What is IT Outsourcing?
In the simplest terms, IT Outsourcing is the most cost-effective way for companies to hire qualified individuals for specific IT jobs without having to commit to the significant costs of maintaining a year-round in-house team. This works well for both parties. Qualified programmers, content generators, system admins and other IT experts enjoy the flexibility of working on the projects they love, while companies relish scalability in their personnel. Instead of spending huge amounts of overhead on unnecessary infrastructure, companies can focus on what they do best, and leave the IT work to the professionals.
IT Outsourcing Tasks
Pretty much all IT tasks can be outsourced, such as:
- Software Consulting
- Software Programming
- Website Design and Maintenance
- Email Server
- Application Hosting/Maintenance
- Network Maintenance
And lots more…
IT outsourcing is particularly suited for companies which are in the midst of launching a campaign, product, or new merger or acquisition and need an immense amount of technical help in a short period of time.
Similarly, companies that have an older network or have not performed extensive maintenance in the last few years benefit from being able to simply hire the job done. There’s no need for a year-round technician when a team of enthusiastic freelancers can perform all necessary updates and installs within a few days.
The only downside to IT outsourcing is the lack of personal connectivity and long-term investment. Companies that want to foster a ‘family’ atmosphere should invest in hiring an in-house team.
IT Outsourcing Providers
A variety of vendors both big and small provide access to these freelance IT professionals, including Accenture, IBM, Infosys , and smaller firms such as elance and freelancer. Choosing the right provider is as much about the size of a given company and its particular technical needs as it is about the size of the provider. A small firm of ten to twenty people that is launching a new website, for example, will easily be able to satisfy its IT Outsourcing needs with a smaller firm such as elance, which hosts a list of qualified professionals that bid independently by project. For a company of over 100 people, a larger firm such as IBM may be able to offer a more cohesive strategy for a larger project, but if the project is still at a relatively small scale, a smaller site may be able to provide all the necessary help.
Choosing an IT Outsourcing Provider
In the case of an internationally renowned architecture firm that employed a total of 220 people, the company not only needed design help with proprietary software, but a complete overhaul of its systems. The company needed an overall strategy and an IT outsourcing firm that could not only conceptualize of where the company was going, but the most cost-effective way to get there. This involved understanding the types of software the company was currently using, the projected growth of the firm, and the amount of underlying power in terms of servers and hardware required. This company also needed to update its website to reflect the new types of services it would be offering to the public. Because of the complexity of the software they were developing, the company wanted to integrate a feature on their website that would not only display a demo of their new software, but allow visitors to experiment with a high degree of interactivity.
This architecture firm wisely choose a larger IT outsourcing company that not only had the staff, but the ability to provide in-depth analysis of the architecture firm’s present and future needs. Because the company’s needs were so varied and complex; they required the equivalent of a fully staffed IT department that could work as a fully integrated unit. Once the software had been developed and linked with the website, the architecture firm no longer needed so many IT professionals. The company was able to scale down to only a few maintenance personnel who could help with any technical issues that developed as a result of day to day use.
During the same time frame, a small instruments manufacturing business with a total of ten employees needed to launch its first website. The company had virtually no experience with computer software or design. They contacted a smaller IT outsourcing firm, which was able to provide them with a top web designer at an excellent rate. The web designer was able to quickly and cost-effectively design a fully operational web site, complete with an e-commerce portion, within only a few weeks. Once the web site had been launched, the company was able to scale down their contact with the web designer, but still call with questions or occasional updates as needed.
In each of these cases, the companies benefited from being able to outsource the work they needed at the scale they needed, for a price that made sense. Both companies kept in touch with the IT outsourcing firms for basic maintenance questions. The IT freelancers involved with each company’s project were able to work in the field in which they excel. Both the freelancers and the companies found exactly what they were looking for: a job well done.
Future of IT Outsourcing
IT Outsourcing is still an emerging field, partly because the very nature of IT; itself constantly evolving. The global nature of the economy provides constant opportunities for innovation as well as competition. There is no “standard” in IT, because technology is always developing at a rapid pace.
Businesses in the 21st century do not have the luxury of sitting back and waiting to see what others will do; they must remain technologically competitive. Simultaneously, businesses must concentrate on their core product or service and minimize the cost of maintaining and updating their infrastructure.
IT Outsourcing is an ideal meeting place for IT professionals and non-IT industries. Both parties benefit from the arrangement, helping each other to bolster productivity, eliminate redundancies, and keep on the cutting edge without busting any budgets.