Wherever I have worked, the 'IT Department' is seemingly the department that receives so much hatred. If your computer stops working, blame IT. Network down, OH MY GAWD, IT! If the office access swipe card system fails, IT are blasted as being awful. There are so many moving parts in an organisation when it comes to computers, which means so much can, AND DEFINITELY WILL go wrong. In this respect, I really feel for the poor folks who find themselves in this important, yet seemingly unloved department. IT can be so frustrating, but having highly-skilled, helpful, amazing people available, providing an amazing service as well as consistently investing in your infrastructure to keep it up to date will go a long way to keeping the wheels turning 😁. I've worked whilst being supported by these departments, and the great staff always went the extra mile to provide the best service they possibly could.\n\nSpending on Something Good Costs Moolah\n\nHaving an excellent IT offering is as expensive as it sounds. Many organisations (for a multitude of reasons) are outsourcing their IT capabilities with the intention of reducing their central costs, whilst keeping (or even improving) the service offered across the patch. Maybe their market has experienced a downturn, or the company has grown too big with too many members of staff, or maybe management just want lower numbers. Despite the best of intentions, I have seen so many mishaps with with outsourcing, and I find it shocking that organisations don't seem to be learning from these mistakes. Whilst it is a noble gesture to try and improve IT cost-effectiveness, you could actually open up your organisation to a world of PAIN and SUFFERING if you don't fully consider your use cases prior to signing the dotted line of your agreed service contract. If you get it wrong, then you are effectively sentencing your company to many years of torment and SIGNIFICANTLY higher overall costs.\n\nI've not been involved in the contracting process, nor have I managed an IT service provider. Instead, I write this as an end-user who has experienced IT contracts that simply do not work to the point where I've simply given up. This is a means for me to document my experiences, and hopefully inform managers who are thinking of going this route of the perils that they should plan to avoid. It is also my way of helping to prevent more stress and anxiety foisted upon other employees who have no say otherwise. Buckle up!\n\nCommenting on a Popular COST Misconception\n\nI'm not sure where the idea of heavily outsourcing to significantly reduce costs whilst maintaining (or even increasing) quality services has come from, but I'd love to see the unicorn company that has done this successfully. Heck I'd love to work with the Oracles that actually made this happen and learn from their superhuman ways 😂! I've seen many IT outsourcing initiatives come from this angle, and I've seen IT services deteriorate rapidly, leading to annoyed managers, FRUSTRATED staff and awful IT infrastructure that is complained about constantly.\n\nAccounting with coins and a calculator\n\nYes, the central cost of IT may seem to decrease as you will pay a lower yearly CENTRAL amount due to the 'economies of scale' that your service provider benefits from. However, if you're not careful, you'll find that this cost isn't removed from your business, rather it is shifted elsewhere that you NEED to measure. There will be hiccups, especially early on, and this could even persist throughout, so it is VITAL that you provide a central way of measuring staff time spent on IT. If they are dealing with your IT service more regularly, and spending longer to have their issues resolved, this is more time that they won't be working. Your money saved on central IT will be shifted to various departments, and not measuring this could lead to huge cost increases that are 'lost' across your business.\n\nRestrictions that Don't Serve Business Needs\n\nOver various stints, I've seen various outsourced IT Departments be seen as the department that says NO. This means that if you have a request that deviates slightly outside of the status-quo (like not Microsoft Office related etc), the response from IT is to make it next to IMPOSSIBLE to make this a reality. This will occur despite whatever case you make regarding how beneficial to the business the implementation will be. Instead, everything becomes LOCKED-DOWN centrally governed, thus preventing staff from benefiting from the latest and greatest technology as it becomes available. This absolutely kills innovation, and moving all software decisions to a select few in the company who are normally remote from the problems being solved and thus have ZERO VISIBILITY leads to questionable decisions being made.\n\nI understand the case for security, as allowing all users to install all kinds of software on company infrastructure would be a recipe for ABSOLUTE disaster. The malware and viruses alone would tank a organisation very quickly. Keeping track of software present within the company is also INTEGRAL as people will need to adminster and maintain it. These activities should definitely continue, as they are vital and understandably lead to certain restrictions. The idea is to create an ecosystem where staff work within these restrictions and are still able to innovate quickly and efficiently, rather than constantly being told "NO" and thus killing their creativity. The rules should be known, and a clear process in place that allows deviations to flourish if a strong business case is made.