Every small business needs some kind of technological infrastructure in place no matter what type of business it is. It can be as simple as a website and a secure server for a solo owner who doesn’t have an office or a brick-and-mortar shop that needs a point-of-sale system and must keep customer data safe from hackers. IT solutions increase productivity, improve communications among clients and team members, and can automate many mundane tasks that otherwise take up a small business owner’s time and resources.
In deciding how to utilize their resources, small business owners may find themselves facing a dilemma when it comes to choosing a managed IT service or hiring a dedicated in-house employee. For small businesses that are continually strapped for resources, using a managed service is likely to meet all of their needs. However, other types of businesses who rely on their technological infrastructure heavily and frequently face workflow disruptions because of it may benefit from having a dedicated employee.
The most obvious benefit to a majority of small business owners is that outsourcing IT aspects like a help desk presents significant cost savings. IT professionals can command a high salary for their skills, and this presents a cash flow issue for business owners who may be unable to pay this salary in the long run.
Because they have multiple employees who may operate on different schedules or be location-independent, managed IT services may offer 24/7 support for services like help desks and resolving server problems while an in-house employee physically cannot do this. For customers seeking help any hour of the day, this is incredibly valuable.
Computers become obsolete in barely two years today. Hardware and software solutions also continually upgrade, and faster than ever before. Technology evolves too quickly for one employee to keep up with. Even if a small business owner’s technological needs are relatively simple, staying up to date provides a competitive advantage that improves workflow and efficiency and in-house staff may not be able to accomplish this.
While a managed IT service can provide this level of support to a lesser extent, the main advantage of hiring in-house is that your dedicated IT employee gets to know you, your staff, and customers. By being on-site every day, they become familiar with your processes and associates which provide valuable insight.
By having an IT person on board, there’s no wait for resolving important issues that can arise. Since they develop familiarity with your systems by being on-site every day, having a dedicated employee can be a more efficient solution if your infrastructure requires a higher amount of maintenance to prevent workflow disruptions.
While this sounds detrimental at first, this deliberate pace means that IT employees can take as much as time as necessary to address issues that give them more time to comprehensively evaluate systems and implement a solution. Since managed IT services will service multiple clients, they may be unable to provide as detailed of evaluation.
Depending on the resources available to the business and the technological needs, some processes are best done in-house while others should be outsourced to a managed IT service. For instance, server and hardware maintenance can be performed in-house by a dedicated employee who is able to immediately jump to an emergency and take care of it before workflow is disrupted. They handle these tasks but a managed service can take care of other tasks like email system management and a 24/7 help desk so that the staff can focus on other responsibilities.
Small businesses with fewer resources may need to send all of their IT needs to a managed service while a business owner with more resources can hire in-house staff for the most important technological aspects but use a managed service for tasks that don’t make sense for the in-house staff to use their time on.