Avoid Pitfalls of Outsourcing IT

by | Mar/6/2008

Do you outsource IT? As I performed a recent IT Vital Systems Review at “Company A” – one of your peers – I was appalled.  The CEO and executives have relied for years on an outsourced firm that has offices nationwide. On the day of the review to the company, their representative showed up sloppily dressed and thirty minutes late. The anti-virus package reported 6 viruses and some patches were more than six years out of date.

The CEO was already disgusted with the outsource company never meeting time/budget estimates on any IT projects. In the past three weeks, I have seen four examples of what happens to companies who outsource their IT. “Company B” relied on a major company to keep their network free of viruses and provide outsourced backup. You guessed it – a virus got into their network and deleted many CAD files, and the outside consultant’s backup service failed to be able to restore any files. The CEO said he felt “cheated” after paying so much for the outside IT firm he paid to aid his internal IT professionals.  “Company C” had an outsourced consultant that stacked all the servers on filing cabinets in the middle of the office. The Ethernet cables were in a huge knotted ball in the floor. Their appliances where the kind you’d put in a home. How can companies who call themselves “IT professionals” be so bad?

“Company C” has switched to a new outsourced company that looks very promising. The outsourced IT company is very professional, makes reasonable estimates on time and money and keeps them, and even sends a survey after each help desk call so the end-users can rate their experience. The end users talk about their help desk experiences using words such as “Wonderful!” Why is this kind of outsourced company the exception rather than the rule?