IT is essential to the operation of your business. Whether you are a legal firm, a manufacturing company, charity, or primary school you will rely on technology in some way or another. If you’re considering outsourcing your IT to ensure that your business has reliable support throughout lockdown and in the future, then you will need to make sure the provider you choose ticks all the right boxes.

There’s a lot of pressure on many companies not just to use IT, but also to provide good internal IT support and services. However, when your business takes a hit financially due to unforeseen circumstances, such as the current coronavirus pandemic, your business may need to look at outsourcing their IT support to ensure that they provide the best IT support and services they can, without overspending on internal IT staff.

Many businesses have had to reduce staff or have been forced to put staff on furlough during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if it is necessary to furlough or dismiss your IT team, you will find that when your IT is out of action, your business will likely come to a standstill. For example, your invoices can’t be paid, your customer details become inaccessible and your staff may not be able to get on with their day-to-day tasks. Therefore, the need to work with an IT support provider will be absolutely critical if you have no other IT support (or reduced IT support) within the business.

We’re going to look at what you need to consider when you’re outsourcing your IT. You might be going through this process for the first time or you may have decided that it’s just time for a change in provider, but the main thing is that there are a number of benefits to outsourcing your IT support and services, including:

Reduced IT costs 

Many companies during the coronavirus pandemic have been outsourcing their IT support as a means of reducing costs, and it’s not hard to see why. During this time of uncertaintyManaged Service Providers like Custard, are able to come in and replace entire IT departments for a fraction of the cost. Outsourcing can save you a lot of money, and not just in terms of employee wages. Some of the cost reductions will include: 

  • Not hiring dedicated IT staff means not having to pay for employee benefits such as pensions and NI, etc. 
  • Business risk is lowered as there are no staff sick days, holidays etc - you’ll always be covered, meaning no financial side effects on the business. 
  • Outsourcing IT ensures that all staff are focused on their core roles and doing the jobs they were hired for, rather than having to wait on a small group of in-house IT staff or having to spend their worktime trying to resolve IT issues themselves. As they say, time equals money. 
  • An outsourced IT team will have substantially more experience with newer technology, so there will be no need to invest in additional staff training, which can be expensive and time-consuming. 

High level of IT expertise

When choosing an IT support company, you’ll want to know that you are in safe hands. Aside from asking for references and looking at customer case studies, you can check that the IT provider’s engineers are trained and qualified IT experts.

For example, if you want to migrate your email server to Microsoft 365 you will want to make sure that the IT company working with you is qualified to do so and have previous experience in this particular area. You should also check to see if they are a Microsoft Partner and their current status – Bronze, Silver, or Gold. Knowing that an IT company has been awarded top-level Microsoft Partner status will give you peace of mind that they know what they’re doing. As a certified Microsoft Gold Partner, Custard knows how much this means to our clients and how this certification gives us increased credibility amongst our competitors.

One reason many companies outsource - especially small to medium organisations - is that by doing so they can gain a higher level of IT expertise than they’d otherwise be able to. Smaller organisations are often unable to attract IT experts with the level of skill that they require, for the budget that they have. Outsourcing their IT support allows these companies to access that level of IT skill, hiring an entire team of IT experts at a monthly cost, for a fraction of their usual IT budget.

Another issue is that a company’s needs, in terms of IT support, are rarely consistent from day-to-day. One day there might be a high workflow, and the next, there might not be. For many smaller organisations, there may not be enough consistent work to justify having an IT support team in-house. However, as you’ve seen with the coronavirus pandemic, you never know when IT issues like compulsory remote working will come up, so to ensure business continuity you’ll need someone around to resolve any IT issues that may affect staff productivity – that’s where outsourcing with an IT company like Custard comes in.

Improved productivity 

One indirect and often-overlooked benefit is that a small in-house IT team just can’t achieve what a dedicated IT company can, in terms of providing value-added services and support. Outsourcing your IT often means the ability to access additional services that make the company more productive. For instance, outsourcing means you’ll be able to access tools and IT services that can help employees work remotely, or that make sensitive company data more secure. Most IT companies will have a team of IT experts conducting yearly security audits on your business – helping to keep your business safe and secure throughout lockdown, when working from home or in the office.

You should always make sure that the companies you choose to work with are a good fit for your business and how you want to operate. The likelihood is you’re going to be outsourcing your IT to this organisation for at least a year, and because of that you will want to make sure you’re happy with how they run their business.

We recommend asking IT support companies about the processes they have in place to manage their relationship with you. Find out about things like how you log a support ticket, how an engineer is assigned and how they communicate the status of a job with you. Ask if they have a dedicated client care team in place. Asking these types of questions will help you to compare the different providers you are considering when outsourcing your IT.

When you’re considering different IT companies you should think about whether they have taken the time to get to know you and your business. These companies should be interested in both what you do and how technology can help you do it.

Know that Custard will work with you to help you achieve your goals. We help you by recommending technology that is relevant to your business’ operations and your business goals.

Another issue is that a company’s needs, in terms of IT support, are rarely consistent from day-to-day. One day there might be a high workflow, and the next, there might not be. For many smaller organisations, there may not be enough consistent work to justify having an IT support team in-house. However, as you’ve seen with the coronavirus pandemic, you never know when IT issues like compulsory remote working will come up, so to ensure business continuity you’ll need someone around to resolve any IT issues that may affect staff productivity – that’s where outsourcing with an IT company like Custard comes in.

Outsourcing to a Microsoft Gold Partner 

When making the decision to outsource your IT support, there are a huge number of possibilities. For example, a single Google search for something like “IT Support Nottingham” will present you with an array of options, local or nationwide. So how do you go about choosing the right IT company for you?

One way to distinguish credibility amongst many possible options, is to search only for Microsoft Gold Partners. This instantly achieves two things: you eliminate a large number of choices, which makes it easier to explore your options. But most importantly, choosing from Microsoft Gold Partners means you’re looking at companies that are recognised for having extremely high standards in the work they do.

Microsoft Gold Partners have been evaluated by Microsoft to ensure they’re operating at a high standard of excellence. To achieve gold partnership status, a Gold Microsoft Partner must have customer references that verify their high standards, have certified Microsoft professionals working within the organisation, and undergo several in-depth assessments. It takes a lot of hard work to get these competencies, so if an IT company has them you can be assured that they know what they are doing.

Once they’re vetted, Gold Partners have access to a number of benefits: they have exclusive access to Microsoft tools and utilities, receive continuous online technology support, and can participate in Microsoft training programs and tutorials. This means Microsoft Gold Partners have better access to tools, techniques, and training that helps them deliver better services to clients.

If you’re interested in the services of a Microsoft Gold Partner like Custard Technical Services, get in touch with our team of friendly IT experts today!

Want to speak with an IT support expert?

If you’d like to speak with our IT support experts at Custard and find out more about how outsourcing your IT can save you time and money during lockdown and in the future, give us a call on 0800 612 4818 or email us at [email protected].