IT outsourcing: Does it make sense for your schools?

One change to prepare for is that some degree of control will be lost. “Will you get the same response—in terms of both speed and flexibility—from a service provider that you can provide yourself?” he asked. Another change is that institutional knowledge might be lost.

Outsourcers might offer broader expertise, but in-house personnel often have a better feel for the institution itself, Tritsch said—which can be invaluable.

Key questions to consider

Here’s a list of questions to ask as you consider whether to outsource your IT systems, Tritsch said:

• What problem are you trying to solve? Why?

• What does an outsourcer bring to the table that you don’t already have in-house?

• Does outsourcing make sense in terms of stability, size, and culture?

• Can the outsourcing company provide equal or better flexibility?

• Which services make the most sense to consider for outsourcing?

• What would be the impact on staffing levels?

• Is space an issue in your organization? Would it be a factor in this decision?

• If the service provider is off-site, how far away is it located? (Close means it’s more accessible, but far away could be better for disaster contingency.)

• How much control would you lose (or perhaps gain) by outsourcing?

• Is the outsourcer stable? Likely to merge?

• What has been the experience of other organizations that have chosen the same provider? (Be sure to check references.)

Dennis Pierce

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