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Have you ever known the outsourcing of IT Support/Services work?

Discussion in 'Servers and Enterprise Solutions' started by steinooo, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. steinooo


    Joined: Dec 31, 2003

    Posts: 4,446

    this example is what i've seen and just can't make sense of it. The customer ends up basically doing the work anyway but is being billed for it -

    • there's no motivation from the customer to mould the outsourcers' processes as he knows he can just do it easily himself
    • There's no motivation from the outsourcer to update their processes as they've signed the contract and are being paid

    The crux of it is as mentioned in the contract phase, but in a complex job like IT not every eventuality and task can be costed and detailed in a contract so it's a loss for the customer and a win for the outsourcer.

    I've seen arrogant customers outsource with such vague terms like "you just deal with everything infrastructure related" and no further terms. So when a new technology comes along which does things twice as quick and for half the price, the outsourcer doesn't have the motivation to implement such technology as they're being paid anyway.
  2. Caged


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 23,239

    I guess there are different levels of outsourcing - you could argue that moving to Office 365 is outsourcing your email, but I'd struggle to make the case for why it's a bad idea. Similarly I can see how it makes sense to have your first line support team handled by an external company - not with a view to saving money, but because it makes things like providing round the clock cover (the "help my phone got lost and I need to set email up on my new one before my flight" calls that might come in at a weekend) easier. Also in a lot of organisations it could be the department with the highest turnover and HR might not want to have to deal with it. But it can only work if you integrate ticketing systems between the two companies so that second line can get accurate reporting, any remote access software is managed in-house and all sessions are recorded, people in-house review tickets/remote support/phone calls to ensure the quality of the service being offered is good, and you remove the ability for people to just bypass the first line team. All of that is a lot of effort compared to just handing over the domain admin credentials and letting someone who's worked for an MSP for three days have TeamViewer access onto a domain controller.
  3. Glanza


    Joined: Mar 13, 2007

    Posts: 9,863

    Location: South Yorkshire

    We are the outsourced IT for all of our customers, we don't go chasing huge 1000+ companies to support and keep to smaller clients, we get more calls from our customers regarding Sage etc that we don't support as they know we'll answer the phone within 3 rings usually compared to sitting on hold with Sage.

    It gets tricky occasionally when we aren't involved in IT decisions and find out on the day, i.e someone new starts high up and decides they can get cheaper internet elsewhere to start penny pinching and moves it without telling anyone until they start ringing us as they have no internet the day of the switch.
  4. TechMinerUK

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 29, 2014

    Posts: 2,119

    Location: The "North"

    I work for a medium MSP (Similar to Glanza by the sounds of it) and overall I would say most of our customers are fairly happy.

    We have quite a mix of customers from large businesses with their own internal IT, to businesses with a couple of users and one server.

    Generally we get good feedback from most of our customers but like Glanza we have issues when customers attempt to source their own kit as this often results in "home grade" kit being purchased and all the fun that comes with that :D
  5. Conanius


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 12,223

    I've worked at a few different companies over the years. Places with near 100% in house IT, ones that tried outsourcing when I was there and then decided to insource as it wasn't working out.... and then also worked at a few MSPs - one was an absolutely huge household name and the other a niche provider with under 100 staff.

    Ultimately, as many others have said, you can have incredibly successful outsourcing setups - on both sides - as long as there is total clarity what is being outsourced and what service provision it is going to get.
  6. Etheco


    Joined: Jun 22, 2012

    Posts: 916

    I work at a small company (15 people-ish) my main role is developer but do some IT, we out source to a company so if anything takes me to much time I pass it on so I can get on with my normal job.

    Seems to be working well for us to have someone on call
  7. Sean Poole


    Joined: Oct 17, 2019

    Posts: 1

    I once tried hiring this managed IT company to help me with my business. At first, I was sceptical to work with them since I’m not a fan of partnering with third parties. After much discussion with my team, we eventually decided to hire them, and it wasn’t that bad in the long run to be honest.
  8. pepp77


    Joined: Oct 13, 2008

    Posts: 3,559

    Location: SE London Born and Bred

    Coming from a company that sells IT support to other companies it can work if done correctly, but is not for all companies. We mostly target the smaller companies where it is cheaper for them to pay £500 a month for remote support and 1 visit a month, than to pay £30k for someone to be full time.
  9. Liquidfox


    Joined: Sep 26, 2007

    Posts: 3,967

    Location: Newcastle

    I work for an MSP with good customer retention so it clearly works for some. There are some absolute horrendous companies out there, we often take customers from them as they simply can't provide what they promise to customers and often leave them hanging/broken/angry for days/weeks/months.

