Small IT teams may consist of only one or two people who struggle to keep up. They field helpdesk calls, perform routine monitoring and maintenance of IT infrastructure, and resolve network issues. Oftentimes, routine IT takes up most of the day, leaving little or no time to work on projects critical for business growth. Important projects take too long to complete and a backlog of projects quickly grows. Your IT team works extra hours but still can't keep up. If you want to ease the burden on your IT team and boost their productivity, you may want to consider outsourcing non-critical IT functions.
What Is Outsourcing?
When you contract work or services to another business, you're outsourcing. Outsourcing frees up your IT team to focus on mission-critical work without trying to keep up with everything else, too. To consider the best outsourcing options available to you, it's important to understand some terms and what they mean. Outsourcing is divided into two major types: offshoring and nearshoring.
Outsourcing work to a company far away is called offshoring. An example of this would be a company that outsources its IT helpdesk support to a company in China. Generally speaking, work outsourced to a company in a region that doesn't share the same time zone is considered offshoring.
Offshoring IT functions has declined significantly as businesses learn that cheaper isn't always better, nor is it always cheaper. According to this IT Today article, some businesses found that they had realized nominal savings of less than 10% for offshore work. Furthermore, many businesses found that it was difficult to maintain control of projects when there was a time zone-induced lag time that made communication difficult. Add to that issues with offshore infrastructure quality, political instability in some regions, theft of intellectual property, and outright fraud, and offshoring loses its allure, but that's where nearshoring comes in.
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Outsourcing to a company that shares one or more time zones is called nearshoring. For example, if your business is based in the US, and you outsource to a company in South America, that's nearshoring. South America shares multiple time zones with the US, making it easy for companies located there to do business with US-based companies. To remove barriers to American business, some Latin American countries have signed free trade agreements with the US.
Five years ago, Colombia signed their free trade agreement with the United States. At their New York City event in May of this year, ProColombia's President Felipe Jaramillo said, "Colombia has an industry that offers added value in the complete chain from supplies to customer service. The main competitive factor is the flexible production, adjusting needs to customers' requirements." Last year, at the third annual Colombian IT Business Matchmaking Forum in Florida, Luis German Restrepo, Director for ProColombia Miami, said, "Colombia is the third largest provider of IT services in Latin America with more than 5,400 companies and record sales in 2015 close to $2.5 billion. The tech industry has established itself as an engine of economic development, with software and IT related services representing 1.19% of Colombia's GDP."
ProColombia is a Colombian government entity that promotes what Colombia has to offer to American businesses with offices and events located in the US.
Nearshoring offers some distinct advantages over offshoring. Similar time zones make it easy for frequent communication between a business and nearshore services. Travel between companies is also simplified, making it much easier to schedule and attend meetings in either location. Convenient communication and relatively easy travel make for a much higher quality business relationship between a business and its nearshore IT service provider.
When you outsource non-critical IT functions, you free up your IT team to focus on what's most important. You also have the benefit of tapping into a team of IT experts that really knows what it is doing. Commonly outsourced IT functions include:
IT Helpdesk Support
Helpdesk eats up a lot of the IT department's day as your staff fields calls from employees who are having some kind of technical difficulty. Outsourcing helpdesk support gives you access to helpdesk experts who can deliver the same quality support your IT team offers, maybe even better.
IT Infrastructure Management
Small IT departments may find it difficult to keep up with monitoring and managing IT infrastructure. Working long hours eventually leads to burnout, among other issues. With nearshoring, you can outsource your IT infrastructure management to a business and ease the heavy burden on your IT staff. They'll be relieved by the lightened workload and freed up to work on mission-critical functions and projects that can boost your business.
Software and Application Development
Software and application development has become much more complex. Increased device capabilities, new security issues, and the shift toward mobile-first development impact the ability of IT teams to produce secure, quality software products. Small IT development teams often need a minimum of two months to develop a single application and often spend six months or longer to complete a single project. Software outsourcing can deliver an immediate boost to IT productivity by removing the demands of software development from your IT team. Nearshore software development teams can provide fast turnaround time with high-quality software because that is all they do, unlike your IT staff that juggles multiple roles daily.
Cyber threats continue to evolve as hackers find new vulnerabilities to exploit. Small IT departments struggle to keep up with all the latest cyber threats and the changes they need to implement to protect their IT infrastructure. Businesses routinely outsource IT security to ensure that bonafide experts are keeping their IT infrastructure and digital assets safe.
Is outsourcing right for your business?
If your IT department is struggling to keep up with its workload, outsourcing can help. With outsourcing, you have access to teams of experts that specialize in each function you outsource. By outsourcing non-critical IT functions, you relieve the burden on your IT staff, freeing them up to focus on mission-critical projects. With a manageable workload, IT department productivity improves and so does their morale. Happy IT staff perform higher quality work and deliver better products.
Perficient Latin America specializes in solving complex software outsourcing challenges. Get in touch with our team today to learn more.