\n\nHowever, it isn't just staff that will be affected by restrictive IT. Many large, traditional companies are creating, orchestrating and executing large-scale Digital visions and transformations on top of their increased usage of the latest buzzwords. If your traditional IT department is driven by status-quo, then a MAJOR wrench will be flung into your Digital strategies as IT will not have the capabilities nor the mindset to assist this change in company direction. How can you execute on a large-scale company initiative, if your IT department happily lives up to its established reputation of saying no?!\n\nIncompetence and Bad Service\n\nThis one personally hits me in the face like a knockout punch from a prime Mike Tyson. I have had the ABSOLUTE pleasure of having to deal with MANY representatives from IT who clearly had no idea what they were doing with computers, and speaking with swathes of my peers, I am not alone in this. This includes the rapid closure of IT tickets even when the tasks raised haven't been completed, being unreachable with AWFUL telephone hold music, not actually being able to solve problems (with a push to close the ticket anyway), and not being able to correctly double-click an install file to install software to a machine (not an exaggeration). It has always been incredible to me that companies block capable (local) people from performing certain tasks on their machines, only to delegate these actions to people who don't know what they are doing.\n\nMan screaming on a really frustrating call with IT\n\nAmazingly, you only get to deal with the problem of incompetence when you get to speak to an actual representative 🤣! Rubbish service doesn't stop there! Try raising a ticket and waiting weeks/months for someone to finally approach you to actually fix it 🤔😱! If you are lucky, you may even get to play ticket ping-pong 🏓, where your ticket gets passed around to many representatives (none of which want to take responsibility), where you need to give the same lengthy explanation over and over again! One of my personal favourites is being contacted during an important meeting about your ticket, and because of your fear of your long-term ticket being dropped, you feel compelled to answer.\n\nAll of this time spent dealing with these "challenges" will all add to a company's overall costs. Remember, the longer staff have to deal with incompetent IT representatives, the longer they will not spend doing actual work. The longer staff have to wait to be contacted, the longer they will have to deal with issues that prevent them from working at full, out even partial capacity. You could easily find that all of your central cost savings are quickly eroded by higher costs spread out across the business, which clearly isn't what you intended when you embarked on outsourcing your IT department in the first place.\n\nStaff Frustration and Sunk Morale\n\nIt's not just a redistribution of IT costs that you may experience when outsourcing that you need to monitor. A bad campaign will absolutely TANK staff morale within your company, as end-users who have grown accustomed to a previous level of service can become absolutely livid when things go wrong. Who can blame them? Something that worked well before suffering a HUGE decrease in quality isn't what people expect, and remember, they just want their issues solved as quickly as possible so they can get on with their role they are paid to perform. If things get really bad, they will give up on the service all together, and that is NEVER a good thing. Also, the stress of having to deal with an ineffective service is not something that people want to deal with.\n\nEmployee sitting sadly at the window\n\nIt is important to consistently review how the service affects end-users to determine how well your outsourced IT is performing. Gain feedback via surveys, both in response to tickets, as well as qualitative and quantitative surveys sent out generally to all staff. If you have an internal communications board, set up an IT group and invite users to comment and share experiences. Engage with them, understand their issues and empathise with what they might be going through. Collate all responses, categorise all issues, generate a list of common complaints and ACTUALLY FIX THEM. Also, it is vital that you regularly communicate your actions back to staff so that they can see that they are being listened to.\n\nYou do NOT want your staff to give up on your IT department, because they will stop reporting issues and resort to their own measures of getting things done. I've seen it in action, where the most impressive work-around were parties building a network on top of the GUEST WiFi so they could bypass central IT governance and use Open-Source libraries and tools (strongly frowned upon in the acceptable use policy) to actually do paid work. They even had their own machines with non-standard operating systems to carry out their work! It was equal measure of shock and awe that they had pulled this off!!! Ultimately, any circumvention of central policy will just lead to more headaches later on for the IT department when all organisational infrastructure needs to be consolidated, so it is better that pain points are understood and effectively managed.\n\n An Inconvenient Truth\n\nLike it or lump it, IT is basically the life-blood of most organisations nowadays, and thus requires the heart and respect the it deserves. Outsourcing such an important function should NEVER be taken likely, and you must put in place an assortment of measures to prevent very serious issues from growing within an organisation, as well as continually and consistently monitor how the change affects both your company and the staff within. If done correctly, your cost efficiencies can be realised, whereas if implemented poorly, all hell can break loose. Take your time, and execute a sound, well-reasoned strategy to avoid opening the Pandora's Box of IT woes within your company.\n\nBest regards and take care, Si.