In-House or Out-House?

Posted On August 01st, 2014 by admin

ACS Group and now our sister company SEO Panda has been in business a total of 20 years in the IT Industry providing custom software and web site solutions for a wide variety of buinesses and industries.  In that time, a question that many small and medium businesses struggle with is whether to use in-house or outside expertise to get their IT Project completed.

IT expertise is often a specialized skill that takes years of education and experience to acquire and maintain.  Using a generalist can waste both time and money while they are trying to learn what needs to be done without practical know-how experience.  A small business  is often run by the owner/founder who tries to be all things to all people. In many cases they or their family started the business and they have held a tight rein over its operation since day one.  Letting go of those reins can be fraught with fear and anxiety.  Consequently they are reluctant to bring in outsiders to help run their company.  Even big companies, such as Microsoft,  in their early days were proud and even boastful of their rapid growth without having to hire consultants.

When is it time to use an outside company for your IT or web project versus doing it in-house?    In a nutshell, the best use of in-house resources is to define and compile their needs, while the best use of an outside vendor's time is to design and develop a solution to meet those needs.   This is the harmonius union between the two houses.  The number  1 reason for many years running for IT Project failure is the inadequate or incorrect  assessment of need.   Consultants are either brought in too early and shielded from the truth because of internal politics, fear of exposing dirty laundry, or they are brought in too late after budgets have been spent and wasted on half-baked solutions that don't get off the ground.  Either way it is a set up for becoming another IT Project failure statistic which according to some studies can be as high as 70% of all projects that are either complete throw aways or significantly overbudget or behind schedule.

The best way to define your needs is to let your business and operational goals drive the process not the technology.  Time and time again we see companies start with what they think IT technology can do for them, whether it be web, database, mobile, or computer technology, as the driving force in their needs assessment.  They limit and shape their definitions by what they think the technology can or can't do.  When defining an information system, define what business process and problems you want to automate and why you need to automate them not the technology that should be used and how you are going to do it.  Even more so with web sites, now a days everyone is an expert on web sites because they use them all the time.  Consequently, they bring alot of preconceived notions, assumptions and biases to the table, instead of defining their needs, challenges and potential opportunities that they can realize by having a strategic web presence for their company.  Defining those needs accurately and completely is the best first step that any company or organization can take and best use of in-house resources.  Then take what you have put together whether its on a napkin or a 1000 page document to a professional IT company that works with companies like yours to get the best solution designed, developed, implemented and maintained.