5 steps to kicking your IT outsourcing addiction

Increased flexibility, faster delivery, and -- yes -- reduced cost can be yours if you approach insourcing with these five tips in mind

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"It's really just a matter of quality. It will cost more to do it ourselves, but we aren't willing to sacrifice quality," says Dustin Hilgaertner, co-founder of the company. "We've also put a lot of effort into improving our own design skills and learning new technologies, so we can do the design and development ourselves."

The company had a few issues with outsourcing, Hilgaertner says, including the time it was taking to vet potential partners, inconsistent quality of service, and high turnover at the service providers once the contract was signed.

Kick the outsourcing habit tip No. 2: Cold turkey is not on the insourcing menu

When it comes to moving off outsourcing, you can't just quit. The transition toward internal IT should be gradual, and you need to build time and budget into the process, especially when the insourcing push affects multiple entities within the organization.

"Understand that by no means is this transition an overnight process," says Andrew Schrage, founder and co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, a provider of online educational services in areas such as credit and debt, investing, real estate, and insurance.

The company is in the process of bringing most of its outsourced technology projects back in-house because it feels much of the outsourced work has not been of high quality and has encountered numerous communication issues with its overseas provider.

"Our operation is small, and the transition is still taking us several months," Schrage says. "For larger organizations, the insourcing of previously outsourced IT can take as much as a year or even more to complete."

In many cases, the transition can be more expensive than the original move to outsourcing, Schrage adds. Cancellation fees, increased staffing costs, the expense of transferring software licenses -- it all adds up.

"Thoroughly investigate all expenses associated with a return to insourced IT before moving forward," Schrage advises. "Also, keep in mind that your soon-to-be former vendor is unlikely to provide much assistance in the transition. For this reason, be sure your organization is adequately staffed to handle the workload increase."

Kick the outsourcing habit tip No. 3: Invest in expertise

Insourcing success rests on personnel. And while kicking the outsourcing habit certainly spells a vote of confidence for current IT staff, you are likely going to need new blood to get it done.

Application development, help desk operations, network management -- any IT function brought in-house after relying on a service provider will require people prepared to support the same level of services. Ending an outsourcing relationship before having internal staff ready to take over invites disaster.

There are plenty of ways to find and attract qualified IT professionals who possess the skills you're looking for -- particularly via social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. How long it takes to fill job roles and how much it will cost should factor into your insourcing plans. Coupled with your staff's current skill sets and willingness to train, the makeup of IT candidates you budget to hire will have a significant impact on the types of IT projects that will prove easiest to insource.

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