Play to win with your IT budget

Let me put a scenario to you…

Imagine your business is growing; all the hard work you’ve put in during the downturn has paid off. Sales are on the up but overheads are still always at the forefront of any of your business decisions.

The majority of twenty first century businesses rely heavily on their IT infrastructure to maintain day to day operations and a business with, say 50 staff, all using computers on a daily basis, will probably at this point have to make the decision whether to outsource their IT support or alternatively to consider bringing in an IT manager to do this job in-house.

At first glance it may seem the better deal to pay an IT manager’s salary. According to the average salary of an IT manager in the United Kingdom is £41,350.

Depending on the area that your business is located and the level of skill, knowledge and experience you’re expecting the successful candidate to have, this could vary by plus or minus at least £10,000. How does this compare to the cost of outsourcing your IT requirements?

The answer depends on the level of service that you expect to receive. A typical 50-user business could expect to pay around £20k to £30k per annum for complete IT support to include broadband, cabling, systems and software with telephone helpline support and on site support within 24 hours.

But there’s more to consider than salary alone. One person has one lot of knowledge and he or she can’t be expected to know it all. A team of outsourced specialists however will offer first line, second line and third line support with consultancy and procurement advice.

We have specialist consultants who have worked in a wide range of businesses from SME to blue chip and across a broad spectrum of market sectors throughout Europe from finance and public sector, to pharmaceutical and sectors as specific as horticulture.

This means that we’re likely to have encountered your specific IT challenge historically somewhere within our combined experience as a team; and our consultants do work as a team, relying on each other to support with areas of specialist knowledge where required.

This gives peace of mind to our clients that their specific needs are understood and handled efficiently, effectively and speedily. In contrast a stand-alone IT manager has no team around to support him and may struggle if challenged with an IT issue that he hasn’t previously had to deal with.

Business continuity is seamless with outsourced IT support but this isn’t the case with an in-house IT manager; holidays and sickness can’t be avoided and could prove costly to the business if an emergency arises during these times.

The back bone of your business, an area which affects just about every member of staff working within the organisation, is in the hands of one person. They say that no-one is indispensible and that’s very true, but it takes time to replace an IT manager and to introduce them to the way in which your business expects to be supported.

The unseen benefits of outsourcing include the fact that costs are actually reduced as there’s no NI to pay, no employment law to consider, no pension or car required, no desk space needed (a premium cost in city centre locations) and no staff benefits to provide. One less member of staff to be recruited, trained, managed and rewarded; one less individual to fit in with the culture of your organisation.

So the decision doesn’t come down to outgoings alone and is not as straightforward as first appears. As we enter the Olympic year my advice to growing SME’s is to play to win with your IT budget and look further than salary alone when facing the internal versus outsourced IT support dilemma.