If you want to turn your IT support strategy into a value-added operating expense, it’s time to consider an outsourced model.

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How would you like to turn your capital IT costs into operating expenses?

It’s a question that every CFO should be asking.

Outsourcing some of your IT services – or even the complete department – to a third-party supplier who understands the rate at which your business is growing and your need to be able to adapt quickly to shifts in trading conditions will help you to reduce IT support costs.

If you outsource applications or database management support, for example, or your help desk facility, you will be able to forecast precisely how much these everyday but essential services cost your business. Companies with no outsourced operations can’t take advantage of the benefit of knowing exactly how much their IT services cost them. And they’re at the mercy of events that could require expensive and immediate IT investment, just to address an unforeseen challenge.

Using IT consultancy services will help you to identify the likeliest candidates for reducing IT support costs so that even the potential cost of sudden changes to your requirements can be factored into your calculations.

Immediate ROI

Outsourcing will give you an immediate Return on Investment – and it will allow you to wipe some of your most significant IT and staff costs off your balance sheet.

The flexibility of the managed approach comes from making your IT service and support costs more predictable. They will no longer be an ad hoc drain on your funds, with highly trained staff waiting to spring into action – just in case – or spending their days fighting little fires when their skills could be more productively applied to projects that add real value to the company’s bottom line.

Stop splashing out

You won’t have to make any knee-jerk investment in new licenses or hardware to support more resource-hungry applications to meet seasonal demand, for example. Your IT services partner has the capacity and economies of scale to meet these challenges on your behalf – more efficiently, more cost-effectively and with the skills that you no longer have to acquire and retain in-house.

According to Information Week, there are four key benefits of outsourcing at least a proportion of your IT services, all of them guaranteed to help you reduce IT support costs:

  1. Flexibility

You can contract out specific services for specific lengths of time, rather than spending up-front on new staff. This is particularly important for any business that is growing quickly or developing micro-projects to meet sudden market developments.

Instead of buying new hardware or upgrading your servers to accommodate a new application or an ever-expanding database, a turnkey cloud-based solution would give you access to all the support and capacity you need, on demand.

  1. Expertise

Skilled and accredited staff are like gold dust – and cost almost as much! Research from ComputerPeople suggests that the salaries of IT professionals are rising quicker than the rate of inflation. And according to the Hudson Group, IT support staff command annual salaries of £24,000-£43,000 in London, and £24,000-£36,000 in the North and Midlands. When you hire them, you want them to bring long-term value to your IT team and business. Their time is not best spent on mundane tasks such as standing by for help desk calls or providing basic desktop support for users. Outsource these services and your employees will be free to concentrate on tasks that visibly contribute to the company’s bottom line.

At the same time, you won’t need to pay for training so that your staff can keep up with the latest versions of applications, or even spend money keeping them versed in the intricacies of vital legacy systems, which are notorious for the support costs they incur and the resources they eat up just to stay commissioned. Your outsourcing partner will take all of that on for you – to the benefit of your bottom line.

  1. Resources

How much does your help desk cost you to run in-house? Not just in terms of staff and 24-hour availability. It might also occupy valuable office space, consume expensive facilities resources and be an inefficient cost centre. A good outsourcing partner will provide cost-effective help desk services via a service centre staffed by skilled support specialists who know your business and understand the daily or seasonal shifts in its requirements. According to Gartner, businesses worldwide are now spending $288 billion a year on IT outsourcing, with the desire to achieve predictability in costs being one of the main drivers.

Security, business continuity and disaster recovery are three vital but costly aspects of IT services. Outsourcing to a partner who can give you access to your servers anytime, anywhere, and manage your data backups off premises, will help you keep those costs predictable and lower.

  1. Savings

You can calculate the potential cost savings of outsourcing the management of specific functions. For example, Gartner estimates that 80% of SMEs could achieve major savings simply by outsourcing email management. Good IT support partners are well-versed in helping you to anticipate fluctuations in demand, and scale licences and services up and down without you having to make new investment in kit that might sit idle once the peak has passed.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does the unpredictability of your IT support costs give you a headache?

  • Have you had to invest in new licences or hardware during the past twelve months, to meet a temporary increase in demand?

  • How much have you spent on IT staff training in the past twelve months?

  • How much does your help desk really cost you?

So just how much is poor IT service really costing your company? Download your free eGuide: Detective work: calculate the true cost of bad IT service