When is the Right Time To Take On My Own In-house IT Person or Outsource My IT Support?

Maurice looks like he might cry.

He’s been stuck under a desk, in someone else’s dust, following the instructions he googled 20 minutes ago.

It’s not working!

And he’s got his own stuff to do.  His work, his actual job, the thing that brings in revenue and makes the company grow.

Many of us have been there in varying incarnations of terror.

And then comes that moment …

The one where you relent, and accept you need help running your IT.

Like a moment of calm in battle, right now all is still carnage, but you know it’ll be alright in the end.

If this were a movie ‘Bright Sunshiny Day’ would be playing in the background.

Sure, it’ll cost some money, but that’s the price of growth, right?

Like I just said, how best to do it??

Outsource your IT to a Managed-Service-Provider, or employ your very own inhouse IT person?

So, what are the pro’s and con’s of each?

And perhaps more difficult to answer, how big does my staff count have to be to warrant having my own inhouse IT person or team?

Before I answer that question let’s shimmy down the cul-de-sac of what outsourcing looks like, compared to having your own inhouse person

Managed-Services And In-House IT

In many respects having an inhouse IT person can seem an attractive option.

You know them, they know you, they know how everyone likes to work, like the Walton’s you’re all one big happy family.

The only downside is they are just one person, therefore:

  • They get ill
  • They take holidays (selfish)
  • They can’t be everywhere at once (and this is a real problem when there’s a major problem)
  • They only know what they know!

‘They only know what they know’ might sound like a strange thing to say, but a common misperception is that if you’re a ‘techy’ person you know it all.

Like they had Google installed in them when they were born.

The truth is that techy people are really, really good at their area of expertise, but need to feel-their-way-in-the dark when it comes to areas less common to them.

What Managed Services Looks Like

First off, there’s a team of people.  If you need one person to change a password, or one person at each of your 5 sites today, it happens.

Secondly ‘diversity of knowledge’.  Teams are employed for there differing ‘areas of expertise’ and the diverse knowledge that brings, so there’s a richer pool of experience to draw upon.

Plus, you’ll have access to people like myself, who can take a step back from your business, back from specific technologies, who can tell you what your competition is doing, what’s coming down the road, and what you need to think about next.

Often the best way forward concerns itself more with changing internal policies and procedures, changing the way you work, rather than buying a box with some tech in it.

When done properly, a Managed-IT-Service provider will know you and your staff pretty much well as an inhouse person, a large part of their job is to know the characters and nuances of your business.

How Big Is Too Big?

But there does come a point when a business has grown to such a size it makes more sense for them to have their own inhouse department.

Because of the reasons listed above, an IT department only really works if it’s a ‘team’, not just one person.

So, let’s assume you have at least two people if not more.

The other consideration is cost, and let’s be honest, this is usually a big driver.

The Maths Bit

IT support tends to come in two forms, a pay-as-you go service, or an ‘unlimited’ all-you-can-eat service.

True Unlimited IT Support covers you for as much remote and onsite help as you need.

Note, whilst there are ‘retainer’, or ‘block purchase’ agreements, these fundamentally work in the same way as pay-as-you-go insofar as if one month you need a lot of work, it’ll cost you a lot more.

The cost of the all-you-can-eat IT Support tends to be around £25-£35 per computer, per month.

So, let’s say you had 100 staff, with 150 devices.

Sounds like a lot, but that would cost you £3,750 per month.

Running your own IT department, with 2 people would be around £6,000 per month, if not more. That’s not even including employers taxes, NI, pensions and time off for holidays per year etc etc.

So apart from costing less, it gives you financial certainty.

No nasty surprises.

The Magic Number Is A Minimum Of 200

The long and short of this is your staff-count needs to be closer to the 200+ to make it worthwhile even considering having your own inhouse IT support.

Even at 200+ there are still massive advantages in outsourcing it as it affords you more control to upsize/downsize, change suppliers and so on.

On Your Side

There’s another interesting facet to this as well.

Many businesses we see who outsource their IT are on a Pay-As-You Go model.

This leads to a dichotomy (finally got to use that word).

Your IT company is there to make sure everything works smoothly, otherwise you’ll probably get rid of them.

Equally, they benefit whenever anything goes wrong, they come out and fix it = they get paid.

The Unlimited IT Support model puts us on the same side of the table as you.

We want to fix things, so they never go wrong again.

We want you to grow, so you have more staff.

This gives us a vested interest in your success, and everything running smoothly … all the time.

Which tends to be what business owners want as well.

If you’d like a more detailed discussion about your business, or just need someone to save the day, we love to speak.