In-House IT Staff: Salvation or Waste of Money?
How do I know when I need to hire an IT person?
What’s ailing you?
First, we need to consider your symptoms. What prompted you to ask this question? Common answers include:
We keep having problems with our systems and I really need someone available onsite when I need them.
A contractor or vendor could never understand our business – we have to have someone in-house.
We are growing so fast and I am just afraid our vendors can’t keep up.
Our office manager took on the IT support role, and now he is completely overwhelmed.
These are all absolutely legitimate reasons for considering hiring IT staff. Still, hiring staff isn’t always the best move.
Many organizations fall into the trap of hiring too low or too high. By that, we mean they do one of two things:
The organization hires an inexpensive, inexperienced “IT guy.”
The result? The IT guy is able to do the easy stuff, but gets in over his head on the more difficult tasks. Worse yet, they may try to do one of those complicated tasks and end up breaking something that costs you big bucks to repair.
The organization hires a high-end, experienced engineer.
The result? The engineer gets bored. They realize they don’t have any opportunity to grow within the organization, and their attitude (or worse yet, their work) reflects that. Management begins to get resentful because of the high cost of keeping this sour employee.
Breakdown of the diagnosis
When you really dig deep, most people feel they need to hire IT staff because of one of these three reasons:
Control. Often companies feel they have more control over an in-house IT support resource’s time. They also feel that a member of their staff will be more dedicated to their company. Business knowledge. It can be hard to imagine that a tech support resource who is not onsite could possibly learn the ins and outs of the company’s business. Cost. Onsite staff may seem like they would be a cost savings.
Let’s get real, here. Most small- to mid-sized businesses don’t have the budget to hire the breadth of IT staff required to cover all of the technology needs of their company.
Most of these companies also don’t have the skills required to manage an IT department. Nor do they have the ability to keep up with changes in technology while still devoting time to support the business.
Finally, and most importantly to a happy company, most small- to mid-sized businesses don’t have the ability to provide a technical career path that will be attractive to exceptional technology resources. The result: high turnover.
As a small- to mid-sized business, you actually do have a great alternative to hiring IT staff.
You can hire a vendor that specializes in augmenting existing staff.
Not to toot our own horn, here, but Fluid does this kind of work all the time, and we can be a huge help. But even if you decide to shop around, make sure the company you hire focuses as much on learning your business as keeping up their skill-sets.
Another thing to keep in mind when you are considering vendors is breadth. As your business grows, can your vendor accommodate your new requirements?
These are things we really pride ourselves on. We care deeply about our customers’ businesses. We want to know what’s troubling you so we can help you fix it. And we keep up on all the latest technology to do so. Make sure the vendor you are considering does the same.
You don’t need to hire IT staff. You have options. Consider a vendor to augment your existing staff – you will save yourself the headache of hiring staff while reaping the benefits of extra tech support.