Deciding What to Outsource

"There is no set trick to choosing functions for outsourcing. Every company that has signed an outsourcing deal has grappled with the question at some point. Denis Chamberland, a lawyer for ABTS Global, and Ajay Arora, senior director of product management and marketing for Centrata, offer some pointers to make sure your decision is a good one.

Get your priorities straight. First know what IT duties are critical to your core business offerings.

Hang on to strategic functions. If a function provides any kind of competitive advantage, keep control to ensure that actions are aligned with business strategy and the job gets done right.

Everything else is fair game. Look particularly at high volume and highly repetitive functions.

Perform TCO and ROI analysis. Just because you really don't want to do a function doesn't mean you should rush into an agreement.

Good Candidates For Outsourcing

Every company has a few functions that are just right for outsourcing, and in many cases they are different from firm to firm. However, there are a few "gimmes" out there. The following are some of the most commonly outsourced functions for small to medium-sized businesses.

Desktop Management

Dealing with desktops can be a real bear when you are managing a network. Many small businesses are giving the reins over to firms that work solely with desktops so that their IT staffers can concentrate on higher-priority projects. This practice is continuing to become more common as desktop management services become more commoditized.

Application Integration

When bringing in a vanilla application is not an option, some SMBs would rather pass off the work of integration to firms with more expertise in the field. This is especially true for internal applications that offer no critical competitive advantage to the business.

Data Center Management

Many smaller companies just don’t have the money or resources to run an effective data center that suits their needs. In these cases, businesses hire an outside company to run the center and sometimes even use these management firms’ equipment to house the data.

Hardware Repairs

More than likely, most of the data gurus out there have a pretty good working knowledge of the hardware they are working with. A craftsman needs to know his tools, after all. But companies are finding it more time- and cost-efficient to let outside experts put together, repair, and maintain their hardware."

From Processor.