QimTech

IT Outsourcing for SMEs: How to Choose Your Solution?

Does your SME need IT outsourcing? Find our comprehensive guide to help you choose the most suitable solution for your business.

IT Outsourcing: Why and How to Outsource as an SME?

What Exactly Is IT Outsourcing?

Also known as “managed IT services,” IT outsourcing involves a company entrusting all or parts of its information system to a third-party provider. This is often a Digital Services Company (DSN) or IT services and consultancy (ITSC) specialising in administering and maintaining an information system. IT services and consultancy This arrangement allows a business, especially SMEs, to ensure the security and optimisation of its IT park, networks, and data while focusing on its core activities.

The IT outsourcing services are tailored primarily to the needs of the SME requesting them. IT outsourcing can be comprehensive, with complete subcontracting of the information system (management of infrastructures, networks, applications, maintenance, security, etc.), or it can be partial. In the latter case, for example, an SME might need an expert company solely for server management.

IT System and Network Outsourcing can also be divided by types of services: ⬇️

  • Application IT Outsourcing: Here, the DSN or ITSC is responsible for maintaining the software applications used by the commissioned SME. This includes maintenance, updates, and technical support.
  • Cloud IT Outsourcing: More and more companies are moving their IT resources to the cloud. In this setup, many cloud service providers offer IT outsourcing services to manage these resources.
  • Security IT Outsourcing: Nowadays, cybersecurity is at the heart of business concerns. Threat detection, surveillance services, incident resolution, data protection… SMEs delegate the security of their information systems to expert providers.

What Are the Benefits for SMEs?

Focus on Core Business

With often limited human and financial resources, SMEs dedicate their time and energy to their core business, sometimes neglecting IT tasks. Outsourcing IT management to experts allows SMEs to focus on their goals and develop their growth.

Expert Guidance

Not all SMEs can afford to recruit or train staff to oversee their IT infrastructure full-time. IT outsourcing is a complex subject with many technical facets. Choosing an ITSCXXX enables SMEs to delegate IT management to experts who focus solely on optimising their information systems according to predefined needs.

Flexibility

Does your SME require IT outsourcing services for a specific period? Does your internal IT team need support for a particular need, or do you want to implement new technology? Engaging an IT outsourcing service provider offers SMEs the freedom to benefit from expertise for a set time or specific issue. This solution inevitably leads to significant cost optimisation for SMEs.

Access to Latest Technologies

Specialists in their field, part of the IT outsourcing team’s job is to stay abreast of new technology, develop partnerships with IT solution providers to offer the best tools to their clients, and continuously train in IT outsourcing techniques, including certifications. This knowledge then benefits SMEs that engage these expert ITSCs.

Secure Your SME's Information System

A cyberattack can often lead to the bankruptcy of an SME or, at the least, the commitment of significant human and financial resources to resolve the incident. In preventing these attacks, IT outsourcing service providers can install robust protections to prevent data leaks or intrusions into the information system. These services enable all SMEs to achieve optimal protection at lower costs and, most importantly, peace of mind.

When Might an SME Need to Outsource Its IT Management?

Several scenarios can lead SMEs to engage IT outsourcing service providers. Among these reasons, we commonly find:

Lack of Internal Resources

It’s common for an SME not to have a sufficiently substantial internal IT department to oversee all its IT needs. Outsourcing IT allows SMEs to benefit from a broad range of expert teams, each specialised in specific technologies. Where hiring multiple specialists would be too expensive for an SME, a service provider offers this opportunity.

Cost Optimisation

Considering the various cost centres (salaries, training, social benefits, etc.), recruiting a dedicated team for IT management can be unprofitable for an SME. Using a service provider allows SMEs to optimise their budget by only paying for services that match their needs.

Risk Management

Beyond operational management of IT, service providers can include security audits and the implementation of protection systems to prevent cybersecurity risks.

What Are the Risks and Disadvantages?

External Dependence

By delegating your entire information system and IT park, your SME becomes dependent on an external provider. While it’s always possible to change providers or internalise resources, this can complicate matters. Designate an internal project manager to oversee collaboration with the ITSC, to avoid any disconnection with ongoing projects. Your information system is a key resource for your SME; give it due attention.

