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.)