Let’s face it, most small companies are scrappy and lean. This means you probably don’t have an internal IT person—many don’t even have a contracted person or anywhere to turn for IT problems aside from perhaps calling for hardware or software manufacturer support (if you’ve had the displeasure of suffering through this, we feel for you!!)

On the other hand, let’s say your small business is growing (awesome!) and it’s time to hire your first IT person (let’s call him “Bob”). By the time this happens, IT typically needs some SERIOUS attention. In addition to providing support to users, Bob is now responsible for all your IT assets (servers, laptops, software, phones and more), handling telecommunication contracts, vendor/manufacturer relationships, sourcing software and equipment, and not to mention the company’s IT strategy as a whole.

Now, how is Bob supposed to do all that on his own? The honest answer is that Bob simply can’t do it all—he’ll have to pick and choose—but the company can’t afford another full-time hire. What to do??

Bob spends a substantial part of each day covering IT help desk support and is often left struggling to take care of other IT tasks. The result: a reactive management strategy that keeps Bob in perpetual crisis mode. When Bob suffers, everybody else suffers with him, as IT issues mount. Productivity is reduced as frustration grows throughout the organization.

When you have a small IT team and a shoestring budget, there are other issues, too. If you have only one or two IT staff, illness and vacation time can leave you without any IT support. You have experienced that pain and want to prevent similar scenarios in the future. However, a quick search online yields dozens of IT companies in your area, each describing their services with jargon you never heard of.

The Strange Language of IT Service Providers

For people who don’t regularly navigate the waters of IT service providers, the language can be confusing. You’re often left scratching your head with terms that appear to mean the same thing, but do not. Furthermore, there is often a lot of overlap in the definitions of distinct terms. For example, take a look at these general terms, from Gartner:

IT Outsourcing (as a part of an outsourcing definition) is the use of external service providers to effectively deliver IT-enabled business process, application service and infrastructure solutions for business outcomes.

Managed Service Provider (MSP) delivers network, application, system and e-management services across a network to multiple enterprises, using a “pay as you go” pricing model. A “pure play” MSP focuses on management services as its core offering.

Co-sourced IT — A managed service that partners with you to provide only the IT services your business needs. (from businessdictionary.com)

Clearing up the confusion makes it a lot easier to find your way from the ocean of options into the harbor of the right IT solutions provider for you. Now that you have a clearer understanding of these terms, let’s take a look at outsourced IT support.

Outsourced IT

When you outsource your IT, you essentially hand over all of your IT needs to a third-party vendor. They take over daily IT operations and support as well as future planning to meet your business and technology objectives.

Outsourced IT is ideal for SMBs that have no formal IT department, but need IT systems to operate smoothly and reliably (not all SMBs rely on technology enough to invest in outsourced IT).

What are the benefits of outsourced IT?

Outsourced IT provides multiple benefits to the SMB by managing all IT operations. You gain access to IT professionals with skills and expertise similar to those employed by large corporations, at a fraction of the cost. They are able to jump right in, learn your IT environment, and begin providing the IT support you need.

A Proactive Approach to Help Desk Support

Another benefit of out-sourced IT is that it should include a “managed” component (they should also be a Managed Service Provider). Managed Services essentially amounts to preventative IT maintenance What this means for your business is that small IT problems are nipped in the bud as soon as they bubble up, and before they have a chance to compound into much bigger, more costly ones—something that most small business cannot do on their own.

Outsourced IT Staff Come to Your Office When You Need Them

While remote IT support is often adequate, you may need a more personalized approach. On-site IT support staff get to know your employees the same as if they worked there. You can’t beat the quality of service delivered by on-site IT support professionals who know your employees by name.

Cost Becomes a Scaleable Expense

Outsourced IT allows an organization the freedom to scale IT service up or down to meet business needs and budget. This flexibility makes outsourced IT support a great value for your company.

Co-Sourced IT Support

When you opt for a co-sourced solution, the IT provider partners with you to learn what your specific ITs needs are. A strategy is developed that seamlessly integrates their IT professionals with your IT team to deliver IT holistically and efficiently. For example, most companies choose to delegate first-level help desk to a co-source partner, freeing up IT resources for strategic tasks and initiatives.

Benefits of Co-sourced IT Support

Co-sourced IT has all of the benefits of outsourced IT, plus added flexibility that allows your organization to divide up IT responsibilities. With a co-sourced IT partnership, you gain the value of IT services that is tailored to your specific needs and works in cooperation with your internal IT staff..

What’s Best for Your Organization—Outsourced or Co-sourced?

At this point, you have a much clearer picture of the options available to you. But, which one is best for your organization—outsourced or co-sourced IT support?

How to Decide Which Option Is Best for You

One way to decide which solution is the right fit for your business is to consider the size and scope of your IT needs. Typically, if you have 50 or less IT users in your organization, an outsourced IT solution may be best for you.

But what if you have more than 50 employees and at least one IT person?

Co-sourcing is almost always the right fit for businesses with 50 or more employees—especially if there’s at least one IT person. The co-sourcing partnership gives you the best of both worlds: delegate routine system monitoring, maintenance and help desk while in-house IT works on strategic initiatives such as future upgrades / planning, new locations and executive needs.

Coretelligent Offers IT Solutions Tailored to Your Needs

Sometimes, small to mid-sized companies need specialized IT support, but don’t want to outsource all of IT. When you need a custom IT support solution, talk with us. We’ll listen to your needs and concerns, then help you create and deliver an IT strategy that meets your needs and budget. Satisfaction guaranteed!

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