IT Outsourcing – The New Normal

Is your IT central in driving your business strategy? If you answer “no”, ”not very”, “I do not know”, “I’m not sure” or “I do not have any IT strategy”, you’re your business is in trouble.  With COVID around and most of the world’s employees, customers, investors and even competitors working remotely, you need a sound IT infrastructure to drive your business online.   Everyone these days and into the future rely on technology to carry them through their daily work to be productive.  Ubiquitous access to company resources and processes requires a solid IT infrastructure managed by professionals for a guaranteed return in your investments.Because of the need  for sound IT infrastructure and costs involved for its internal management,  some businesses prefer outsourcing their services to third-party providers with the relevant expertise to drive their growth. But wait – what exactly is IT Outsourcing?

IT outsourcing involves entrusting provider with relevant expertise and experience to manage and grow a company’s technology services and resources at an agreed fees. This is an alternative to an in-house IT team, which consists of employees who work for the business. An outsourcing company in this case acts as a third-party vendor that works with multiple clients to develop technology solutions on a contract or as-needed basis.

Outsource your IT services and enjoy the following benefits:

Gain access to talent around the World

As we’ve discussed, outsourcing means you can work with a provider in a country that are not your own, even one on the other side of the world. You may find specializations you lack in-house but need to complete a project.

Control costs

Even if you choose an onshore IT outsourcing model, you’ll still save on costs. In-house teams require full-time salaries, benefits, and additional fees for resources and equipment. Not only will you not need to provide full-time salaries and benefits to a third-party team, but the vendor will also have its own infrastructure and resources that you won’t have to fund. Moreover, the provider will invest in the training and professional development of their team.

Of course, if you outsource to a provider in a developing country, such as one in Africa or Asia, you’ll save even more.

Focus on core business functions

Perhaps you have some IT-related projects that are integral to your core functions as a business, such as app development. You may want your in-house IT team dedicated to those matters, but where does that leave the rest of your tasks — including general maintenance and upkeep? Outsourcing will allow you and your in-house team to focus on core business functions.

Share risk

Compliance, functionality, and other IT-related risks are mitigated when you outsource projects and tasks to a third-party provider. This is because the provider will share the responsibility and risk as a partner in the venture, which makes you safer overall.

Assist with growth and short-term needs

As your company grows, you may find that you don’t have the staff and resources to accommodate your efforts to scale up. Many businesses outsource during transition periods. This provides short-term solutions to keep them going until they determine how they’ll meet their longer-term needs, either by hiring full-time IT employees or forming a more established relationship with an IT outsourcing company.

Alternatively, you may have fluctuating demands depending on the nature of your industry, the season, and other factors. During busy periods, outsourcing can help you accommodate your workload.

Types of Outsourcing

Onshore

The business outsources IT services to another organization or individual within their home country. For example, a company based in Bulawayo might outsource services to a provider in Harare. This is often the most convenient arrangement since there are no timezone discrepancies, language and cultural barriers but usually the most expensive one.

Nearshore

Under this partnership, a business outsources IT services to a provider in a nearby country. An organization in the Zimbabwe, for example, might work with a provider in South Africa. This is often seen as the best of both worlds as the partners are culturally similar, in similar time zones, and the price is lower than that of an onshore arrangement.

Offshore

Outsourcing to an offshore partner means working with a provider overseas. A company in Zimbabwe could outsource IT services to India or China, for instance. This is usually the least expensive arrangement, although there might be complications, such as communication, time zones differences and geographical barriers.

Models of Outsourcing

Project-Based

In a project-based model, the business outsources a specific project to an outside provider. Often, this is a project that doesn’t fall under the purview of the contracting business and its core business functions. This doesn’t necessarily mean the arrangement will be short-term, the provider might complete a series of projects for the business as needed.

Staff Augmentation

Perhaps you don’t have the necessary skills in-house to complete certain tasks or projects. Staff augmentation is a good solution for filling in any gaps that exist in your on-site team. This is typically a longer-term arrangement than a project-based one. Staff augmentation is also a good model if you have tasks that require additional workers to complete. Your provider can perform regular maintenance and adjustments as part of their contract, allowing your full-time employees to focus on other issues.

Development Center

Opening an off-site development center is often considered an outsourcing arrangement. A development center contains resources that the home office can’t accommodate and employs people from the region to carry out IT operations.

Hosting

Through a hosting model, the contracting business hires an IT provider to establish and run a server or multiple servers. Unlike other arrangements, the provider is responsible for one specific task that requires minimal work to maintain — rather, you’re essentially paying for the equipment and storage space, as well as the technical skills to update and keep them secure.

Commonly Outsourced IT Services

There are a number of commonly outsourced IT services. They include:

  • Web design and development
  • Web/cloud hosting
  • Web optimization
  • Cybersecurity
  • Application development
  • Software and website management and updates
  • Technical support
  • Database management
  • Data storage
  • Quality assurance (QA) testing
  • Contact center management

An IT outsourcing company can provide many advantages to businesses of all sizes, offering different models and means of delivering technology services of all types. If you’re considering using one as part of your strategy, think about your goals, and do your research to find the best partner for you.  INDEX has been in the business of IT service provision and consultancy since 2013.  We are more than ready to help you choose the best partners for outsourcing even if we do not eventually get the contract to give you services.

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