Companies today are becoming more reliant on technology not only to sustain day-to-day operations but also to remain competitive in an increasingly digital market.
This has put an increased dependence on in-house IT departments, who are now spread thin between a growing variety of technologies to support.
Here at Ricoh, we’re seeing precisely the same problem in the commercial print industry, and our professional consultants are helping businesses tackle it with vendor agnostic, cloud-based solutions for print shops around the world.
What often comes up in our discussions with clients is how at a certain point, companies must start to weigh the option of outsourcing their IT services and considering the pros and cons of doing so versus finding an in-house solution.
Outsourcing Pros & Cons
The decision to outsource IT services is one of strategy and scale. While there are potential drawbacks, for many businesses facing challenges with their current IT operations, the advantages can significantly outweigh the cons.
Here's a balanced look at the pros and cons.
- Cost Savings: Operating an in-house IT team isn't just about the direct costs such as salaries. When you factor in equipment costs, continuous training, benefits, and overheads, the expenses stack up. Outsourcing provides a model where you pay specifically for services used, often leading to cost savings.
- Access to Specialized Expertise: With outsourcing, businesses can tap into a broad pool of experts with specialized skill sets as needed, without the commitment of full-time hires.
- Scalability: IT outsourcing empowers businesses to flexibly adjust services in response to demand fluctuations, sidestepping the complexities of hiring or reducing an internal team. This approach prevents falling behind competitors due to legacy systems or outdated hardware
- Risk Mitigation: Outsourcing divides operational risks between the business and the service provider, ensuring that challenges and solutions are a collaborative effort.
- Accessible Support: Many IT outsourcing firms offer 24/7 support, ensuring continuous monitoring and faster response times to issues.
- Loss of Control: Outsourcing can mean reduced direct control over every aspect of IT operations, requiring trust in the service provider's management.
- Integration Complexity: Merging external IT systems and services with in-house processes can be complex and may require additional resources to ensure seamless integration.
- Vendor Lock-in: Some outsourcing firms employ proprietary software or methodologies, making it difficult for businesses to change providers without incurring high switching costs.
- Management Overhead: While IT tasks are outsourced, managing the relationship, contracts, and performance metrics with the provider can introduce a new set of management challenges.
- Hidden Costs: Some outsourcing contracts may have additional costs not evident upfront.
Clearly, deciding whether to outsource your IT services isn’t a simple decision. But when your current situation seems to align with the advantages listed above, it can be a move worth considering.
At Ricoh, we specialize in providing expert assistance to print shops and large-scale printing enterprises as they navigate the complexities of managed IT services. Our focus is on demonstrating how strategically integrated software solutions can not only enhance the existing print workflows but also alleviate the strain on current IT resources.
When to Outsource IT services
IT outsourcing is a strategic decision, and recognizing the signs that it's time can make a significant difference in a company's operational efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and overall growth.
Below are scenarios or red flags that suggest a business should consider outsourcing their IT services.
Escalating IT Costs
If you're constantly watching IT expenses climb without seeing any extra bang for your buck, you might have a problem. Maintaining an in-house IT team, supporting aging hardware, and hiring specialized expertise are all expenses that can quickly get out of control.
With outsourcing, you can adopt to a model that is scalable and more predictable when it comes to controlling costs.
Inability to Keep Up with Technology Changes
The pace of technology shows no signs of slowing down. If your business consistently finds itself trailing, struggling to keep up with the latest in IT trends, it's a significant cause for concern
Managed IT service providers prioritize staying at the forefront of technological developments, ensuring clients benefit from up-to-date solutions.
Frequent System Downtime or Issues
Consistent system failures, outages, or technical issues can severely hamper business operations.
If the in-house team is struggling to maintain system uptime or address problems efficiently, seeking external expertise can bring stability and enhanced performance.
If you're nodding along to any of these signs, it might just be time to think about IT outsourcing.
Streamline Your Printing Workflows to Save on IT Investment
In the print industry, where margins can be tight and competition fierce, streamlining workflows and IT operations becomes even more crucial. One often overlooked area of potential savings is the cost associated with maintaining in-house IT systems specifically tailored for print workflow management.
Ricoh offers workflow management software explicitly designed for the print industry, translating to both direct savings and the indirect benefits of reduced downtimes and increased productivity.
Meet the Author
Jason Jones is a Senior Solutions Engineer with over 7 years of experience at Ricoh. In his current role, he is responsible for leading the Workflow Efficiency and Security team for Ricoh's commercial print production. This team focuses on developing and implementing solutions that optimize print production workflows while maintaining the highest levels of security. Jason's educational background includes a degree in Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance with a focus on Network Security, which has provided him with a deep understanding of the technology landscape and the skills necessary to develop effective solutions. He has used his expertise to help Ricoh clients identify potential security risks in their workflows and implement measures to mitigate those risks.
Join Ricoh experts online and discover new ways to create efficiencies, reduce costs and improve profitability through our software and solutions—visit our entire webinar series to help grow your business.