18 Sep What’s Unique About IT Outsourcing for Tech Companies and Startups?
We’ve had great working relationships with tech companies, and we’re often asked by prospective clients what’s unique about IT outsourcing for tech companies. Here are some of our thoughts on this:
High tech companies, especially fresh startups, have business models that must respond to rapid changes in user demand or venture capital funding. When this happens, HR and Operations can get incredibly busy expanding or downsizing the team, or even the office environment.
In such cases, working with an outside IT vendor can bring distinct advantages, both from a financial and an operational perspective.
IT for Fast Growth
As one example: a tech company will often grow rapidly following a round of venture capital funding. When this happens, the founding team can really be over-extended as they attempt to onboard a group of new hires. In this situation, it can be helpful to bring in a third-party IT team to set up workstations, configure the network, and provide access privileges. A responsive provider can then scale back appropriately to provide basic desktop support on a weekly or monthly basis.
Not all IT vendors can provide this kind of adaptability. Ideally, however, you’ll want to look for a company that’s experienced in all stages of the startup growth cycle, from launch, to expansion, maturity, and acquisition. That way, your vendor will know how to help you keep costs down and scale their services accordingly.
Budgeting and Planning
Working with a flexible, scalable IT outsourcing company can make for better budgeting. This kind of arrangement enables your company to set an IT budget around a per-project or part-time need, while benefiting from reliable service from a vendor who is familiar with your environment.
Your IT vendor should also offer scalable services such as cloud backup, cloud hosting, VoIP phone systems, so you can implement flexibility at all levels of your technology infrastructure (more on this below). This strategy can translate to significant savings on equipment and data storage costs in the long run.
Micro and Macro IT Services
Most early or mid-stage high tech companies don’t have enough IT tasks to keep a full-time staff member busy. At the same time, the issues they do have are a mix of basic desktop support (usually for the non-technical staff, such as HR or Marketing) or more complex technical work, such as IT infrastructure planning or server migrations.
When contracting with a third-party IT services provider, it is worthwhile to look for a team with a diversity of skills, so you can tap the talents of different experts. In this way, your vendor can serve a variety of specialized IT needs, including helpdesk administration, network administration, remote troubleshooting, strategic IT infrastructure planning, or system administration, depending on the month or the projects du jour.
Onsite vs. Remote vs. Hybrid Services
When comparing providers, consider whether they are offering onsite support, remote support, or a combination of the two.
Onsite IT Providers
Companies that focus on onsite services will typically provide support on a prescheduled weekly or monthly basis. In this scenario, the IT service provider folds into your company for a predetermined number of hours, addressing technical issues that are typically allotted or ticketed in advance.
Remote IT Providers
Remote support services can also operate this way: your IT service provider logs into your system at an agreed-upon time and using remote management technology, resolves your technical problems, or guides you through the process of resolving the issue(s) yourself.
The advantage of remote support services, however, is that your IT partner can also provide instant support for problems on an as-needed basis. This is a great alternative to waiting for your techie to fight traffic to get to your location when a sudden problem arises.
Hybrid Service IT Providers
IT companies that offer a combination of onsite and remote support can offer you the best of both worlds: onsite support for the crisis issues, and prescheduled onsite support service that addresses less urgent problems. Ultimately, this is the most flexible, adaptable solution, likely resulting in the most peace-of-mind for your team.
Tip: when interviewing a potential IT outsourcing vendor, ask about the terms of their Service Level Agreement (SLA), which should clearly designate response times for any urgent or unscheduled support needs. You should have a clear understanding of how long it will take for your provider to respond when you request urgent service. It goes without saying that you don’t want your employees to be forced to wait in limbo for your tech provider to respond.
Security for Tech
If you’ve read this far, you probably work in the tech industry, and you know just how seriously tech companies treat their security. Data is the heart of most businesses these days, but it is the heart and soul of every tech company. If you’re looking for an IT outsourcing partner, you’ll want to confirm whether they have good security protocols in place, both for the management of passwords and for the protection of client data. And, if you are concerned about the protection of trade secrets, you may want to have them sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Tech Company Culture
It’s a well-known fact that the culture of tech companies can be markedly different from your average office environment. Tech companies look for vendors who work comfortably alongside their team.
When hiring or outsourcing work to an outside IT vendor, you’ll be examining the prospect’s attitude, style, and communication skills. Techies in startup environments must think quickly on their feet, take criticism or instruction easily, and pivot quickly when change is required. A sense of humor and collaboration skills can be better than gold.
We work hard to keep all of these areas in mind when we place one of our team members in a high tech environment. There must be a good fit in order for us to prove our reliability and establish an enduring vendor-client relationship.
Plug-N-Play Cloud Solutions
Another question to ask your potential vendor is, “What kind of partnerships do they have?” 24Online partners with a number of vendors who enable us to provide cloud services to our clients. For entrepreneurs embarking on the launch of a high tech startup, there are advantages to considering an all-in-one cloud solution that includes cloud file sharing, cloud email (Exchange) and a cloud-based VOIP phone system.
This kind of solution can be rapidly deployed and enables easy collaboration from multiple locations. This can also be a great way to get your operations launched without facing the expense of server procurement and infrastructure maintenance.
Not all business environments are the same. Why would anyone hire an IT vendor that’s going to offer a cookie-cutter solution? Your options should match your unique technology environment, which might include a great cloud service, a hybrid solution, or a nuts-and-bolts infrastructure paired with plain vanilla support.
Finally, be wary of IT vendors who push solutions just for profit. Your vendor should take the long-term approach and only recommend what’s going to suit your unique business goals.
If you are looking for an IT outsourcing partner with expertise working with high tech companies, give us a call anytime. We’d love to help out.
24Online provides IT outsourcing services and cloud-based solutions for high-growth companies from our headquarters in Amman, Jordan. We provide technical support to companies throughout Amman, and IT consulting services and remote support plans for companies across the greater Middle East region and beyond.
Photo by hitesh choudhary