Arcserve Managed Services Specialist Tony Parry takes a look at the past, present and future of outsourcing. Picking out a few favourite infographics along the way to illustrate the market forces and impetus behind this fast-moving game changer and how IT partners and end users around the world can get on board and benefit.

Outsourcing has been around a very long time, whilst it might appear revolutionary in the IT space, it’s actually just a common sense approach for end users to implement and partners to profit from.

If you needed your car fixed you’re most likely to go to a garage and pay them to do it. Why ? Because that’s what they are good at. This philosophy is where Peter Drucker (world-renown Management Consultant) was coming from when he suggested that companies should only be engaged in their “front-room” activities and any “back-room” activities should be passed over to other companies that specialize in that task. This in essence is “Outsourcing”.

Outsourcing is for Everyone
Outsourcing is nothing new and has become commonplace in almost every walk of life. Even so, it still came as a surprise to find out from this nice little infographic that even great (read control freak) companies like Apple, Dell & Nike (just) do it.

outsourcing-pros-cons

They design great products but certain elements of their business are always going to be passed over to 3rd parties. Because it frees them to focus on the aspects of their business that they’re good (even world-class) at and bring in outside expertise for everything else.

Make Everyone Happier
Transform put an interesting spin on Outsourcing, highlighting its use to alleviate workload, Their infographic identifies that a third of North American employees are overworked –  accounting for the highest level of behavioral costs and leaving them stressed because their work unduly interfered with their family life. “Overwork” is one of the biggest reasons for employees to leave their jobs – alongside similar culprits such as lower morale and turnover, increased errors and so on…

employee-overloaded

They cited outsourcing as the best route to alleviate the problems. It frees up resources, accelerates projects, improves business focus and eases (often frequent) company reorganizations.

So, this got me thinking about outsourcing and IT.

“Show Me the Money”
Very often, the cost of trying to keep up with IT complexity costs a business more than it is willing to pay……even though it may recognize that in the long term there are immense benefits.

Take for example, the cost of always having the latest technology, or the fun of trying to ensure that anyone responsible for IT within a company always knows and understands the current application software and the hardware it sits on.  According to Deloitte 53% of respondents to a recent survey are already outsourcing elements of the IT with a further 26% looking to (Deloitte’s 2014 Global Outsourcing and Insourcing Survey).

And even in 2012 there was an infographic on AllInfographics website by selleo stating that in 2013 the Software Outsourcing market would be worth $325 Billion……. this could wipe out a couple of credit card debts!

Based on all the information available, could everyone benefit from outsourcing their IT?

What’s the Story for Outsourcing & Data Protection?
Since the economic crisis’s that have ravaged the global economies small and medium sized companies have been looking for ways to gain an edge in their respective markets. IT has become a key factor to a company’s business both in the back office ( stock control, accounting, payroll etc…)but also taking a primary position in the front office process of selling via the web.

As a result IT has become a paramount for a business to get right – which is why more and more SME’s are turning to 3rd party expertise. From web design & maintenance, to managing hardware and keeping key applications running to managing important data & systems protection & availability – outsourcers are experts in their fields and in most cases provide more than peace of mind and operational reliability………. they actually save an SME money in comparison to them doing it themselves.

“I want to outsource! Do I go all in?”
There are pro’s & cons in moving to a fully outsourced model. However based on feedback from Arcserve partners and end users it would appear that there are benefits of using a mix of outsourcing and insourcing. For example, protecting servers and data is a major chore for any small or medium sized business. Best practice dictates that a copy of key systems data should be held off-site. This can be left up to an employee or not done at all – neither scenario is particularly good. There are companies that specialize in protecting key systems for SME’s and this could entail protecting the systems on-site and taking a portable media copy of the data to a second location.

Alternatively a faster growing trend is to work with a partner that will protect the data and systems onsite and use a WAN link to electronically send backed up data to a second location. WAN speeds are more than fast enough nowadays and getting faster whilst costs are ever decreasing. In fact, an infographic from Storage Tweaks suggests that 41.5% of SME’s use the cloud for backup services.

The Importance of Flexibility
Arcserve has a great pedigree in data & system protection and availability software solutions and the current portfolio allows outsourcers (MSP’s) to implement different levels of protection depending on the systems and the required SLA’s.

Coupled with this, Arcserve has a dedicated MSP Program that allows Service Providers to use any of the Arcserve technology as part of a service and pay for that usage in the following month, thus eliminating any risks associated with using the technology. For Service Providers that have agreed multi year agreements with their clients there is also a 1,2 and 3 year up-front subscription licensing model that enables a Service Provider to realize beneficial pricing based on advance payments.

For example ITPS offers a range of integrated data replication and backup solutions that pull data from multiple client sites and systems into a central datacenter. With 90 IT professionals and 400 small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) clients, the UK firm has been able to use Arcserve technology to solve its customers’ pain in a simple, affordable way.

The program is being used extensively around the world to provide both on-site data protection & availability services as well as a robust method for achieving off-site DR and BC services. Once data is in an off-site location a Service Provider can also use the Arcserve technology to implement long term retention and availability policies to facilitate corporate or legislative needs.

What About The Future? Give me a Prediction…
It’s a brave man who predicts the future – especially in IT. However, all the evidence suggests that widespread adoption of IT outsourcing is only just getting started and it won’t be long before every business globally has made a conscious outsourcing (or not) decision.

On which note, we can finish where we started with famed Management Consultant and father of outsourcing Peter Drucker steering us to take matters into our own hands.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”