I shared a story not too long ago about a company that wasted massive amounts of money when they brought their IT staff and all their technology back in-house and onsite. It ended up costing them $300,000 up-front and $100,000 per year in perpetuity. It was an unfortunate situation to witness, especially when the waste of money could have easily been prevented.
But not every company who brings their IT in-house loses money like that. Sometimes it makes more sense for a business to bring technology and IT support onsite.
So how do you know when it’s a smart move – and when it’s a budget drain?
Start With This Quiz
For most small to medium-sized businesses, and even many large businesses, hiring an outside IT vendor is more cost effective and provides a wider range of services than an in-house IT employee can provide.
But there are exceptions.
Answer these questions about your business honestly:
- Is your business growing so fast that your IT vendor can’t keep up?
- Do you have proprietary or regulatory reasons that you must have in-house IT staff?
- Does your company have a career path for an IT person?
If you can say “yes” to any of those questions, you might have a strong case for bringing your IT in-house.
Most high-quality IT service vendors can easily keep up with your business growth. With a single phone call, they can help you expand your cloud storage space, add new users or provide your company with new or upgraded software. Sometimes, however, a business grows at such a rapid rate that an “outsider” simply cannot keep up. In this case, investing in in-house IT may be a good option.
Another case where in-house IT may be beneficial is if you have special proprietary or regulatory requirements. For example, you have created your own software, or the regulatory body that governs your product or service has issued a certain IT staffing or equipment requirements. These situations are exceedingly rare, but they do happen.
Even if you said yes to both of the first two questions, if you can’t say yes to the third question, you may have a problem when you try to bring your IT in-house. If you hire IT staff and have no set career path for them within your company, dissatisfaction and attrition are going to be inevitable. You have to make sure your IT employees have room to grow, or they’ll quickly get bored and seek more challenging (and higher paying) work elsewhere.
The Benefits and Drawbacks
The benefit of having in-house IT staff is that you can walk down the hall and talk to them. They’re also 100% dedicated to your business, not splitting their time serving other customers.
When you bring your technology in-house, you can feel like you have more control over it. If it crashes, you walk down the hall to your IT guy and send him in to the server room to fix it.
But can you really afford to hire all the IT staff you’re going to need to cover all your possible IT needs? Probably not. An IT vendor (like Fluid!) is going to have a broader skill-set, and be able to spread out and provide the resources you need when you need them. And you’re not going to have to spend at all that money hiring staff to cover all your bases (or worse, hire a cheaper, lower-skilled staff and still have to hire an IT service company to fix things.)
And what about the ongoing maintenance cost and space requirement for all that in-house technology? Keeping your business in the cloud (in other words, using an IT vendor and having access to their data center) may require a monthly fee, but it will actually save you a lot of money. Plus, it saves you storage space – and most importantly, you can expect a lot less downtime for your business.
Consult the Experts
If you’re considering bringing your IT in-house, I highly suggest that you bring in a third-party IT expert to look at your business and crunch the numbers first. This type of consulting is something we do for our customers pretty often, and we’ve been able to save them a lot of time, money and frustration.
You might be thinking, “An IT vendor is going to be biased. They’re automatically going to tell us to not move our IT in-house.” Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for Fluid. We get requests for consultations all the time, and I can tell you that the answer always boils down to your business needs.
Sometimes we do recommend that a company brings their IT in-house. In those cases, we also share with the client the best way to do that so the business needs are met.
And sometimes we’ll recommend that a business hire a qualified IT vendor to take care of their needs. We’ll even uncover how much money the business will save in the process, and help them define their overall IT strategy and plans. We have found that kind of information is invaluable to time- and budget-crunched business owners.
Don’t just take the leap and pray it saves your company money. Take the time to think through your business needs, and bring in a third-party IT expert to help you crunch the numbers and determine the right strategy to meet your business goals.
If you’d like to talk to the team at Fluid about this, you can contact us right here.