There’s a philosophical conundrum making the rounds of chat rooms and forums about whether it’s possible for a new business to outsource every single one of its functions, leaving only a figure-head manager who oversees all the pieces, pays people who do the work and collects the profit. It’s more of a business-school riddle than a practical exercise, but the idea does bring up a valid question: Where do business owners draw the line when it comes to outsourcing? The two most common tasks that end up outside company walls are janitorial services and accounting. Those unrelated pieces of the business puzzle have long been accepted as the most logical chores to give to outside specialists, and for good reason.
But what about other key jobs like tech-related projects, human resource management and long-range planning? One survey done by the University of Notre Dame’s MBA school noted that fewer than 3 percent of small companies outsource planning and human resource tasks. But when it comes to technical work, owners were about evenly split on the question of “should we or shouldn’t we” outsource. If your small company is struggling with the dilemma of whether to hire outside tech help or keep the entire function within company walls, consider the following points:
The Current Trend:
The trend for small businesses formed in the last 15 years is to outsource most technical jobs, at least until company revenues grow large enough to afford an in-house operation. Most managerial types who open new micro-companies are not versed in the finer points of cyber security. In order to better serve your customers, you will need to ensure optimal site efficiencies, uptime, and quick issue analysis and resolution. This involves collection, understanding, and curating your datalogs in an optimal fashion. Plan for outsourcing companies that understand Java log analysis, and other common log analysis tools. It will keep you one step ahead of the competition, and it’s these types of intricate technical needs that a less than savvy founder won’t even know they require until it’s too late.
Offers Better Security:
Most entrepreneurs are wary of having strangers handle their tech function and worry whether intellectual property and confidential client data will be put at risk if they outsource. Actually, research has shown that tech firms who do outsourcing for small businesses have better security procedures in place than most in-house tech departments. That’s because stand-alone technical firms specialize in a vast array of security functions that are part and parcel of the tech job description.
Cyber security and data integrity are just two of dozens of things that tech firms can handle without missing a beat. Your in-house tech team might not have the array of skills or access to tools that a tech firm has. So, for startups that are still struggling to attend to accounting, human resources, tech and planning functions, it’s usually a smart move to outsource technology jobs for the first few years of your firm’s existence.
Costs are About Equal:
The outsource vs in-house question has been almost studied to death in the area of accounting and legal services, which small firms almost always outsource for obvious reasons. But the question of technical outsourcing is one of the newer dilemma’s managers face. Fortunately, expenses are about the same for outsourcing and in-house tech teams, so managers have plenty of wiggle room if cost is the only criterion.
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