As a small business owner, you have to manage your cash-flow carefully. Taking on a full-time employee is not something that you should do lightly. Most business owners make their first new hires revenue generating employees rather than support workers, and this approach makes a lot of sense when margins are small and your cash flow is still unpredictable. You do still need to hire someone to give you an SQL server health check, or take care of the operation of your Oracle managed services, however. The question is not whether you can afford to hire that person, but whether you should make them a full time member of your team.
Why Hire an IT Support Worker
Hiring a full time IT support employee can benefit your company in several ways:
- Stability – they know your company, your needs, and the way you work.
- Availability – they’re always at the office, ready to respond.
- Flexibility – even if they’re primarily there to help with your Oracle managed services, you could add general/day to day support to the contract.
- Long term growth – you can train this employee in other technologies as your business evolves, and not have to worry about “bedding in” another employee.
- Let your people do their jobs – your accounts guy might “know a bit about computers” but supporting your IT services isn’t his job. Buy hiring a professional for IT support, you’re giving your other employees more time to do their jobs
Reasons to Outsource IT Support
However, there are downsides to hiring a full time IT support employee. Outsourcing can be a better decision for smaller companies because:
- Lower cost – if all you need is someone to run an SQL server health check periodically, why pay them a salary every single day?
- More options – if your company grows or your needs change, you can upgrade or downgrade your support package.
- Easier cash-flow management – instead of paying a salary every month, you pay a smaller fee, and pay for the support you need. If you fall on hard times and need to cancel the support contract, that should be easier than making an employee redundant.
The Cost of IT Failure
It doesn’t really matter whether you choose to have your IT support in-house, or via an outsourcing provider, the important thing is that you have access to good IT support. It can be tempting to try to save on the cost of support altogether – after all, you’ve paid a lot of money for that software, it should just work, right? You may get away with that for a while, but trying to go-it alone is a big risk.
What would you do if your customer database suddenly became inaccessible? Would you know how to recover it and prevent damage to the data? What about if your website got hacked? Would you be able to secure it, or take it offline and put up a holding page while you determined the extent of the damage? Having a professional just a phone-call away will make life a lot easier for you if something goes wrong.