Outsourcing: an overview

Outsourcing: an overview

Outsourcing today simply involves using external entities to handle specific, specialized business functions so that organizations can focus on their core competencies. The idea of seeking outside support for areas that are not core to a business is many decades old. However, seeking support from external providers can make a lot of sense, especially in fields that involve considerable complexity. One example, as human resources becomes increasingly complex practice, especially in areas that involve often complex and arcane laws such as benefits and employment law, many smaller companies are increasingly outsourcing some or all of their HR tasks.

IT is another example. Like human resources, IT covers a wide range of specialties, for which no one or two individuals can possibly hope to be fully versed in.

As the CEO of a small- to medium-sized firm, or perhaps a line manager, why should you consider outsourcing all or part of the IT function?

One immediate reason is that IT is a complex field and it is likely top management has only broad knowledge of the issues at hand. As a result, it can be hard to manage an IT department. Setting priorities and guiding IT strategy can be difficult for a leader whose background and focus is on the specific mission of the company or organization. It speaks to the issues of core competencies–is IT yours and does trying to manage it distract? Limited management resources can be drained off, letting management lose some of its focus.

Another way to get the most out of any outsourcing of IT is to think carefully how you view their role in the broadest strategy of the organization. When you look for a Managed Services Provider to outsource your IT, you aren’t looking for someone to handle a task. MSP generally focus on specific industries, so they have knowledge of the needs and specific challenges faced by companies in that sector. Additionally, because of that industry sector knowledge, the best MSPs can work as strategic partners, helping you understand what technology can best support your present needs as well as what upcoming technologies might have a positive impact on your future growth and competitiveness. MSPs can help plan and guide at the C-suite level to drive growth.

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