Is your company looking for ways to cut costs in 2014? With increases in healthcare costs and decreases in budgets, many I.T. managers have been asked to reduce costs. The good news is that there are a few things that I.T. can outsource to save companies money and time, and probably end up looking like a hero in the process.

Read on for the Top 5 Things I.T. Should Outsource in 2014.

#1: Copier / Printer Outsourcing


“Copying and printing can cost up to 3% of a company’s revenue – equivalent to the average IT budget – so don’t overlook services that could help to reduce that outlay” – Julie Giera with Computer Weekly

Printers and copiers can be high maintenance, expensive, and very time consuming. In the past five years, many IT departments have shrunk; you may have fewer people on staff to manage your printers as they grow older and fall out of warranty. Maybe you have one person on your staff that is trained to work on printers and copiers, but what happens when that person is sick or leaves the company? By outsourcing copying and printing (often to the same company), you free up your staff to perform more important I.T. functions. Staff members no longer have to stay up-to-date to work on the latest copiers and printers. Common problems like recurring paper jams are handled by a professional technician. You no longer have to have one of your I.T. staff spend hours breaking down the machine to try and find the part that is causing the problem.

#2: Software Development


Few small to medium-sized businesses have the resources for software developers and quality control staff (aka software testers). Some companies make the mistake of hiring a lone developer to create software. This person will usually work on only one project at a time, which can delay development. Another problem comes when the person gets sick or decides to leave the company. Who is going to take their place, and is there proper documentation for what they created so another person can take over?

How do you know when you’ve found the right software development firm? Communication, skill, and price must combine for the right choice. The right software development firms will have flexible staffing numbers and the ability to get your product to market quicker and usually at lower cost.

It makes sense for most small to medium-sized businesses to outsource software development in 2014. It can be a major, time-consuming headache that is better handled by a company with development and quality control staff on-site.

#3: Disaster Recovery 


Have you spent much time thinking about what will happen when a disaster occurs? While some minor issues like power outages occur occasionally, a true disaster is something that must be properly planned for. This can be a very time-consuming process and it is better to work with a vendor who has experience in this area. Where will your team go when a disaster occurs?

After a disaster, employees still need to get paid. Vendors still need to receive checks to keep products flowing. There are many critical company processes that will need to function even after a disaster. This is why it is crucial to have a disaster recovery plan in place.

Once a disaster occurs, you can expect to spend long hours, possibly even days, working in a disaster recovery facility. It is important to pick a place that will allow your people to work in safety until the disaster is over. A disaster recovery service will have systems available when you need them and can scale to meet your needs as your company grows.

According to an IDC survey, in 2013 data center managers expect to allocate almost 50% of their budgets to the cloud. This number is predicted to grow in 2014.  As more companies move to the cloud, it makes sense to move disaster recovery there as well.

While some companies may consider doing disaster recovery internally, maintaining extra hardware and a place to keep it can be an expensive proposition. As the hardware ages, new equipment will have to be purchased. By outsourcing to a disaster recovery service, hardware and location becomes their responsibility to maintain.

#4: Email Archiving 


“Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) estimates that 70% of you haven’t deployed any form of e-mail archiving.” – Outsourcing Email Pros and Cons 

You don’t want to find out when it’s too late that you can’t restore an old email. Standard backups may suffice for short-term storage and are much more reliable than they used to be. However, if all you have is a standard backup, how are you going to handle it when HR comes to your door and needs an email from a year ago for a legal issue? (After the amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedures were passed in 2006, emails (and other forms of communication) may be requested for litigation and must be archived.)

You need to be proactive in how you handle email archiving. Having the right email archiving service provider can mitigate the risk that is a growing reality for many companies. By outsourcing email archiving, you can reduce the overall cost of storage and speed up email clients along the way.

Users can be trained so that when they need an email that was accidentally deleted three weeks ago, they can simply go to a search box and find the email themselves in the email archive. Since all of the emails are stored in the cloud, it reduces the cost of new hardware on-site.

#5: Telecom Management 


“[Telecom management] allowed us to do more value-added services versus managing boilerplate telecom functions,” says Joe Topinka, CIO and Vice President of Multichannel Commerce at Red Wing Shoe Company. “We’re able to do more project-based work now.  These strategic initiatives have to do with expanding market strategy. That’s a big deal for us,” he says.  “Telecom management is important – it’s the dial tone of the organization. But it’s not what differentiates us, so we looked for a partner.” 

Let’s face it, corporate telecommunications can be a mess: a tangle of providers, contracts and technologies that your I.T. staff would be better served not wasting its time on. Most companies rely on their I.T. departments to handle telecommunications because they aren’t aware of other options. But that’s not a good use of highly trained (and highly paid) I.T. employees who’ve spent years mastering computer science and systems development.  It takes time to become an expert at telecom management and for most I.T. staff, their time is better spent focusing on their core strengths. In addition, the world of telecom management is changing rapidly and growing even more complex, making it difficult for non-experts to keep pace – and when non-experts are managing telecom, cost savings are essentially left on the table.

