Information technology is essential for any business in the modern world, and outsourcing IT has become a popular strategy for companies. It allows them to reduce costs, access global specialized expertise, gain a competitive edge and increase business efficiency and productivity while focusing on core competencies.
Outsourcing can range from customer help desks to AI specialists to managed service providers like Thriveon. Unfortunately, many companies make mistakes when outsourcing IT that can lead to negative consequences. Knowing these challenges can help you find the right outsourcing partner that brings value and success to your company.
Mistake 1: Lack of Clear Objectives
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when outsourcing IT is not having well-defined objectives and goals. First, assess your needs to determine what needs outsourcing. List the business functions, projects, tasks and processes you want to outsource, along with a clear IT budget and roadmap. Everyone should know their responsibilities and duties through clear instructions and directions.
Establish specific expectations and performance metrics from the beginning so you can document what you want to achieve and if your requirements are being met. If they aren’t, you can adjust your expectations or deadlines. You can utilize project management tools like Planner in Microsoft Teams to manage your projects effectively.
Mistake 2: Bad Communication Processes
To establish your objectives, track progress and avoid ambiguity, you need clear communication channels and mechanisms so you can ask questions and get clarification when needed. This will ensure everyone is on the same page regarding project timelines, deliverables and quality standards. Determine how and when progress will be reported: will you receive updates weekly or monthly? Will it be in emails or in-person meetings?
A designated liaison will help communicate between your company and the outsourcing team by holding regular meetings and open conversations. Make sure your IT provider can communicate in a non-technical manner that you can understand. You can also set up a feedback policy where you can give and receive feedback so you can work out any flaws in the process.
Mistake 3: Overlook Research and Due Diligence
With an outsourced IT provider, you can get professional services at a fraction of the price of hiring an internal IT department. However, that doesn’t mean you should rush into an outsourcing arrangement with the first company you find. Take the time to do thorough research and due diligence so you hire a company that aligns with your values, beliefs and culture. Ensure they meet your expectations, standards and needs and have the industry experience needed to complete their projects and tasks. There’s no point in hiring an outsourced team if they don’t have insider knowledge to handle industry-specific problems.
Look at their previous track record and experience helping companies like yours, including references and case studies. See what industry certifications they hold. Employee and client turnover rate can be a valuable insight; companies with clients and employees that stay around for years show loyalty and professionalism, whereas companies that can only keep clients and employees for a month or two before losing them are clearly lacking something.
Mistake 4: Neglect Data Security
Data security breaches can be catastrophic, so entrusting sensitive client and customer data to a third party can be risky if done incorrectly. Address security concerns in your contract and implement robust security measures and protocols to protect your data.
Make sure your outsourcing partner has their own set of data security policies to protect against cyber threats, including encryption, limited local admin rights and access, compliance with relevant cybersecurity and data protection regulations, firewalls and antivirus and antimalware software.
Mistake 5: No Onboarding Process or Transition Plan
Onboarding an outsourced provider can be complex, as it involves a lot of preparation and collaboration; you can’t just hand everything over to the third party and step back. Your company needs to be directly involved in properly onboarding the outsourcing team to guarantee a smooth transition.
Work with your outsourcing partner to develop a comprehensive, well-thought-out transition plan with contingency measures for potential disruptions, including data backup and disaster recovery plans. Once they are in, ensure the outsourcing team has enough time to learn your systems and processes. Provide the necessary guidelines, procedures, information and resources for them to complete tasks and projects. You also might need to train your in-house team on how to cooperate and collaborate with the outsourced team.
If the relationship doesn’t work out or the outsourcing company doesn’t meet your standards, make sure there is a clear exit plan in place.
Mistake 6: Outsourcing Core Competencies
The fact is, not everything should be outsourced, especially core duties. You should determine your team’s strengths and weaknesses and outsource tasks they struggle to handle, but don’t outsource your core competencies. That is a sure-fire way to lose control of your daily operations and cause poor execution and strategy issues.
Outsourcing non-essential or supportive services saves time and money, and you control the essential details that keep your business running smoothly.
Mistake 7: Focus Only on Cost
It’s tempting to pick the cheapest option, especially if you’re all about saving money, but if you only focus on cost savings, you risk working with a low-quality outsourcing team. The phrase “you get what you pay for” is particularly relevant in outsourcing services.
Higher costs generally mean higher quality services, which result in higher ROI. Good productivity and quality beat out cheapness any day, and it’s better to gain a partner invested in your success. Find the perfect balance of what you can afford and quality results.
Mistake 8: Ignore Cultural Differences
An outsourced partner is still a partner, so you want to get along and work well together. Cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings, miscommunication, friction and conflicts, all of which negatively impact your company’s efficiency and productivity, as well as collaboration and decision-making. Choose an outsourced partner whose culture aligns with your company’s values and work style.
Thriveon and Outsourced IT Needs
For over 20 years, Thriveon has been a managed IT service provider for companies seeking to improve their IT infrastructure and resolve repeat IT issues. We provide services including managed IT, cybersecurity compliance, IT project management and implementing Microsoft Teams. Our services have led to a 90% permanent reduction in IT support issues and over 250 hours saved annually per employee.
For more information on how Thriveon can help your company, schedule a meeting to learn more today.