Wrong Provider Choice

Choosing the right ITSC to guide you in optimising your IT is crucial. Weigh the pros and cons before deciding. A poor choice of provider could lead to

  • quality issues, such as the provider being unable to deliver the service you need, impacting your IT infrastructure.
  • A lack of communication is another risk. Selecting your ITSC also means choosing a trustworthy partner with fluid and transparent communication. The relational aspect is significant in this collaboration and will avoid many misunderstandings, errors, or delays in your SME’s IT projects!

Transition Difficulties

Delegating the management of your IT infrastructure is a lengthy process. Your new contact will never know your SME as well as you do and doesn’t have the company’s history! Handing over to the experts delegated by the ITSC can be long and tedious. As mentioned above, good communication is necessary to avoid information loss and ensure a smooth transition.

What Does an IT Outsourcing Service for SMEs Include?

An IT outsourcing service for SMEs depends on the challenges your company faces and your specific needs to meet them. Most ITSCs work with many experts with diverse skills, covering every aspect of IT outsourcing.
You’re sure to find the right fit!
This includes:

  • Systems and Network Management: Optimising and securing networks to ensure good working conditions and prevent data loss or leaks, setting up backup methods and closely monitoring them to anticipate any problems, configuring security software, firewalls, antivirus to maintain maximum protection…
  • IT Support: Assisting users of your SME’s information system in resolving technical incidents and software issues…
  • Audit and Coaching: Assessing the information system to identify improvement areas and training internal staff on best practices…
  • Acquisition of Hardware and Management of Software Licences

How to Choose a Dedicated Provider for SMEs?

As an SME, it’s essential first to define your precise needs. Do you require IT outsourcing services for server management? IT maintenance? Data security?

Identifying these needs will help you find the ideal provider to work in collaboration and optimise your IT outsourcing.

Then begins the search for the ideal IT outsourcing service provider. Each ITSC has its specialities and more or less varied expertise. Making the right choice can seem complicated, which is why we share our advice in the articles “Ranking and List of the Best ITSCs in French-Speaking Switzerland” and “IT Consulting Firm: Definition and List of the Best ITSCs in Switzerland”.

Talk to selected providers to discuss their offerings, teams, and working methods to find the right fit. You can even ask for references from their current or former clients. Once you’ve chosen your provider and established your collaboration, maintain open and continuous communication to ensure the best management of your SME’s IT outsourcing.

How Much Does It Cost?

The rates offered by IT outsourcing service providers depend on the IT needs of your SME. It’s difficult to set a price range for these services: what is the nature of your need? How many experts need to work on your project? How long will they need to be mobilised?
Discuss all these questions with the project manager of the ITSC that caught your attention to develop an IT outsourcing contract that suits you.

Different formulas exist according to your expectations and the flexibility you seek. Some ITSCs offer monthly rates in the form of subscriptions, including a predefined number of interventions. Others prefer à la carte support with a package that includes a determined number of intervention days.

What We Offer at Qim info for Your SME's IT Outsourcing

Specialising in services for SMEs, Qim info’s IT Operations & Support Services department offers IT outsourcing for your IT park and IT infrastructure.

If you want to address issues more focused on infrastructure, your system administration, and network security to ensure reliability and data protection, our team can:

  • Implement cybersecurity strategies and backup tools
  • Deploy updates and patches
  • Optimise your network and servers
  • Advise on improving your infrastructure

Does your SME need user support and workstation management? Our experts ensure the efficiency and continuity of your IT park with services including a responsive and available N1/N2/N3 helpdesk, license management, hardware acquisition, and user support and coaching.

Conclusion

IT outsourcing is a service suited to SMEs wishing to focus on their core business while benefiting from an optimal, flexible solution tailored to their needs. Once you’ve established a relationship of trust with your new service provider, managing your IT park or securing your data will become much easier!

Benjamin Basset

Head of IT Operations & Support Services at Qim info

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