For some business owners, the notion of outsourcing anything to an outside firm might seem a little scary. It’s attractive to have everyone who’s doing anything for your company working as a dedicated full-time employee.
But these days most businesses can benefit from advanced technologies like cloud computing, remote backup and systems that integrate computer and phone networks. Often, you won’t even know what technological solutions make sense for them until you see them in action.
That’s where IT consulting comes in. An IT firm can look at the big picture and suggest what investments might make sense. Because they work with multiple clients, they have up-to-date expertise in what other companies are finding useful, which means you can benefit from the experiences of others.
Consulting firms also have a surprising cost benefit. If a company has its own internal IT department, a handful of employees probably have to do everything from overhauling the entire email system to setting up voicemail for a new hire. That means they have to be seriously overqualified—and overpaid—for some of their assignments. With an outside firm, you’re hiring a team that includes people with a variety of experience levels. Often it also means you can have several IT professionals on hand when you need them and none when you don’t.
Here’s another thing about outsourcing IT—it’s probably inevitable, at least for some things. More and more of us are using the cloud every day, even if that just means throwing a file into Dropbox or sharing something on Google Docs, and that means trusting our data to outside parties. IT consulting firms can help businesses do these kinds of things in ways that are more secure—and that also offer extra benefits like emergency backup.
IT firms can work with companies a variety of ways—from troubleshooting email problems to developing a cloud strategy for connecting remote offices. But you probably won’t know which solutions might make sense for your office until you start asking.