10 Reasons To Outsource Your IT
article compiled by steve

In tempestuous financial times, it’s usually the pattern that the rate of outsourcing increases. Indeed, it’s proved to be the case of late, in a climate in which business owners and employees alike have recognised the urgency of cutting costs and maximizing productivity.

IT outsourcing is more popular in 2009 than it has ever been. Many companies are choosing to…..

outsource to an IT provider, rather than maintain an IT department. But how do you choose a reliable supplier? If you aren’t an IT fanatic yourself, how do you know whether your systems are up to scratch or not? Whether you’re being given appropriate advice? Or whether you’re getting value for money?

In Gartner’s 2009 outsourcing study, it was reported that many companies are developing outsourcing strategies to help them through tough times, but that organisations need to regularly assess their service levels and contract terms to achieve greatest return on investment. Allie Young, Vice President of Gartner, explains: “The well-educated buyer and provider will have the advantage. The potential for outsourcing to address immediate cost pressures as well as long-term recovery goals will be unprecedented… Many organizations that are not outsourcing will consider or move aggressively to outsource their IT or business processes to focus on their core business.”

What to ask your prospective suppliers

Once you’ve decided that you want to outsource, ensuring that you ask questions of the companies you approach based around the following 10 subjects should give you a headstart.

1) Company Size

How many engineers does the company have? How many full-time members of staff? Where are all these staff members based? Do they sub-contract or outsource any work? If so, what? If they are a very small company or a one-man band, what happens in the event of a crisis at another client’s premises? Do they arrange cover if they are sick or on holiday?

2) Payment Structure

What exactly is it that you are paying for? Are you entitled to unlimited support or do you pay per unit? Are there any extra/hidden charges?

3) Response Times

Will you receive guaranteed response times in the event of an IT issue? What hours of the day can you call them?

4) Network Safety

Will your network be monitored 24/7? If your website or email goes down in the middle of the night or at the weekend, will anyone know about it? Or be able to help?

5) Other Clients

Do you get the feeling the supplier understands your business? Do they have any other clients in your industry?

6) Accreditations

What accreditations does your supplier have?

7) Points of Contact

Who will they be? Will you be given access to a dedicated account manager as part of your contract? Have you met him or her and do you trust them?

8) Stability

How long has the supplier been in business? Are they financially stable?

9) Value Added Services

What services does the supplier offer in addition to the ones you are in talks about? Network design? Bespoke software development? Disaster recovery and security consultancy? Who are their clients for these extra services?

10) References

Will you be offered the chance to speak to any of their existing clients to find out first-hand about the services they provide?

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