The world is much more interconnected in the age of the internet, and geography no longer defines who works on our teams. We may hire locally, and we may hire remote workers when we need to broaden our search for a specific skill. Our employees are already very busy with their work, and wasted time spent grinding away at the mundane, daily tasks that are necessary for our businesses to operate can leave them feeling distracted and pressed for time. It doesn’t need to be that way.
Outsourcing is a great way to cut the clutter. This IT outsourcing guide will give you the practical knowledge to determine whether or not outsourcing is beneficial for your organization, as well as a few pros and cons of outsourcing your IT needs.
What is IT outsourcing?
Outsourcing is when we hire a third party to complete some tasks or job roles for us. We usually outsource things that are either tedious daily tasks that distract from the business at hand or highly technical things that we need help with, but not enough help to justify hiring a full time employee. For many businesses, that means outsourcing their IT needs.
Insourcing vs. outsourcing
The difference between insourcing and outsourcing is fairly simple. Insourcing involves assigning roles to employees within the company to focus on and complete projects, while outsourcing involves hiring a third party company to oversee the project.
Insourcing can be beneficial for short term or ongoing projects that are central to the business operations. Outsourcing is a great solution for tedious, day to day tasks that eat up a substantial amount of time or for projects that involve skill sets that may not be readily available in-house.
IT outsourcing guide: Types of outsourcing
If you’re planning on outsourcing some or all of your IT needs, you’ll need to take inventory of your company’s specific needs and familiarize yourself with the different types of IT outsourcing. When choosing your provider, you have three primary types to choose from.
Many companies choose nearshore or offshore outsourcing to save money, but outsourcing to another country can present problems of its own. If your provider works in a vastly different time zone, you may find your team working odd hours to accommodate. On the other hand, those odd hours may be needed to keep your company online and responsive 24 hours a day. It all depends upon your needs.
Why do companies outsource IT services?
Real estate is a mobile industry. We spend our time bouncing between one property and another, with occasional stops at the office to handle paperwork and broaden our knowledge of the local market. With a busy schedule that requires us to be in many places throughout the day, being stuck at the office mulling the minutiae is a schedule killer. Luckily, there’s no reason we need that headache in our lives.
Some projects and tasks require a dedicated staff, and others don’t. It all depends on the scope and duration of the project. Even if you can find a qualified person to fill the role, it’s not always best to pull people away from their work or take on another team member. There are many benefits of outsourcing IT, so familiarize yourself with the tradeoffs before making any decisions. Here are a few of the major drivers when companies make their decision on whether or not to outsource.
Outsourcing IT services: pros and cons
YOU CAN SAVE A DECENT AMOUNT OF MONEY
When it comes to IT, most real estate firms don’t have enough work to justify a full time IT person or department. When you hire a third party to help with any work that either doesn’t require a full time employee or requires expertise or skill sets different from those generally associated with your line of work, you can save a lot of money on overhead and salary.
The companies that we outsource work to have their own employees and workspaces. There’s no need to keep a dedicated office for that help, and we can pay them as needed.
TAP INTO TALENT POOLS AROUND THE WORLD
The truth is, much of the IT talent available to us just isn’t in our region or city. When we need IT help and are working with a limited local talent pool, the price of that help generally goes up. Additionally, many of the IT professionals in your area may not have experience in the field, so they’ll require a little time to cut their teeth on industry specifics. By tapping into a worldwide talent pool, we can get the part time help we need at a price that won’t break the bank.
CREATE A 24-HOUR FIRM
With outsourced IT support, we can remain online, even when we’ve all gone home for the day. Since the companies we outsource to are often located in different time zones or countries, it becomes much easier to have them handle after hours tasks than to request your in-house staff work late nights and odd hours. Anything that takes us offline can happen during low traffic hours and won’t have the same impacts as they would during peak hours.
ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY
Another great benefit of outsourcing your IT is the access to technology that comes with it. If you hire someone to run your IT department in-house, you will be on the hook for all the hardware and software needed to make your business run. Not only will you have to pay to purchase equipment, but you’ll have to pay people to maintain it, too.
Utilizing your IT outsourcing guide to identify a third party provider will take a lot of those technology purchases off your plate. Partnering with real estate IT outsourcing services means you have access to the latest technology without dealing with the huge expenses associated with purchasing and maintaining new equipment, only to have to do it all over again when the next big piece of tech is released.
FREE UP TIME TO FOCUS ON YOUR CORE DUTIES
One of the main reasons you may be looking into an IT outsourcing guide is that you’ve got IT needs that are either eating up a substantial portion of your time or you don’t have the skill set to efficiently complete tasks. You could learn the IT ropes, but fitting it into our busy schedule can be tough.
Companies that outsource IT services can free up time and brainpower to focus on their core duties and responsibilities. By having someone else take care of your IT infrastructure, you won’t have technical issues gumming up the gears of your daily routine and can fully focus on the tasks at hand.
Cons of outsourcing
While there are tremendous benefits associated with outsourcing some of our labor, there are some downsides.
Working within specific timeframes
Even though having a dedicated team working all hours of the day is a great benefit that you get with outsourced IT support services, communicating with your remote workforce can cause a few changes to the way you usually do business. If the firm you’ve outsourced to is on the other side of the world, you may have to be more diligent about planning meeting times and more patient about the potential delays in communication.
When we introduce remote workers to our teams, we sometimes run into the issue of shallow interpersonal relationships and teams that don’t know each other particularly well. If this concerns you, team building activities and gatherings should be an essential part of your plan. Team building is an essential part of any solid IT outsourcing guide, and for a good reason. Even the occasional virtual gathering will help develop relationships, but if you can fit in some in-person meetups, you’ll develop a greater sense of camaraderie among your staff.
Lack of local knowledge
One of the biggest parts of being successful in the real estate world is having a comprehensive knowledge of the region in which you live and work. For this reason, some tasks can be outsourced without issue, while other tasks may require more knowledge of the area.
Outsourcing a receptionist from another time zone can create headaches when it comes to things like scheduling and routing. They are unfamiliar with the area and may not understand real world situations that arise where you live, such as traffic or construction. Luckily, outsourcing your IT presents no such problem. Most IT tasks can be handled remotely without issue.
The future of IT outsourcing
As we’ve moved out of the office and found that a remote workforce is actually having many positive impacts on employee satisfaction and productivity, we will likely see the trend continue. For some tasks, a dedicated local staff is imperative. But for those tasks that don’t require it, outsourcing will be the route of choice for business owners around the world.
Also, keep learning. By following your IT outsourcing guides, you’ll become more and more familiar with the real estate IT outsourcing risks and challenges to be aware of. Reach out if you need more information on how to outsource your IT needs. We focus on the business of IT, so you can focus on your business.