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Businesses already know the value of IT for saving time, automating certain tasks, and for simplifying communications. They are also aware that new technologies present opportunities to magnify these improvements. But there are two major problems.

First, new technologies tend to be quite expensive. Buying servers built around the newest processors are exponentially more costly than units that are a generation behind for instance. But where the systems deliver significant improvements, your CFO may authorise the purchase.

The second challenge is actually harder to address. Your IT team needs to upgrade their skills if they are to properly manage and maintain new applications or systems – which means a lag between deployment and full operational efficiency as they are trained.

Unfortunately, choosing to use cutting edge new technologies, means that there is a very limited pool of candidates from whom your company can recruit.

A skills shortage can derail your growth plans

Knowing that their skills are rare, these IT professionals can demand a premium salary. This further increases the baseline cost of your upgrade programme – potentially to the point where your CFO changes their mind, and the project is cancelled. According to the UK Federation of Small Businesses, SMEs in the tech sector have been forced to increase wages by 18.8% between 2016 and 2016 to attract talent – and those industries outside IT may have to pay even more to lure quality candidates.

For smaller companies, the combination of costs and scarcity rules them out of the running, leaving their larger, richer competitors to take advantage. Eventually the imbalance becomes too great, so that SMEs cannot compete meaningfully at all. Your growth could be severely limited too.

Outsourcing to the rescue

Once outsourcing provisions are set up correctly, there’s a good chance that your business doesn’t actually need a dedicated specialist for each new technology. There will be regular maintenance and tweaks required – but what will a dedicated technical employee do for the rest of the week?

In most cases outsourcing provides the balance you need. By partnering with an IT outsourcer, your business can tap into their pool of experts, from initial deployment, through to end user support and system maintenance. This team of specialists will apply their skills to your IT upgrade projects.

Using a third party allows you to avoid the costs associated with hiring a new member of staff; National Insurance contributions, recruitment agency fees, training, remuneration package and benefits. And the expense of under-utilised capacity also becomes the problem of the outsourcer.

You get to use fully-supported cutting edge technologies to drive your business forward, but without the usual staffing headaches that accompany these projects.

Taking outsourcing to the next level

Another way to combat the skills gap is to completely outsource your IT infrastructure. Instead of purchasing new systems and software for use in your office, you could choose a hosted equivalent running in the Cloud.

In this scenario, you get access to systems that are upgraded as new versions are released, ensuring you are always at the cutting edge. More compelling still is the realisation that upgrades are included as part of your subscription license – as is the team of experts required to keep the system running.

Under the Cloud computing model, your company never has to deal with the costs associated with running enterprise grade infrastructure – hardware purchases, software licensing, or the technical staff to keep the lights on. Best of all, your business will never be held back by a skills shortage again.

To learn more about outsourcing, Cloud IT and how they can be applied to your business goals, please get in touch