About 34% of companies outsource some or all of their IT operations.
As IT budgets continue to increase, companies look to outsourcing to rein in the costs. It’s a hard thing to do because just about every business relies on IT to operate.
As a business owner, you’re always looking for ways to manage time, budgets, and technologies. An IT support consultant can help you do that and more.
Are you ready to learn what the benefits of hiring IT support consultants are?
Read on to learn why it’s time to hire outside help for IT and what to look for in the best IT consultants.
1. Get an Outside Perspective
People in your organization are so used to being in it every day, they lose a little bit of perspective. It’s easy to overlook holes in policies and procedures because that’s been the way it’s been done for years.
Employees get comfortable over time and become reluctant to change. That’s just human nature.
If you really want to shake things up in your IT department, you need to have an outside perspective. A fresh view lets you view the true opportunity costs of staying the same.
2. Focus On Your Business
No matter if you have a large or small business, you can benefit from an IT support consultant. How much time do you and your employees spend trying to fix technology?
An offline printer disrupts the entire office, and it takes time to figure out what’s wrong with it. Software updates, security issues, and technical issues keep you from doing your job.
IT support lets you focus on your core business. You can deliver better service to your customers which means they’ll buy from you more often. An IT support company can have that much impact on your bottom line.
3. Cost Effective
How much does it cost to hire an IT employee? The median salary of an IT worker is around $90,000 a year. That doesn’t include benefits, health insurance, and payroll taxes.
There are additional IT costs beyond payroll costs. You have to maintain your computers, replace and upgrade equipment, and ensure there’s enough space in your office for IT equipment.
These costs fluctuate from month to month, which makes it difficult to budget for IT.
An IT support consultant costs much less. Depending on how your support is structured, you can have the consultant come in for a flat, predictable fee.
4. Highly Scalable IT Services
One of the best things about IT support services is that you can adjust the level of services according to the needs of your business, whether it’s for ongoing work or a short-term project.
For instance, you might need to hire an IT consultant to help you install a new VoIP system. You can hire IT services to serve as a help desk.
Do you want to migrate to cloud-based services? IT support can help with that, too. IT support takes
More companies find value in using fully managed IT support services. A fully managed IT team handles everything related to your company’s IT. They work with your existing IT staff to let them focus on other projects.
It’s very easy to scale IT services up as your business grows or your needs change.
5. Cybersecurity Protection
Are you really prepared for a cyberattack? One estimate says that only 14% of small businesses are ready for a cyberattack.
Even large businesses can’t escape cyberattacks, as T-Mobile became the latest company to experience a severe data breach. It didn’t take long for class-action lawsuits to get filed, either.
Cyberattacks and data breaches are incredibly costly. You’ll pay for an attack through downtime, opportunity costs, bad PR, and potential privacy lawsuits.
You have to show that you did everything possible to protect your customers. An IT support agency helps your business prepare for cyberattacks, detect them, and respond to them.
The best IT support consultants take their work a step further. They educate and train your employees. Most attacks happen through phishing, which is where scammers send mass emails hoping someone will click on a link.
That one click can let criminals into your business. The training your employees get prevents that from happening.
6. Retain Employees
Small businesses are forced to have employees wear many different hats. Your bookkeeper might be responsible for IT support. It doesn’t matter who it is, there’s a good chance that IT wasn’t part of the job description.
That can be frustrating for your employees. First of all, it’s not what they signed up for. They’re also not getting paid to provide IT expertise.
The frustration contributes to an overall feeling of job dissatisfaction. Your employees are more likely to leave.
IT support services takes the load off of your staff, which allows them to focus on their work and areas of expertise.
7. IT Becomes a Part of Your Business Strategy
One of the biggest challenges for many businesses is that they can’t seem to align the technology with company goals.
Why is this important? Technology has to keep up with your business. After all, IT exists to support the business, not take over the business.
IT support consultants ensure that the entire IT infrastructure gets aligned with your vision, mission, and goals. That allows your IT department to respond quickly, give support, and create positive momentum.
8. Eliminate Waste From Your Business
There are times when you have the same people performing the same processes. This wastes time and money.
IT support consultants look at all of the processes of the business. They work to create an infrastructure that eliminates waste and breaks down silos between departments.
