IT outsourcing: Definition, areas and solutions
You feel overwhelmed by the management of your IT system? Outsourcing the management of a task to a service provider is a relevant solution to make your processes more profitable.
IT outsourcing meets this need in the IT field. However, to fully benefit from its advantages, it is important to understand what outsourcing is and to precisely define your needs. You will then be able to choose the most appropriate solution to meet your company's business needs.
Definition of IT outsourcing
IT outsourcing is an IT service provision. Within the framework of this intervention, a company chooses to outsource the management of the IS or its operation.
Of course, the scope of this service varies according to the needs. Thus, IT outsourcing for SMEs may differ from that of a large group. This distinction is due to the variety of services provided by the provider, but also to the elements of the IT system that are concerned by the outsourcing.
What are the different types of outsourcing?
First of all, outsourcing can be a global outsourcing or a partial outsourcing.
In the case of a partial service, the outsourcing can concern only a service or a part of the system data. On the contrary, in the framework of the global outsourcing, it is indeed the whole IT system which is entrusted to an external IT provider.
Moreover, the services can relate to various types of outsourcing. The type of services offered by the providers is varied, because the objective is to be able to answer the business problems of the concerned company as well as possible.
Infrastructure outsourcing or server outsourcing
This first type of outsourcing allows the company to delegate the maintenance in operational condition or MCO of the IS infrastructure. This management of the computer equipment can also concern the maintenance of the computer park, the management of the breakdowns and the optimization of the data storage.
Outsourcing of the operating system (OS)
It is also possible to call upon an IT outsourcing to maintain the systems for application needs. This service concerns the software part. The management of OS updates or the administration of databases can be included in this field.
Application management or TMA
Third-party application management or TAM concerns the operation of applications. These applications can be either remotely hosted or installed in advance in the contract with the service provider. This concerns business applications, ERP(Enterprise Resource Planning), CMS(Content Management System) or even EDM(Electronic Document Management).
User management or Help Desk
Finally, the Help Desk outsourcing aims to provide IT support to users. Thus, in case of problems on the operating systems or during computer bugs, the service provider can accompany the requests so that the users find a normal use of the system. The service can be carried out remotely or require an intervention on site.
What does a Managed Services contract include?
The outsourcing contract provides a framework for the management, operation, optimization and security of an information system by an external service provider. It is an essential element, because delegating the management of IS, an eminently strategic element of the company, must necessarily be done under the best conditions.
First of all, the limits of the service must be defined. The latter can be partial or global and be carried out remotely or via the organization of trips to the company's premises.
In addition, the outsourcing contract can integrate various services. Usually, they include the audit of the computer park, the management of the IS, the maintenance of the computer park, the management of the security and the optimization of the performances.
This contract must also mention certain essential elements such as:
- The scope of intervention: The materials, applications, users and sites concerned;
- The nature of the services : Remote or on site ;
- The modalities: The days and hours of intervention of the provider;
- Response times (SLA): This depends on the impact of the incident on the company's productivity;
- Pricing: Pricing with the potential to include a limited number of interventions;
- Confidentiality: A confidentiality clause is necessary to guarantee the respect of the company's data.
It is advisable to include specific deliverables in any outsourcing contract. We can notably mention intervention reports (with details of the incident, time and date of the request) and a mapping of your IT environment (network and server configuration, messaging, business applications, etc.).
Although most of the outsourcing services take place in good conditions and that the professionalism of the participants is not to be questioned, it is essential to frame the service well. Outsourcing a task concerning the IT solutions of your company is never a decision to be taken lightly.
The disadvantages of an IT outsourcing contract
Implementing an outsourcing solution for SMEs is relevant, because it meets a need for optimization and simplification of tasks and processes. Faced with an ever-increasing need for specialization of employees and rapid technological evolution, outsourcing the IS can be a solution. You can thus refocus the company's skills on your core business.
However, outsourcing also has its drawbacks. The first one is of course your dependence on a third party. By choosing to delegate the management of your network infrastructure or the management of any IT failure by external services, you risk losing internal skills.
In addition, if the service provider has been poorly chosen or does not meet expectations, you may observe delays in the handling of problems. In this case, access to certain computer tools may be impossible for a more or less long period.
Finally, a global outsourcing has a high cost. This can penalize the profitability of your company in the medium term. For this reason, it is very important to ask yourself if a cloud outsourcing contract would not be a better solution. If global outsourcing is very interesting to support strategic and complex issues, in most cases, the complete outsourcing of IT management is actually not necessary.
The Bravas platform, for example, allows you to manage and protect your IT assets yourself, even if you have no IT skills. You can then benefit from the efficiency of outsourcing while preserving your autonomy.