When To Outsource

Those of us who work in IT, within an IT firm or as freelancers, can identify with the following statement almost for sure: It’s hard to know when to admit you can’t do it on your own.

So many of us are used to wearing so many hats all the time, and often we are constantly switching them. It’s tiring but many times it’s a necessary part of making a living in the IT business. But one of the big negative aspects of being a jack of all trades is that we often wind up believing our own press and thinking we can handle absolutely any aspect of any task, no matter what.

It’s important sometimes to take a few steps back from a project we are involved in, and realize when and where it’s time to call in some outside help. Even the biggest IT firms with the most experience can have gaps in their aggregate skillsets and bases of knowledge. These gaps and bases are often easily and efficiently tackled by sub-contractors and it can be a big win/win for everybody concerned. This is because time is money, and when things get done (well) in a timely fashion, you have more free time to make more money, among so many other things!

Changing Trends Require Changing Skills

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The above statement is more than obvious. But many IT firms overlook some of the more subtle aspects of this.

The traditional method of dealing with change is to keep re-training employees and/or hire new ones. This isn’t as practical as it used to be. Things are so fast paced these days, you could do nothing but keep re-training people and still fall off of the cutting edge.

A better strategy for the savvy IT firm is to decide on a few key areas on which to focus, and keep a core of professionals on hand full time to handle these areas. Other areas of expertise may be necessary at any particular moment, but not evergreen in nature. These are the areas where you would want to think about outsourcing.

Making The Call

There can be a lot of grey area here, naturally. However, the savvy IT firm puts a lot of initial thought into these types of strategies and that initial thought will pay off many times in the long run. Chance favors the prepared mind, it has been said.

This article is an excellent example of some general ideas regarding when it is time to call in the outsourcing cavalry.

It should also be kept in mind, however, that, as in all things, tactics always takes priority over strategy. That is to say, specific situations take precedence over general situations. It’s important to keep an open mind and be flexible. More to the point, sometimes you want to outsource when you normally wouldn’t, and vice versa.

If you keep this in mind, you will be able to bring your business to the next level with very little effort.

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