    Unless you work for a huge company I don't see how they can be saving money by employing you directly? That's the whole point of an MSP, they provide multiple members of staff for less than what one in-house IT bod would cost. We provide 1st-3rd line for smaller companies who can't afford their own staff, and 3rd line for large companies who can, but we're a backup to their often inadequate in-house teams who can't deal with high-level issues.
  10. RandomMonkeH


    Joined: Oct 18, 2019

    Posts: 46

    Location: U.K.

    Sounds good, Doesn't work. *

    MSP are inevitably going to be higher cost per hour than in-house, unless your in-house team are massively under utilised, or utterly useless.
    Most of the time, even if contractors are good, they still require assistance from in-house staff because they lack the insight into the nuances of the systems or business. So the customer ends up paying twice anyway.
    Often the quality is subpar - literally minimum effort required to close the ticket. Zero F given. Not always the case, but sadly too often.
    Seldom the same person conducting the work so you end up with no historical knowledge and waste a lot of time going over the same ground.

    There are areas where it can work - for example I use MSP for print - tie the contract down to a low cost per copy and ditch the headache of maintenance, supplies and repairs. Is it more cost effective? Depends, but I honestly don't care - it is way less hassle! Sometimes it is worth having a contract just for peace of mind or to gain access to vendor support you would otherwise not be able to get.

    Unfortunately there is a tendency for businesses to feel comfortable investing more money in outsourced resources rather than recruitment and training of in-house staff, so most do not benefit from the quality of support they could otherwise have - it is much easier to manage op-ex than staffing costs.

    In my experience, most businesses that have fully outsourced have eventually brought at least part of their IT back in-house. Most of these things are cyclical.
    I know guys that made a killing on cloud migrations and now specialise in moving customers back to on-prem. Or the irony of stripping out mainframes only to put in VDI decades later. BYOD? Round we go again.

    There is never a silver bullet, it is about looking at the business at a whole and being sensible about choosing the solution that is the best fit.
    But that doesn't sound cool and sexy or get you a promotion. Outsource or[and] die.

    No offence to anybody working in MSP, there are good ones out there and it works for some customers - I've just been doing this too long not to be jaded:D.

    * with caveats
  11. GSXRMovistar


    Joined: Nov 6, 2002

    Posts: 9,267

    Location: London UK

    I've been involved in one of the largest IT outsourcing deals in recent years (multi billion over a number of years), from being involved in the actual transition and now part of a team that provides a level of governance over the outsource vendor I would agree with the others in this thread that at certain large scales it just doesn't work. Too complex, too many failings in the contracts due to scale and as often found the client not fully understanding what outsourcing is with a reluctance to let go any not try and micro manage how the supplier delivers the service.
  12. Quartz


    Joined: Apr 1, 2014

    Posts: 8,446

    Location: Aberdeen

    I've worked on both sides. It can work really well for SMEs. You get someone in 1-2 days a week to do on-site stuff and much can be done remotely. The site has access to considerable expertise without the cost of hiring directly. Once you progress up the food chain IT can become a 'black box'. It's a cost that needs to be managed and the easiest way of managing it is to get someone else to do it. Internal IT departments are notoriously lax about recording work. "While you're here..." was a common refrain, and while users may promise to log the ticket, they seldom did, and when the poor IT tech gets back to her desk and the phone rings or there's a critical problem the recording of the extra work gets lost. But we're all in it together so it doesn't matter. That stops with outsourcing. Everything must be accounted and it takes careful customer care skills to prevent an 'us vs them' attitude developing.

    The big problem for me is that with outsourcing you are handing access to all your data to people you don't know. Foreign and corporate espionage are real things and real dangers.

    It's worse if you cloudify: what happens when there's a problem with billing? What happens when a digger cuts the cable? The cloud is great for flexibility and temporary systems, but once you've got a static load then you should pull it in. The cloud is great for backup systems. But if you have the cloud as your main thing then all your data is in hands that are not yours.