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What to Outsource and What to Keep In-House

In today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations are constantly seeking ways to optimize their operations, reduce costs, and stay competitive.

One critical decision is determining which parts of the IT infrastructure should be outsourced and which should be kept in-house. This decision has far-reaching consequences, impacting the organization’s efficiency, security, and bottom line. In this post, we’ll explore key factors to consider when making these crucial decisions.

Outsourcing versus In-House

Understanding the Outsourcing Landscape

Before diving into the decision-making process, it’s essential to understand the outsourcing landscape. Outsourcing typically falls into three categories:

1. Infrastructure Outsourcing: This involves contracting with a third-party provider to manage physical infrastructure, such as data centers, servers, and networks.

2. Application Outsourcing: Organizations can outsource the development, maintenance, and support of specific software applications or platforms.

3. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO): BPO entails delegating non-core business processes, like customer support, finance, or human resources, to external service providers.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to Outsource or Keep In-House

Core vs. Non-Core Functions: Core functions, those directly contributing to your organization’s unique value proposition, are usually best kept in-house. Non-core functions can often be outsourced to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Expertise and Skills: Evaluate your in-house IT team’s expertise. If a specialized skill set is lacking, outsourcing may be the solution to access a broader talent pool.

Cost Analysis: Calculate the total cost of ownership for IT functions. Sometimes outsourcing can be more cost-effective, considering factors like labor, infrastructure, and maintenance.

Scalability and Flexibility: Outsourcing can offer scalability options, allowing you to adapt to changing business needs without significant upfront investments.

Security and Compliance: Assess the sensitivity of your data and the regulatory requirements governing your industry. Some functions, like data security, may be safer when kept in-house.

Risk Management: Evaluate the risks associated with outsourcing, such as data breaches or service interruptions. Develop a risk mitigation strategy.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs): When outsourcing, establish clear SLAs to ensure your service provider meets your expectations in terms of performance, response times, and reliability.

Vendor Selection: Thoroughly vet potential outsourcing partners. Consider factors like reputation, experience, and client testimonials.

Hybrid Solutions: In some cases, a hybrid approach, where you combine in-house and outsourced IT services, may be the most advantageous solution.

Deciding what parts of your organization’s IT to outsource and what to keep in-house is a strategic decision that requires careful analysis.

By considering factors like core functions, expertise, cost, security, and scalability, you can make informed choices that align with your organizational goals. Remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and the right balance between outsourcing and in-house IT will vary from one organization to another. 

The key is to stay flexible, adapt to changing circumstances, and continually reassess your IT strategy to ensure it remains aligned with your business objectives.

These are the kind of strategy decisions that Blue Tree helps companies make. If you need help creating a holistic IT Strategy, please contact us today.

Rob Gibbs

PMP|ACP|Program Director. Rob is a PMP Certified Project Manager with a background in IT and IT Construction. He is an Air Force Academy Graduate and was trained in Transportation and Logisitics Management. He also teaches Project Management for the Project Management Institute.

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