Outsourcing IT has become an important part of many corporate business models. Specialised technical IT skills are in high demand, but in short supply and it often happens that companies can’t afford to hire full time resources to administer each and every aspect of the IT environment. Besides the fact that these skills are expensive and hard to come by, the jobs that need to be performed are often not full time tasks to begin with.

As a result, companies turn to outsourced IT service providers, who have these skills on tap. However, when it comes to the outsourcing contract, the hours they are paying for are often erratic and the organisation either exceeds or doesn’t use all the hours supported on a monthly basis by the contract.

Your IT work load will depend on the project phase

In the real world, IT work load depends greatly upon the status of a particular project. During the implementation phases, more hours are often necessary to ensure that operations are up and running correctly. During later more mature phases of a project, however, the number of hours required drops dramatically, as the IT environment usually only requires routine maintenance and administration.

When an organisation looks to outsourced IT service providers and signs a contract stating that a certain number of hours will be required to begin with, they are often forced to pay for these hours on a monthly basis further down the line, even when these resources are no longer needed. In effect, they over pay for a service the company no longer requires on such a frequent basis.

IT providers need to be flexible

Organisations are often stuck in inflexible contracts, paying for resources they may not need, and the onus of fixing this scenario doesn’t lie with the client. Outsourcing providers should be flexible enough to offer IT services on tap, in other words, on demand according to agreed upon specifications.

Outsourcing need to be fine-tuned to meet more appropriate deliverables, because outsourcing providers can easily reallocate resources to another project if need be. They can also easily allocate extra resources to a project that requires more hours.

When it comes to outsourced IT contracts, hours should be carried over if they are not required in a specific month, for use at a later date when the client might need extra resources.

Finding the right outsourcing provider

When looking to partner with an outsourced IT service provider, you need to look for this type of flexibility in order to avoid being locked into a contract that doesn’t truly meet your needs. The outsource provider should also be involved from the planning stage to advise the client on how many hours will be needed for the duration of the project (including implementation and support) to ensure maximum use of billed hours and optimal performance of the IT implementation.

A ‘cast in stone’ contract can end up being a costly exercise for organisations, as enterprises need flexibility, particularly during times of economic uncertainty and tightening budgets. Partnering with a company that provides outsourced IT on tap will give you tangible benefits, including the ability to harness the skills and expertise of a specialist service provider and the opportunity for skills transfer between the outsourcer and employees at the company.

Contact RDB Consulting for outsourced IT solutions – Jennifer Mbesa @ jennifer@rdbconsulting.com or +27 11 807 7663

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