Outsourcing vs In-House DB Management

Many companies were quick to adopt the database outsource management model in recent years as its popularity climbed alongside an increasingly volatile market. Some have benefitted from this enormously, but others have had a less than satisfactory experience, finding frustrations around every corner and inciting them to repatriate services. As such, the ‘outsource versus in-house’ debate has been reignited.

There are three main drivers for businesses to outsource:

  • Cost containment
  • A shortage of skills
  • To focus on the organisation’s core business

Outsourcing saves organisations money as it means they don’t need to take on permanent employees – who bring with them a myriad of HR and training costs. Additionally, these resources, which are typically expensive, are better experienced when they have worked in the outsourcing context; and can offer your organisation an objective and highly specialised view.


The outsourcing environment facilitates a high degree of cross-pollination in terms of ideas, challenges and solutions, and perhaps one of most compelling factors for database outsourcing is that it allows companies to completely refocus on what they do best – their core businesses.


How SMEs market can benefit from the Software as a Service (SaaS) model

Outsourcing is becoming increasingly attractive to SMEs, who now face the same challenges as their corporate counterparts in many regards yet don’t have the budget to employ full time specialist resources.

Due to their nature, SMEs require greater flexibility than larger companies, which is one of the key benefits of outsourcing. They can outsource on a ‘pay as you go’ basis – cutting back on services when need be (which is far easier than ‘cutting back’ on staff).

The Software as a Service (SaaS) model is particularly appealing to this market, which allows technology to effectively be ‘shared’ by several companies, meaning that the customer does not need to worry about upgrades or employing a Database Administrator (DBA) to maintain their database.

Your Service Level Agreement is the problem

While the benefits of the outsourcing model are clear, many organisations have been left disillusioned. One of the most common causes of the failure of the model is bad Service Level Agreements (SLAs).  And when it comes to poorly constructed SLAs, the fault can lie with either – and often both – the service provider and the client.

Often the client does not disclose enough information to the service provider – making their job difficult and causing confusion down the line. Or, the service provider short sells the client by for example, providing a junior resource that is not experienced enough to handle the scope of the project. One way to prevent this situation is to devote considerable time and focus to the drawing up of the SLA, to conduct the necessary analysis, establish volumes of transactions and take all critical functions into consideration.

Open communication, right from the beginning, is key – the service provider should ask the right questions and the client should be forthcoming with the necessary information.

Database outsourcing is not a sure-fire solution – whether the model fails or succeeds in any organisation depends on the approach, and often, on how well the database administration service provider and the client communicate from the outset.

Contact RDB Consulting for database consulting and maintenance services – Jennifer Mbesa jennifer@rdbconsulting.com or +27 (0)11 807 7663

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