The short answer, and the one you’d expect from an IT support provider, is as soon as you can. That said, you don’t need to be shelling out thousands of pounds a month while you’re working out of your bedroom. Here’s some things to think about:
How much time are you spending fixing problems or finding efficiencies?
This goes for more than just IT; how much time are you spending cleaning your workspace, or working out your accounts? Whatever is getting in the way of you growing the business most is the thing you need to outsource first.
When you’re working with a small team it’s easy to soldier on with a fairly basic IT setup. But things can get complicated quickly; when you launch your website and your Gmail account doesn’t look so professional anymore, do you know how to link an email to your domain? When the team starts expanding and emails and OneDrive are no longer suitable for filesharing, where do you go next? How familiar are you with backups, disaster recovery and cyber security?
Some of these problems could have hundreds of different solutions, but going down the wrong path can leave you with long term headaches. This can be avoided by speaking to a provider who’s guided companies on a similar journey to yours. Even a quick consultation could provide enormous long term benefits.
Types of Support
As we’ve mentioned, outsourcing your IT doesn’t have to be expensive, and there’s a lot of different ways you can get support. Initially you might just need to know an ‘IT guy’ who can help you fix things when they break. We’ve touched on why break-fix contracts aren’t great in the long run, but in the short term they’re a perfectly fine stopgap.
As your business and your team expands you may want to move to a managed contract, where you pay a predictable monthly amount for support. This might include IT support, software licences and your internet and phone systems. Some providers may offer rolling contracts, so you can be more flexible with how and when you work with them.
But managed contracts can also be the basis for longer term relationships. Many of our clients have been with us for years; and with some our relationship has evolved to the stage we’ve developed custom applications that have transformed how fundamental business processes work.
Already have internal IT resource? Don’t ignore external providers.
We’ve covered this previously, but there’s lots of ways internal and external IT resource can work together, including the absolute basics like holiday and absence cover. Did the It team all order the same dodgy curry at the staff party, and aren’t able to attend the office? You can have someone on hand to step into the breach.
But IT providers can be more than just a second pair of hands. Having an outside perspective on your long term IT strategy is another benefit on an ongoing relationship. By speaking to a company that solves IT problems day in and day out, and can understand how IT needs change and evolve, you save yourself having to learn everything from scratch. You’ll also get the best of both worlds; tried and tested methods combined with knowledge of the latest tools and approaches for solving your problem.
Not sure your ready to outsource? We’re happy to talk over the pros and cons. Speak to us here: