Top Five Questions We’re Asked About IT Outsourcing: What Are the Risks?

By Susie Cummings| January 22, 2019

Welcome to part three of our five-part blog series where we discuss the most common questions business leaders ask us about IT outsourcing. So far we’ve talked about types of IT outsourcing and how your organization should prepare to outsource. In this blog, we’ll look at some of the concerns businesses have about partnering with a managed services provider (MSP).

Question #3 - What are the risks of outsourcing?

Change brings both opportunities and risks, and it’s important to assess both during the planning process. Here are some of the most common concerns when it comes to choosing an MSP.

1) Trust

Companies often have anxiety about partnering with managed services vendors - and rightfully so. How can the MSP do a better job than you can internally? How current are the MSP staff’s IT skills? Do they have expertise in cloud and security technologies? Does the MSP have a history of success with similar clients? These questions need to be answered to begin to build the foundation of trust.

Location is important as well. Are they local, national, or overseas? If overseas, can you assure that IT security and compliance will be the same as where you are located? How easy will it be to make onsite visits if needed? How will communication be handled?

Choosing the right MSP partner is crucial in minimizing this risk, so do your research. When interviewing MSPs, ask them to demonstrate their maturity in terms of process; ask for demonstrations of their ticketing; meet with the team who will support your relationship and speak to customer referrals.

2) Impact on Business Services

IT has more impact on business than ever before, and as a result, it has become imperative that MSPs have not only a strong IT skillset but a background in business as well. IT professionals who can speak the same language as the business are in a unique position to drive change across the entire organization.

Look for an MSP that has experience driving value beyond day-to-day IT support. They should partner with you to advise on how IT will affect your business’s bottom line and future growth, as well as roadmap how to get there.

3) Loss of Innovation

IT is at the center of business innovation, and organizations don’t want to lose their capacity to shape that process. Choose an MSP that has experience and the ability to guide organizations through the innovation process and align business goals with technology and create strategic plans to visualize the journey.

This process shouldn’t be completely offloaded to a third party; look for an MSP that can work in partnership with you to enable your company’s digital transformation.

4) Data Security and Compliance

IT security is at the top of every business owner’s list of priorities. Whether you’re outsourcing help desk or more advanced cloud or security work, it’s imperative that you understand the security practices and policies of an MSP before you partner with them. Is your data safe? If the MSP is offshore, do they understand US compliance regulations?

Look for an MSP who specializes in IT security and compliance and asks the right questions based on proven experience.

5) Uneasy Workforce

The term “outsourcing” can be perceived as a threat by your workforce – but not all MSPs displace workers. Deciding which outsourcing model will help you determine what role your current IT workforce will play in the partnership. By outsourcing level 1 needs, for example, your internal team may be freed up to focus on higher priority business-related projects.

Secondly, you should be sure that the MSP has a documented onboarding plan and experience in user enablement and adoption to ensure a smooth transition and clear delineation of roles and responsibilities.

6) Long-Term Contracts

As your business evolves, will your MSP evolve alongside it? If you’re not happy with the service your MSP is providing, will you be locked into a long-term contract? Feeling trapped is a common reason why companies are hesitant to outsource their IT. Look for an MSP that offers month-to-month contracts with guaranteed service-level agreements to ensure your expectations are met.

Today’s companies understand that the right outsourcing partnership can save money and enhance internal teams’ abilities and drive business value. But to get there, they need to do due diligence when choosing the best managed services provider to allay concerns and minimize risks.

In our next blog, we’ll discuss one of the most important questions we’re asked - How should I talk to my IT team about outsourcing?

Until then, learn more about BDO Digital's Managed Services outsourced Service Desk solutions.

The mid-market movement towards IT Outsourcing