Avoid a major pitfall of outsourcing your IT services

by | Feb/18/2009

Most organizations outsource IT at least some of the time, and some outsource 100% of their work.

When your organization outsources the IT support, without the appropriate checks and balances, the tactic of “put out the IT fires but don’t prevent the fires” can get out of control.  Look at the vicious cycle below:

  1. You experience a problem with IT in your company and you contact your outside support company to come put out the fire by fixing the visible problem
  2. They respond and solve the problem you called about
  3. You pay the bill – be it hourly or part of a service agreement
  4. Since the root cause was never addressed, the then the fire ignites again later
  5. Return to step 1 above and repeat forever

Many companies really appreciate their IT vendor for being so responsive and fixing all the problems and are oblivious to the problems.  Some outsourced companies are oblivious to them too – they feel their mission in life is to put out fires.

When I ask some outsourced firms why they did not fix the underlying problems early on, they report that your company did not want to spend the money to set the network up properly. This is ridiculous since most of the time; the initial investment is very inexpensive.  Certainly, over a period of months, avoiding the fires is well worth the investment.

Putting out fires instead of addressing the root problems is especially expensive when you take into account the loss of user productivity, the damage to your brand, and other intangible costs related to the frustrations with malfunctioning technology.