Internal vs. External Managed IT Services

Posted on July 16th, 2020
By: Karen Parks,

Ideally, we’d all have our own IT teams—and they’d have complete mastery over every aspect of IT. They’d be available around the clock for bug fixes and network maintenance, too. But that’s just not the reality most companies deal with. Even enterprises and government-level organisations, who have robust internal teams, use managed IT service providers to bolster their staff.

To the question of which method to use for IT, the truth is that there’s no real right (or wrong) answer. Internal teams, just like outsourced staff, come with certain strengths and weaknesses. And if you’re willing to experiment a little bit, these two strategies can actually complement each other well.

The Pros and Cons of Insourcing

Even mid-to-large companies with internal teams tend to keep their regular IT staff to around 10 people. You can’t realistically expect those 10 people to anticipate every scenario a tech department could possibly encounter. However, you’ll find that each member brings some unique expertise or experience to the table, forming a (hopefully) well-rounded and balanced team.

Furthermore, those team members are likely to display a certain level of commitment to their work; naturally, they’re invested in the success of the company that employs them. For staff brought on in an augmentative capacity (i.e. from a managed IT service provider), their job does not depend on your company’s success. Therefore, they’re not under the same pressure to excel.

Please know that a good managed IT service provider should—and usually will—demonstrate that they’re as reliable, helpful, and resourceful as you would expect out of a permanent employee. If you’ve had a bad experience trying out managed IT services before, let us know. When we say we’ll work together with you, that means with your internal team, too.

Access to Best Practices

When companies go with the managed IT services approach, access to best practices is usually a primary reason for doing so. For example, at Club IT, we work with a number of different businesses—so we’ve seen a lot of different ways of handling IT. We’ve had time to gauge what works best in certain situations, and we bring that knowledge forward into every business who uses our services.

A purely in-house team won’t have that external knowledge to draw from and may not realize when a solution they’re working with isn’t the best option available. Again, that doesn’t necessarily mean that managed IT services should replace in-house staffing for you. Your business might benefit from a combination of both.

Innovation Within a Business’s IT Team

Obviously, the ideal IT situation is one free of emergencies or pressing cyber security issues. What’s funny about internal IT staffing, though, is that it can stagnate when nothing urgent is happening. Most likely, you want tech team members who will use their downtime either to tighten things up or to generate new ideas—but there’s always a risk in trying to execute those ideas. This is the flip side to the coin we mentioned earlier: a managed IT team member can voice those ideas and try new things without worrying about job security, because they aren’t employed by you.

Finding the Sweet Spot

Consider the scale of your business and its projects. For example, let’s say you were going to spend $50,000+ on IT. Would you get better value out of a managed IT services provider for that price, or a single internal staff member at that salary? In other words, you can get either a whole team of experts an individual, but you’ll be paying the same price. Additionally, you’d have a service-level agreement rather than fixed hours an employee is contracted to work.

If your IT budget is in the six-figure range, on the other hand, you’re definitely going to want to start building up a foundation of your own internal team. From that point, you can look outside for additional help when you need some more complex troubleshooting, or if you have a shorter-term project that requires a very specific skill set. Frankly, the possibilities are endless.

Predicting Costs

For both internal staffing and managed IT, you’re looking at a more-or-less fixed price tag. The managed services provider sets a monthly fee; internal staff is paid a specified salary. However, the latter assumes a couple of things.

The first assumption is that you’ll never have an emergency, which is a risky assumption to make. Realistically, you might come across a problem in your business’s lifespan that your internal staff can’t handle alone. If you then have to bring on additional help, you’ve now ended up paying for both anyway.

Second, you’re comparing a true fixed rate with a salary—but you have to keep in mind that salaried positions come with training, benefits, and any other costs you might incur. If your mind is made up about picking only one option, be mindful of these factors when choosing which staffing structure to go with.

If Tech is Not Your Focus

Every business needs tech to function, but not every business is focused on tech. If this describes your business, and if your budget does not permit a hybrid staffing model, our recommendation is that you go with a managed IT services provider. At the end of the day, this is the solution that fits some companies, and that’s perfectly fine. It can absolutely work for you, and you can always look into building up an internal team in the future. In the mean time, we’re here for you. Give us a call on 1300 788 874 today!

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