Some IT support consultants specialize in automation, which keeps your employees from performing the same repetitive tasks.
Their time is freed up to pursue other tasks to help you grow the business.
9. Save Management Time
As you learned earlier, it’s expensive to hire an IT employee. One of the costs not mentioned before is the time to manage your IT team.
You have to work hard to keep your employees alert and engaged. An employee that approaches work like they just want to collect a paycheck can have serious consequences to your business.
They could lose focus and forget to install a security patch on your servers. The next thing you know, your company gets hit by a cyberattack.
You don’t have the same costs to hire an IT consultant. They will need some time to get to know your business, but they already have systems and infrastructure in place to do their work.
Plus, they’re there to serve the business, not just collect a paycheck. They know that if you don’t like their work, you can always hire another IT support consultant.
10. You’re Prepared for Disasters
Only 54% of companies have a disaster recovery plan. This is becoming more important every day as we continue to experience climate change. Storms, floods, wildfires, and other threats are more likely.
Other disasters are caused by cybersecurity issues and things out of your control. Many businesses aren’t prepared for prolonged shutdowns, as we saw during the pandemic.
What would happen if you lost your data? That’s the problem that a disaster recovery plan solves.
Many IT support consultants are prepared to create and test a data recovery plan. That step can save your business.
How to Hire IT Support Services
Do you fully understand the benefits of hiring IT support consultants? If so, then you’re going to want to get started immediately.
You should know what to look for in the best IT support companies before you search for IT support near me.
Start by looking at your business needs. What are the critical functions that you need help with? What are the processes that take too long?
You want to have a clear purpose for hiring an IT consultant. Also, be open to suggestions because a consultant might point out other areas where they can have an impact on your business.
The next step is to look online and search for IT support companies near you. You could hire a company far away, but you want the company to be close enough to provide immediate support if necessary.
Check out the reviews of the companies near you. You’ll discover which companies are among the best service providers and which ones you should skip.
Don’t rely on a single site for reviews. Check with the Better Business Bureau, your local chamber of commerce, and Google. You should see a consistent theme among the reviews.
Pick the top providers in your area and visit their websites. Read about their experience, certifications, and types of IT services they provide.
Protect Your Business Assets
IT support consultants have access to the most sensitive data within your company. They will have access to trade secrets and intellectual property assets.
You don’t want to have an IT consultant access your accounts after they work with you or hijack your social media accounts. It’s unlikely that could happen, but there is a possibility.
This is critical if you’re hiring an IT consultant to develop software. Some consultants might claim later that they own the code, since it’s their work, therefore their intellectual property.
You need to address these issues upfront. Make it clear in the contract what the expectations are around intellectual property.
Questions to Ask IT Support Consultants
You’ll need to interview 3-5 IT support companies before hiring one. This is an opportunity to discover which one is the right fit for your business.
Break the ice by asking the consultant what got them into IT. If they specialize in your industry, ask them what drew them to focus on that particular industry.
An IT support consultant might specialize in the financial services industry because they worked for leading financial corporations. That tells you they understand the unique challenges and regulations that financial companies face.
You can ask them about the role that they see IT playing in your organization. You’ll be able to gauge if the consultant has a strategic approach to your business or not.
IT support consultants should have a systematic approach to their work. You want to know how they tackle and solve major problems. You don’t need to see documented processes, but a general answer gives you enough information.
An IT consultant is an outsider, and they’ll be seen as such by your employees. Employees typically don’t warm up to consultants because many associate consultants with layoffs.
You’ll want to know how an IT consultant develops relationships with your staff. Be sure to ask them if they train your staff on cybersecurity and operational issues.
Certain industries like healthcare and banking have compliance issues to deal with. The IT consultant you hire needs to have experience working with these regulations. Failing to find this out puts your business at risk of violating regulations.
Finally, ask the providers about their costs and packages. It’s best to compare a few quotes. You want to be clear about the cost and what services they’ll provide.
Invest In Your Business by Hiring an IT Support Consultant
If your business is a body, technology is the brain and spine of the business. You need to care for your business by giving more attention to the technology side of things.
That’s why having an IT support consultant is so valuable. Not only do you understand why so companies outsource some part of IT operations, but you know how to do so.
The end result is that you have a stronger business where IT is aligned with your business goals.
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