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To Outsource or Not: Help With the When

Sometimes, it’s hard to know when to ask for help, to identify the most appropriate moment for admitting you can’t do it all, after all, and that requesting assistance with a task outside of your wheelhouse of expertise, is perfectly acceptable. Indeed, it’s the wisest thing.

So it is with all things IT, a subject area that gets increasingly complicated in direct relation with your organization’s need for it. Here are some scenarios during which the call for an outsider to manage its most fiddly bits makes the most sense:

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  • Cheaper-choice outsourcing. Oftentimes, it’s simply a smarter economic option to bring in contractors to oversee an organization’s IT needs, given the requirement to pay the benefits and retirement options of a full-timer. A freelance mind that’s well versed in the intricacies of every technical challenge you can dish up might simply be cheaper than training a specialist from within.
  • Special skill outsourcing. Sometimes, an organization’s corporate activities wander into decidedly complicated territory, and the IT talents required to see an initiative through are simply beyond the grasp of regular folk. It’s at this point that calling in the services of a top-notch, specialized technician is an incontestably smart bet.
  • Piecemeal outsourcing. The services of an external IT expert needn’t be applied to every project in your kit bag. If your internal expertise is reasonable to a certain extent, and if your budget is equally limited, consider hiring outside staff for only your most technically tricky initiatives.
  • Short-term outsourcing. If the project in question is of the quick-turnaround, tactical nature (versus an IT undertaking that’s intrinsic to the essential daily-bread business of the company), it’s worth considering turning it out.
  • Valve-release outsourcing. The ability of your inside team to handle the technicalities of a certain IT-heavy initiative notwithstanding, if your employees’ workload is already over the limit, outsourcing the IT portion is a no-brainer. Also, if it’s simply a smarter use of your staffers’ time to have them glued to core projects rather than the IT considerations that facilitate them, don’t hesitate to call in a technical outsider so your folks can use their time more meaningfully (even if the activity could be done more cheaply in house).
  • Infrastructure-upgrade outsourcing. If a company is in a growth stage or is introducing new technical aspects to its infrastructure, it’s likely smarter to bring in a few outside technicians to set up shop and see to it that the insiders are up to speed.
  • Low-need outsourcing. Sometimes, it isn’t the crazy-challenging technical environment of a company’s IT preoccupations that sends it scurrying for outsourced expertise; sometimes, it’s quite the opposite. If your firm has a fairly stable and unchanging set of IT needs, it would be overkill for it to host its own in-house IT team. Better, in this scene, to outsource for expertise on an as-needed basis.

Outsourcing can be an extremely strategic tool for making your business more productive and profitable — but only if you know when to take advantage of it. Be mindful then, and use the force wisely.

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