Outsourcing: Think Local, Not GlobalBy Russell Morgan | Posted 11-01-2006
Mention the word outsourcing in polite company and most listeners immediately think of U.S. manufacturing or customer service jobs being transferred overseas at the expense of the U.S. workforce. But the concept has a local variation that is beginning to take hold in the small- and medium-sized business market that may revolutionize how businesses deal with information technology.
Local outsourcing of technology services creates business benefits across the board, without any associated social issues and impacts. Known as "managed services", this local service allows small- and medium-sized businesses to outsource their day-to-day IT responsibilities to local technology consultantscalled solution providersright in their own backyards.
What Are Managed Services?
Managed services are provided by an outside firm. They remotely monitor and maintain your network and your computers for the purpose of anticipating, detecting and remedying problems before your computing infrastructure is brought to its knees, so to speak.
This relatively new field is growing quickly because many business owners see the benefits of having external technology experts constantly available to maintain their computer systems. In a managed services environment, you can usually afford to have a larger IT team working for your company, with broader and deeper skills in a variety of IT disciplines. Since they support multiple customers, you'll share the cost of this expertise with others. And as technology becomes more complex, your managed services technical team will allow you to keep pace by investing in the staff training required to stay on top of the latest trends, requirements and issues.
By letting a local solution provider handle day-to-day IT operations, businesses can stay focused on their core operationsthe things they do bestinstead of spending time and critical resources on technology issues, likely to be unfamiliar territory. Whether you actually save money in moving to managed services depends mostly on the current state of your network and computing infrastructure. I've found that almost all businesses end up getting more for their money, but if you haven't kept current with security patches, or performing normal maintenance routines on your equipment, you may find yourself spending more in a managed services environment than you do on technology. You'll be getting more and likely avoiding a coming catastrophe with downtime, security breaches and the like, but managed services providers aren't going to be cutting corners on training their people, building disaster recovery plans and backing up dataall tasks that you may not be investing in if you are managing your own technology.
Read the full story on PCMag.com: