2021 has brought significant upheaval to the recruiting and staffing sector. Lingering unemployment from the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with strained work conditions and more robust unemployment benefits, has created a labor shortage like none we’ve seen in recent years. Another element contributing to the current crisis is what some are calling the Great Resignation: thousands of workers resigning from their jobs, with no immediate plans to rejoin the workforce. Burnout is all too common and as many as 95% of employees are actively considering quitting their jobs.
Chances are, your team has their hands full trying to grapple with these unusual and fast-changing trends that the pandemic has brought on. But there’s another emerging trend we’ve got our eyes on, and it’s not something you’ll want to sneak up on you.
IT Team Outsourcing
We are increasingly seeing companies opt to outsource their entire IT team, from support team to developers. This is a dramatic move that comes with both benefits and drawbacks. With the volatility in today’s market, it certainly makes sense that leadership teams are deciding to shake things up. By outsourcing the IT team, organizations can cut out the hassle of recruitment altogether, a decision that makes sense in today’s hyper-competitive candidate market. But of course, outsourcing an IT team is not without its own risks, and it’s important that if you’re thinking about outsourcing your own team, you go into it understanding both the benefits and the risks.
Before we get into the pros and cons of IT outsourcing, we should probably clarify what we mean by outsourcing here. The trend we’re seeing isn’t offshore outsourcing, or outsourcing IT or support to a team in another country. Rather, we’re seeing that more and more companies are hiring local or domestic IT teams for full-service IT support. These teams provide everything an in-house IT team would, with a few tradeoffs. For many organizations, the ease of outsourcing this work is well worth it.
Should you outsource your IT team?
Pros of outsourcing
Generally, outsourcing your IT team is going to be more affordable than staffing them on-site. Why? When you outsource, you pay a fee for the services you’re receiving, and the staffing company covers the expenses and benefits for the IT team. Your organization no longer has to worry about sick pay, healthcare costs, equipment, and many other common expenses.
No retention or talent management
Difficulty finding and retaining tech talent is one of the major reasons we’re seeing the trend toward outsourcing IT teams. If you hire an external IT team, your leadership no longer has to worry about finding IT staff— a time-consuming task when tech talent is in high demand. Turnover, competition, and recruiting become your IT partner’s responsibility rather than yours.
Maintaining an internal team takes resources, not least of which is time. Time is money, as the saying goes, and outsourcing your IT team can save you some serious time on management and training. Recruiting takes much longer now than it has in the past, so the absence of that alone is a cost saver.
Highly skilled teams
As difficult as it is to even fill an open position right now, it’s even more challenging to find team members with in-demand skills. Outsourcing your IT team will give you access to a team of highly qualified individuals. You may also be able to request a team with certain skills.
With your team being managed by your IT partner, and without the costs of maintaining that staff in-house, your organization will be more adaptable. This flexibility can be worth its weight in gold, especially during times of economic and industry volatility like we’ve seen in recent months.
Cons of outsourcing
When you outsource your IT staff, you need to have total faith in your partner’s ability to respond in a timely and effective manner. Without the confidence that comes from having a partner you can rely on, outsourcing is no longer worth the investment. If your leadership team needs to spend valuable time supervising this external team, or putting out metaphorical fires, you’re essentially paying for IT management twice over. The solution seems simple: find a trustworthy partner. But it can be challenging to know what service best fits the needs of your organization and whether or not they can be trusted implicitly.
As we’ve discussed, outsourcing is a leap of faith for everyone involved. Don’t get so caught up in the particulars that you forget to iron out your communication expectations with your external team. How quickly are they expected to respond? Who do they report to within your organization? Since this area can be sticky for teams collaborating with external partners if you’re going this route, iron out all the expectations from the beginning. Keep in mind that a certain amount of miscommunication is inevitable.
One advantage of outsourcing IT is that your external partner will take care of most of the team management. Of course, you’ll have to designate someone internally to be the go-between, but other than that, your external IT partner should take care of most of the day-to-day management of the tech employees. This can save time and resources, but it can also cause a disconnect, disruption, and discomfort between your two teams, especially if upper leadership isn’t on the same page.
This is a broad category. Almost every issue you’ll run into when outsourcing your IT team can be traced back to fit. It’s a tricky matter to find a partner who you can trust, whose priorities and management style align with yours, who provides top-notch service without being too expensive. It’s a risky decision. Unlike filling one or two roles on your team, where the risk is contained, delegating your whole team’s operations to an outside firm is a significant gamble.
So, is outsourcing your IT team worth the risks, or does it make more sense to stick to traditional methods? Only your leadership team can decide. We hope this article gave you a solid overview and a place to start when answering that question.
If you do decide to keep your IT team in-house, and you’re struggling to find qualified tech talent to fill your open roles, we encourage you to reach out to us. Our deep network of diverse tech talent has helped us place tech team members with some of the largest companies in the country. We also offer enablement services for companies that are looking for a hybrid model that combines the best of IT outsourcing with an in-house team. Regardless of what you’re looking for, be sure to reach out to us today!