It’s an age old saying that if you want something done right you should hire an expert, whether you’re doing building work on your house, fixing a car or implementing an IT solution. The reality is that whilst you could invest internal resources to plan and implement a change, you’re almost certainly always going to be better to hire an expert who has been there, done that and got the T-shirt.
A typical in-house IT Manager or IT Engineer has to be a generalist, not a specialist. They may carry out one major email system migration every 3 or 5 years when the business makes a change. During this time, they will also be involved in a variety of different projects, ranging from desktop refreshes, phone system replacements, connectivity changes, firewall and network upgrades etc. It’s human nature that if you only do something infrequently you’re not going to be a specialist in it.
A specialist external IT support consultant will be carrying out multiple similar projects every few weeks or months. It’s conceivable that they could easily carry out 10-20 email migrations in a single year for different clients with different requirements. This frequency allows the consultant to become very adept in avoiding common mistakes and really know how to make the change smooth, seamless and trouble-free as possible so your business is as unaware as possible that an infrastructure change is even taking place.
Hiring an external IT support consultants also means that you have an additional resource available from a whole team of engineers with varying depths of experience across various technologies. This can be invaluable as in most IT infrastructure environments, technologies overlap so looking at one aspect in isolation is never a good plan.
This expert advice and experience doesn’t just make the delivery of the project run smoothly but it also helps you make the right choice when choosing an IT solution. Their experience in what’s worked for similar businesses in the past can provide a valuable steer the decision you’ll make.
Modern IT Managers are typically facilitators of IT and should work closely with the board to translate the strategy of the business into IT requirements, then carry out the necessary due diligence to appoint to the best supplier to deliver the project. The days of the IT Manager locking themselves away and being unapproachable are a distant memory. They’re now very much key players in making sure IT systems are aligned with the needs of the business.
Before we start any project we like to find out how much you and your staff want or need to be involved. Sometimes we’re asked to just make it happen and involve people at key stages only when we really need to. In other situations, we’re asked to work as closely with the IT staff and business as possible.
Whenever possible, we feel that it’s good to have your IT staff involved. After all, when we’ve completed the project, your staff will need to maintain and support the environment moving forwards, so it’s important that they understand how it all works. Many of our projects are carried out alongside our client’s IT staff, they will learn about the technology we’re implementing. They’ll get valuable insights into why particular decisions are being made and why things are being set up in a certain way. Having this personal interaction is far more valuable than your staff reading numerous and potentially conflicting internet guides on how to deploy a product. We often find that it also invigorates the internal IT Manager as they feel part of a team and enjoy learning about the new technologies.
Another advantage to our approach is that by involving your staff in the project, they may identify tasks which they can carry out. For example, on an email migration, there may be changes which need making on workstations, updates which need applying or software which needs installing. Your IT staff may well have the skills and time to do this themselves so we’re more than happy for them to do this and you can save some money - it means you’re only paying us to do tasks that you can’t do yourself by hiring an expert.
We’ve written a case study for a backup solution we delivered for a client where we worked very closely with the IT Staff. They benefitted hugely from this approach so much that they agreed to let us share it with you.