In-House IT vs Outsourced MSP

by | Feb 20, 2017 | IT Service | 0 comments

The state of mind that drives a business to hire an in-house IT technician is usually one of frustration. Outsourced IT has proven inefficient and unaccountable. Many businesses hire an in-house IT person to ensure a faster response to problems and more accountability. What they end up with is generally less than they had hoped.
Many difficulties lie waiting behind the scenes. In the end, a company can end up in a much worse position after hiring in-house staff. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of the problems facing a company when hiring an IT person.
 

The Hiring Process

Hiring a talented IT technician can be a difficult task. The process is even more complicated when done by a person without a technical background. How can you evaluate a person for a position that you do not know much about? I do know about the industry and qualifications, and I still have made some bad hires.
 
How will you evaluate them? Most likely, the interviewer will describe problems that the company has previously experienced. The prospective employee will either know how to resolve them or not. The limited knowledge and perspective of the interviewer places them at a disadvantage when evaluating someone that can “talk the talk.”
 
Sometimes, an employer will gain access to a technical evaluation. Even then, we all know book smart people that cannot operate in the real world. How will you sniff that person out? Technical skill is only part of the IT person’s toolkit. Experience, problem-solving, planning skills, documentation practices, foresight, and situational awareness are all incredibly important factors that weigh heavily in the evaluation.
 
Hiring any employee is difficult. Trying to hire a person for a position that you are not familiar with is even harder to navigate. The wrong person can potentially set a company back months.
 

Typical Employee Issues

We all experience issues with our employees. They perform a task incorrectly, they have issues at home, or they simply don’t do a good job. Other times, they get sick, take vacation, call off for no reason, and sometimes they quit or worse. All of these issues become more delicate when a single person is responsible for every vital piece of information within a company.
 
What happens to your company if your IT person stops showing up?
 

In House IT Cost

An IT person’s salary is just the beginning. If you have a 25 person office, our yearly fee would be $45,000. To keep the playing field equal, let’s assume that you can find a decent technician with a few years of experience for $45,000 per year. Employer payroll taxes take that amount to over $50,000 very quickly.

That person will need tools to work. Plan on purchasing security software, a backup appliance and licenses, remote management software, remote assistance software, a diagnostic/work notebook PC, and more. The total cost of a single IT person could easily approach over $80,000 per year when properly equipped.

From a dollar perspective alone, hiring in-house does not make sense.

Documentation and Best Practices

Here is where the rubber meets the road. When an internal IT person is hired to put out day to day fires, that is all they know how to do. Resolving problems is the job from the start. Transitioning to proactive support is almost impossible.
 
Avoiding issues should be the real focus of an IT professional. Understanding strategic business challenges. Avoiding business risk no matter how obscure while keeping overall costs in line. The overall struggle to become more efficient and, by result, making the company more efficient.
 
A good outsourced IT company will develop repeatable processes, documentation, and standardization to maximize their efficiency and become more profitable. These best practices reduce end-user issues, create a predictable result, and have continuity plans in place regardless of the issue. An IT company’s goal should be to be to reduce issues and maximize capacity, creating a win-win scenario.
 
In contrast, if a manager were to walk past the internal IT guy and see him “not working” the reaction would be to re-evaluate his position. An IT person cannot get a second job if he or she maximizes efficiency. They are incentivized to create work, keep the status quo, and justify his job… to “stay busy”.
 
Finally, once that person does leave, in what state are the processes, documentation, and support system? What level of knowledge loss will occur when your IT person leaves the company? Most employees may mean well but are you willing to stake the future of the company on a well-meaning IT person that has found a reason to leave?
 

Resources

The final piece of the puzzle that many companies do not consider is the support system and the tools required to support a company properly. Hiring an individual is only the start. That person will need software to track issues, backup appliances and software, anti-virus, anti-spam, and remote monitoring software. They need to be trained on them and keep up to date on the newest technology. All of that costs a considerable amount of money.
 

Hiring In-House IT is Bad

I’m sure you knew where I was going with this article. There is simply no strong business case for hiring an internal IT person for a small to medium company. The decision usually comes from an emotional place after years of frustration and failed relationships with IT vendors. Hiring in-house won’t fix that.
 
An internal IT person will never have the incentive to become efficient, they won’t have the proper experience, and they will most likely never have the proper tools and resources to get the job done correctly.
 
Instead of hiring in-house, a company needs IT support dedicated to making their company better. They need a partner aware of new trends in the market and business opportunities that may create dynamic efficiencies for the company. They need a company that can use economies of scale to offer tools and resources with capabilities that far exceed what they can do by themselves.

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