Many companies find it easy to choose between keeping their IT support in-house or outsourcing to a third party IT Service Provider- picking one or the other means that the core values of the business, the chain of command, and the reporting structure are consistent and clear.
But for most businesses, this situation isn’t the case – in-house teams are more convenient but much more expensive, while an external team can provide a wide range of expertise for a more reasonable price, but this comes at the cost of the hands-on service you can only truly get from a team that is physically in your office or building.
Lots of companies are choosing to balance both of these options, assuming they’ll get the best of both worlds; unfortunately, it’s not always that straightforward. If you want your IT teams to have a mutually beneficial relationship that also has a positive impact on your company, you’ll need to consider a range of factors.
Two Teams With A Single Purpose
Your business will likely have a core set of ideas that unify your workers and dictate how you go about running your company on a day to day basis. Although this has the potential to encourage your workers under a common goal, you may feel that your two teams aren’t working towards the same thing – why is this the case?
It basically comes down to the role that they play within your business structure – while your sales, accounts, and marketing staff can’t do their important work if the IT systems aren’t running correctly, that doesn’t mean that the IT team feel a strong connection to them. This can even lead to IT teams feeling undervalued, as though they’re just servants for those doing the ‘real’ work.
This is why it’s important for everyone in your business to view your IT staff as a valuable part of the workforce – which means your external provider and their staff should be seen as valuable too. You may only interact with your IT teams when your systems aren’t working as they should be, but it’s still important to foster an environment where you all feel as though you’re working towards the same goal.
This might mean that you end up involving your provider in discussions that aren’t wholly relevant to them, but if this means that they’re being viewed by your other employees as an equally important part of the team and community, then you’re avoiding any future confusions or awkwardness about the priorities of your company.
Clarifying Your Reporting Structure
When you work with a third-party IT support team, you’ll want to make sure that they utilise a similar reporting structure to your in-house team. F1 IT Support Melbourne experts have advised that IT management definitely runs the most smoothly and efficiently when everybody moves together as one (you can even think of it as them operating as a single network instead of individual devices). If you want to unite your teams, make sure to create a reporting structure that both teams explicitly agree to follow; this will reduce the opportunity for issues to arise, and prevent missed opportunities.
Know Who’s Responsible For What
It’s simple to use cloud-based management tools to assign tasks to different users in your network, but if you’re working with an external team that aren’t within your management structure, you could see some issues with the practicality of everyone knowing who does what.
If you want to avoid this problem, you can make sure that all of the required tasks are assigned to your in-house and external teams in the same consistent way, even if the external team ends up being told twice. You’ll then be able to determine who’s in charge of what through a quick look at your plans, as well as whether it will be dealt with externally or in-house.
Determine Who’s Making The Decisions
It may be important to make sure that everyone feels like a part of your business’s community, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be governed by effective, clear leadership. If you’re introducing third parties into the mix, the lines of command can be blurred, so it’s good to clear up who’s in charge early on so that you don’t run into bigger confusions later down the line.
You need to make sure that your entire team is made aware of when an IT decision is being made – for instance, whether a project will be kept in-house or outsourced, in addition to the reason why it’s been made and the person who’ll be responsible for making this change. It’s great for your employees to take initiative to an extent, but not if they’re going to inadvertently disrupt the broader goals of your company.
Making Communication Clear
This can apply to any area of your business structure: communication is key, and you need to make sure that the communication between teams is clear, consistent, and positive. This might seem like an obvious piece of advice, but it can be easy to let good communication slip even with the best intentions, particularly during stressful periods for your staff.
When everyone is just working on their assigned tasks, communication might not seem like a priority, but you should always make sure that all of your team members know where they and everyone within their group stands. There are plenty of easy ways to improve communication – even just setting up Slack for employees to chat on can help enormously!
Mutual Understanding Between Teams
It’s easy to assume that you have a good understanding of what each individual in your team gets up to every day, but you might face some tension between the two ends of your IT support if you don’t stay up to date on their routines! It’s important to establish the responsibilities of each team early in the process of hiring IT staff so that everybody knows their own responsibilities, as well as the jobs of others. You can also achieve this between teams by having them shadow one another for a day, learning the ins and outs of their work and building working relationships in the process.
The IT systems of a business vary massively, and it’s good to clear up any confusion by making sure that your teams have a thorough understanding of one another. Although this won’t make your team members completely interchangeable, it will mean that they have reasonable expectations of one another and can find support in the right place if needed.