outsourced IT support teams are deprived of this driving influence, simply because they’re perceived as an external entity separate from the business.
Leaving the helm empty means no one’s checking if your outsourced IT team is getting the help they need, or is delivering the work as promised. Having a dedicated point person and liaison for your outsourced IT team ensures the work remains excellent, whilst giving your service provider a clear way to report any problems or raise concerns.
Break Down Expectations
Work–everyone does it. Yet it turns out that a lot of employees don’t completely know what’s expected of them when they turn up at the office. Only around half can confidently say they know their responsibilities, according to research from analytics firm Gallup.
This smokescreen obscuring tasks can get even thicker for outsourced teams. Expectations are typically defined by an outsourcing provider’s service agreement contract. Yet every business’ IT infrastructure is unique and requires a custom approach. Putting everything–deliverables, timelines, task owners–to paper helps everyone understand their roles and keep serious issues from falling between the cracks.
Touch Base Regularly
Communicating with any external partner has its difficulties, but more so when service providers are located in another timezone or country. Regional differences have always been one of the barriers businesses have to work around to connect with their outsourced team.
However, with the maturation of video conferencing apps and VoIP technology, communication lines aren’t as fraught as before. You can easily schedule weekly meetings to review performance and address any issues. Face-to-face video meetings also help build rapport between your outsourced team and whoever handles them, putting a face to a name that would otherwise become just another online handle.
Create Resources For The Team
Your outsourced IT team will bring a wealth of technical information to your business. These are experts who have been specifically trained in all the ins and outs of software and hardware. What they wouldn’t have trained for, however, is how your IT infrastructure is built and how you’ve operated it until they were brought on.
Unlike regular employees for whom specifics are common knowledge, outsourced teams need to be trained before they can match what they can do to what you need. You can make a training manual to streamline knowledge transfer. The primer should cover systems, applications, common problems, and any troubleshooting efforts that have been made in the past.
Establish Definite Work Hours
When your employees are all from the same city, living a couple of stations away from the office, work hours are rarely something you give much thought to. Everyone clocks in at around 9am, then ends the day at around 5pm.
Yet when you decide to work with outsourced support teams, schedules become more difficult to coordinate. Many outsourced providers operate in a different timezone. Sometimes, even local providers work irregular hours, or are not available 24/7. Set up work hours–who’s expected to report when and how quickly they are expected to respond–to minimise frustration and conflict.
Train For Culture Sensitivity
Culture affects behaviour. That includes how employees from different backgrounds approach things at work. For instance, people from Western cultures tend to prioritise getting things done on time. For folks from other cultures, meeting deadlines isn’t as important as getting it right.
Even within countries, differences can be diverse, brought about by a colorful mix of religions and ethnicities. Knowing how to be ethically and culturally aware helps foster mutual respect and trust among companies and their service providers. It can also minimise misunderstandings that can sour an otherwise beneficial partnership.
Expertise is only one part of the equation when working with managed IT service providers. Organisations need to properly manage, train, and communicate with their outsourced teams to maximise output and ensure a lasting, beneficial relationship.
With nearly two decades of experience as an end-to-end IT solutions provider, Evolvit knows how to optimise outsourcing arrangements for small and big companies alike. Book a free consultation today.