The foundation of a successful business is effective decision-making. From operational decisions that are made on a day-to-day basis and tactical decisions which are undertaken by mid-level managers to strategic decisions that are executed by members of top management, it is imperative to weigh the cost and benefits of any option before making a decision that can impact productivity and the bottom line.
In an increasingly competitive corporate arena where minimizing expenses, boosting revenues and streamlining processes are crucial, companies are often faced with a critical question — Is it better to employ an in-house IT team or subscribe to the services of a managed service provider (MSP) to address the organization’s IT needs?
The Two Sides of In-House IT
The question of managed services vs in-house is not a new one. With the rise of MSPs, firms now have a wide array of options to choose from when looking to shortlist a company that aligns with their requirements. As a start, having an in-house IT team has its pros and cons which should be fully evaluated.
Reasons to Opt for In-House IT
If you are ready to explore the reasons why you should have your own in-house IT team, here are the advantages that it can offer your company:
- Perhaps the biggest benefit of going with in-house IT is the availability of immediate support when the organization needs it. From handling issues of moderate severity to the management of a major crisis, an in-house IT division will remain vigilant and maintain the shortest possible response times.
- A specialized IT team that has been employed by an organization will develop a deep knowledge of the firm’s internal infrastructure and systems. This allows IT employees to become better equipped at troubleshooting in comparison with an outsourced team that may not have the same level of expertise.
- Opting for in-house IT gives you peace of mind. Though there are a number of reliable MSPs available, having to depend on an external party to meet your requirements could be hit or miss.
- When the stakes are high, some corporations would find it more preferable to have absolute control over their IT needs rather than outsourcing help.
Reasons to Opt Against In-House IT
Choosing an in-house IT team can also have its share of disadvantages:
- Managing expenses is an uphill climb. In an era of cutthroat competition, an in-house IT team may not be feasible given the high personnel costs that are associated with it.
- Sick leave and vacation days can hamper productivity, and finding the staff to stand in as replacements for employees in these cases can be costly.
- Cost limitations can also mean that your organization may not be able to implement best practices as compared to an MSP.
- Smaller companies may become overly reliant on one IT employee—and that person’s departure could lead to complications.
Deciding on an MSP—What Should I Look For?
Managed services’ benefits and risks should be comprehensively evaluated before choosing to take this route. Depending on your budget, goals, company size, and IT needs, consider the following factors.
Advantages of Managed Services
- The biggest advantage of managed services (which essentially inspires other benefits) is that MSPs are specialized entities, which have the ultimate goal of supporting your IT needs.
- Once you hire an MSP, you can be expected to receive a wide array of services with a broader skill base, the promise of 24/7 client support, and the assurance of quality service as outlined in the Service Level Agreement.
- Apart from paying the fee for the agreed-upon services, you do not have to be concerned about incurring extra expenses due to staff training, certifications, or investing in tools such as ticket systems and RMM.
- Replacing an MSP is easier than replacing an in-house IT team if the level of service doesn’t meet your requirements or expectations.
Disadvantages of Managed Services
- Even though you have an assortment of options available when choosing an MSP that fits your needs, finding the perfect match could require more time than expected.
- The lack of on-site availability may often translate into longer response times, which could be problematic in emergencies.
- An MSP may also not be the right fit for your company if you want full control over your IT infrastructure.
The Right Choice for You
The managed services vs in-house IT riddle can be tough to solve. However, it should be noted that these options are not mutually exclusive. You can choose to have an in-house IT team and outsource a segment of your IT division or bring an MSP on board if your help desk volume gets too high or if more manpower is needed when local team members are on vacation or sick leave. In some cases, IT personnel may feel threatened if the company chooses an MSP— but dedicated professionals who are committed to quality work should not feel threatened, and may welcome the decision to add the resources an MSP offers.