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IT Outsourcing Recommendations?

Spencer Lloyd's Profile

 We are considering outsourcing our IT function--both infrastructure administration and customer support (internal and external).  Has anyone recently evaluated this option, and if so can you provide any suggestions (including possible service providers)?  We're a $50M business services provider.  Thanks in advance!

Answers

Steve Breitman
Title: President/CEO
Company: Mindful Business Solutions
(President/CEO, Mindful Business Solutions) |

I would suggest calling Illumen in Denver. (www.illumen.com) They are a client of mine so I know their offerings intimately. They are a proprietary system that makes it easy for them to remotely manage your network. They can also create a system for managing your on-site needs. Contact Mischa Danaceau at 303-743-8700

Vinod Keni
Title: Director/Partner
Company: Peachtree Management Advisors/Aquarian G..
(Director/Partner, Peachtree Management Advisors/Aquarian Group LLC) |

Spencer,
There are several vendors; what must be evaluated is the ability to service the needs of small and midsized companies like yours. The ones that support the SME segment sometimes may not have the expertise, experience and processes. I would suggest contacting FutureFocus Infotech. They are based in India, but have offices in Chicago & Atlanta. They are a portfolio company of ours, and I would be happy to make an introduction.

Thanks

Dan Dorsey
Title: controller
Company: in-between
(controller, in-between) |

Spencer, you may also try contacting The Falkor Group in Chicago. Ben Wilson is the owner. phone is 312-602-6550. Good Luck.

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

Keep in mind, one of the biggest reasons to outsource IT is not financial. It's service level, i.e., a well run provider of managed-services will have solid process/procedures and a large stable of techs with broad and deep qualifications. So even if cost is the same, you are getting a lot better service than you can create on your own (certainly for a small co., anyway).

Topic Expert
Mark Von Der Linn
Title: Principal
Company: www.VDLconsulting.com
(Principal, www.VDLconsulting.com) |

In theory, bigger companies can DIY IT for lower cost than outsourcing (I'm not sure it makes sense generally, but that's another discussion). If you are considering keeping it in-house, check out consulting-portal.com. They have a system that makes it easy to implement ITIL compliant IT processes - so you don't have to reinvent the wheel. I haven't worked with them, but the pitch I heard was impressive.

Stephen Helfrich
Title: CFO/Consultant
Company: In Transition/Consulting/Interim CFO
(CFO/Consultant, In Transition/Consulting/Interim CFO) |

Spencer:
I served as the CFO for a 200 employee systems integrator and software sales and support company that outsourced most of its IT function. We kept one individual on staff to be an ERP application support specialist, service support for laptop and desktop issues, and to work on the development of a Sharepoint system. We outsourced network and infrastructure administration, strategic planning, security and back-up service support. We were satisfied with the outcome, costs were decreased, urgent support issues could be immediately dealt with by someone on-site and familiar to the users, and senior-level issues could be addressed by someone with the appropriate amount of experience and knowledge.

As Mark stated above, your decision should focus on what type of service level you want, meaning what in your and your employees opinions needs to be handled immediately, what can wait, what type of expertise do you want to add, etc.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Not only do you have to find a company that will provide the service, you need to interview many (not a few) of the service techs (those who will be assigned to your company or those who answer the phones) to see if

a) they are knowledgeable
b) personable
c) patient
d) regional (do they understand your local idioms)

It's great to have an outsourced help desk, but if they can't understand you and your business, think out of the box, and communicate so you understand them; they are worthless.

Topic Expert
Linda Wright
Title: Consultant
Company: Wright Consulting
(Consultant, Wright Consulting) |

Having headed procurement among other duties at a relatively larger company ($4 Billion top line), I have a lot of experience with outsourcing of It application, development and maintenance. Each has its own rules and requirements. The effort is relatively large and requires careful negotiation of T's & C's and clear manuscripting of the master service agreement, the service level agreements with clear Key Performance Indicators and escalators if services are not to your satisfaction. Companies that do this work with which I have dealt include CGI, IBM (both probably too big for your co size), TCI and HCL. Good luck. If properly structured, these deals can work. I would recommend an RFP approach.

Topic Expert
Mark Sphar
Title: Chief Accounting Officer
Company: Veracity Payment Solutions
(Chief Accounting Officer, Veracity Payment Solutions) |

We are a $30M service provider. We have multiple locations and needed a provider that could get outside of the box and learn our business. The company we chose has not been able to do this over the 6 months they have been working with us. We were forced to move quickly and we are paying the price for it. I won't mention their name on this post as I want to give them a few more months to redeem themselves. Having a local presence is a must have for us. If anyone has tried the hybrid approach of one internal source and outsourced for other competencies, I would like to hear from you.

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