Play to win with your IT budget

Play to win with your IT budget

Gary Smith of Prism Total IT Solutions discusses the benefits and drawbacks of employing an in-house IT Manager to look after your business IT infrastructure.

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. A business with, say 50 staff, all using computers on a daily basis, will probably at some point (due, perhaps to continued growth, retirement or restructure) be in a position where they should reassess whether they have their IT Support outsourced or an IT manager to do this job in-house.

At first glance it may seem that continuing to pay an IT manager’s salary is the easier or more familiar option. However this is a significant overhead; according to the average salary of an IT manager in the United Kingdom is £41,350. Depending on your location of your business and the level of skill, knowledge and experience you’re expecting the successful candidate to have, this could vary by up to £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 only has one set of skills and knowledge; it is unreasonable to assume they would be able to deal effectively with every possible IT issue. A team of outsourced specialists however will offer first line, second line and third line support with consultancy and procurement advice. Within Prism for example, our specialist Engineers bring a wide spectrum of knowledge- having worked in businesses across Europe, from SME to FTSE 100 and in diverse sectors including Finance, Public Sector, Pharmaceuticals and even Horticulture!.

Consequently the client who outsources their IT Support will benefit from the combined knowledge, history and infrastructure of the IT Company, meaning that blossoming businesses have no limitations on speed or rate of growth and adopting new technologies to suit this. 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 offer support and may struggle if challenged with an IT issue that hasn’t previously arisen.

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 indispensable 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.