One of the great things about technology in general is that it’s malleable — especially in the enterprise arena. If you take a look at your closest competitor, they’re probably using modern-day technology in a totally different way from your own organisation. Concepts like cloud storage, software as a service, security suites, and others transcend IT — they’re powerful tools that can be adapted in a variety of different ways depending on what you’re trying to do and how you need to do it.
Unfortunately, this can also make the process of choosing the best options to actually support your business easier said than done. There is no “one size fits all” approach to business IT, which means that there are a lot of potential mistakes that you could make if you don’t approach the situation from just the right angle.
Thankfully, this is all more straightforward than it sounds. If you’re passionate about choosing the best options to support your business, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind.
It’s All about the Right Fit
In many ways, picking the best IT resources to fit your needs is a lot like shopping for a new pair of shoes. It’s all about trying to find the right fit — that perfect pair of sneakers that feel like they were custom built for your own two feet by an expert craftsman.
Case in point: one of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding IT has to do with whether to set up your own in-house IT department or to partner with an outsourced IT provider. Both have their fair share of benefits depending on the situation you find yourself in.
When you choose to go with an in-house IT department, you’ve got an almost unparalleled level of control that you’re not going to find anywhere else. Every last kilobyte of storage is yours because you purchased it outright. You know precisely how every piece of equipment in your office works because you paid someone to set it up (or did so yourself). You don’t have to worry about issues that arise from sharing resources because everything is yours and yours alone.
The flip side of this, however, is one of cost. There are more than a few internal IT costs that you’ll have to deal with. Every staff member will need a computer — something that you’ll have to pay to purchase, set up, and maintain in the long term. Software licenses aren’t getting any cheaper. HR and admin overhead costs are not insignificant. If a new piece of technology becomes available that your business needs, you’ll have to invest in not only the product but training for your IT employees.
Cost calculators, like the one on the Landrex home page, paint a clear picture of how much money you need to be willing to pay to hold on to that aforementioned level of control.
Outsourcing, on the other hand, comes with a significantly reduced price tag. IT companies can traditionally get much better rates on quality products than you can yourself. You don’t have to worry about training, maintenance, software upgrades, or troubleshooting — everything is handled by a dedicated team of providers in exchange for a predictable monthly fee.
Outsourcing is also a great way to mitigate risk — the responsibility of maintaining your environment is no longer exclusively yours. You get the opportunity to leverage the expertise of people who have been doing this for a long time to your advantage. You also get the assurance that the staff members managing your environments are exceptionally well trained. Can you say the same thing about your internal IT department?
Considerations about External Companies
If you do decide to go the outsourcing route, there are still a number of important factors to consider. What is the security expertise of the provider you’re working with, for example? Remember that the average cost of a data breach continues to rise every year — is this the type of expense you can afford to take a chance on?
You’ll also want to make sure they have experience in your particular industry. What products do a particular outsourcing provider champion? Many external companies usually offer products from a few key software vendors — are those resources aligned with your own business strategy?
Unique IT Solutions for the Unique Business
But again, it’s essential to remember that there is no right or wrong answer at play. Some businesses need the external control that only outsourcing can provide, while others can’t afford to give up the control that they would get by keeping everything in-house.
Don’t think about how your competitors are using IT. Don’t look for the one right answer to the decisions you’re being forced to make — it doesn’t exist. Assuming, it does put you in a terrific position to spend more money than you need on resources that you can’t actually use. Only by thinking about technology in the context of your organisation’s long-term goals will you be able to come up with the solution that is right for you.
If you still have additional questions about choosing the best IT options to support your business, or if you’d like to sit down with someone and discuss how IT aligns with your own long-term strategy in a little more detail, please don’t delay. Contact Lanrex today.