Why Telecom Management Isn’t Worth I.T.’s Time

5 Things I.T. Should Outsource in 2014 – Conclusion

Outsourcing began to take off in the 1990s as companies began to shed functions they had to do that were not part of their core missions. Since then, outsourcing has grown substantially. According to a Deloitte study, 60 percent of respondents said that outsourcing was a “standard practice” at their companies.

In this article, we covered five things I.T. should outsource in 2014. With copier and printer outsourcing, you can keep your I.T. staff from being tied up with these machines. Software development can easily be outsourced so that they take care of the full development process. This leaves your staff to determine needs analysis and manage the project.

Disaster recovery will help you sleep every night knowing that you have a contract stating your service provider will be ready in case a disaster ever occurs. With email archiving, you never have to worry about employees accidentally losing emails again. With simple training, they can learn how to look up lost emails on their own.

Finally, outsourcing telecom management allows you to focus your I.T. department’s efforts on strategic initiatives, harness the value of telecom-specific expertise, and reduce your total cost of telecom.

As an IT leader, do you remember the first time you had that ‘aha’ moment when you realized that you can’t be all things to all stakeholders because of the pesky, immutable Economic Law of limited resources/unlimited opportunity? If you are like other IT leaders, that moment of enlightenment was probably both liberating and frustrating.  The former because it took the pressure off of trying to do too much with limited money, time and talent; the latter because you still knew there were many un-done or un-initiated projects or solutions that could drive your business forward by leveraging technology correctly.

Well the difference between great IT leaders and those locked into spending approximately two thirds of their budgets on operational needs vs. innovation, are those that do something about this Law of Economics vs. simply accepting it.

Another way to approach the challenge is to ask “What is NOT worth the limited resources you have (Time, Money, Talent), but you always assumed it had to be done by your department”?

Telecom.  Even the word implies out-dated and non-strategic, limited ROI, and frustrating. Important, yes. Strategic, no. A wise use of your time, people, and money to manage wireline and mobility? No.

Here are three key reasons Telecom Management should not compete for your valuable time, people, and resources.

Reason #1 Telecom Management is Not Worth Your IT Time: IT is Strategic. Telecom is Tactical

What would you rather have your star IT talent focus on 1) Transformative IT Technology that will grow your business and keep you at the CEO planning table OR 2) Answer help desk calls on why someone’s mobile phone is not pulling email.

Sound familiar? How about this long list of tactical, talent-wasting activities that have a huge opportunity cost for your IT achievements:

  • Meeting with numerous Carriers that waste valuable time selling their brand of Kool Aid
  • Reviewing Wireline and Mobile Telecom bills and contracts
  • Evaluating Mobile Device Management  platforms and how to manage them
  • Staying current on the best DR strategies and solutions
  • Escalating trouble tickets with non-responsive Carriers

The list can go on and on….it’s all tactical Telecom Management, and it’s all preventing you from being efficient and innovative.

Reason #2 Telecom Management is Not Worth Your IT Time:  Expertise is Unlikely; Mediocrity is Best Case

It is no secret that Carriers have reduced investment in customer service to the Mid Market Enterprise.  This trend has required companies to either accept the frustration and inefficiency that it produces, or expect their IT staff to pick up the slack. Do you want your best IT talent (or any valuable FTE role) investing their training and educational time on learning the latest mobility rate plans, or how to mitigate risks in a SIP environment, or even what is the lowest cost/most reliable DR solution deployed by peers in your industry?

Will these tasks transform your business or create innovation relative to your competitors? Of course not. Your staff knows this as well, and that is precisely why they don’t gain this expertise; namely, there is not a strong ROI to them or you, hence Mid-market firms are destined to experience mediocre Telecom Management outcomes at best, and very wasteful and potentially damaging outcomes at worst.

Reason #3 Telecom Management is Not Worth Your IT Time: Money

Let’s face it, at the end of the day all business decisions are about a return on investment.  However pouring money into developing the people, processes and tools to manage world-class Telecom outcomes is not a good use of finite resources nor will it produce innovation or business growth from technology that your Executive peers demand.

Conversely, ignoring one of your largest operating expenses within your IT budget will surely mean substantial money will be left on the table. In fact, most industry experts put the financial costs overruns that occur when mid-market firms try to take on Telecom Management internally at 20 to 30% or more in terms of Total Cost of Telecom. Therefore, accepting the status quo will guarantee one thing: waste.  And that means less money for IT, and less focus from your IT staff.

Telecom Management: Conclusion

Firms have always sought to fill this inevitable gap between what your internal talent can effectively do, and what is desired to run wireline and mobility outcomes well. Usually this results in viewing Telecom Management as catalyst driven and thus contracting with third party experts on an as needed basis such as contract renewals, expense management, consulting etc.  However that still leaves most firms with managing multiple parties to produce the outcomes desired.

The solution is to view Telecom as a process and not an event.  This thinking then frees up firms to gain all the benefits of solving the three areas highlighted here. Seeking fully outsourced Telecom Management by partnering with a firm that invests in the people, process, and tools to run world-class Telecom Departments is the only sure path to an efficient IT staff focused on strategic initiatives, world-class service to your end users, and substantial savings that can be better invested in technology vs. Telecom.

Like what you hear? Contact Renodis today to learn how Turnkey Telecom Management helps businesses manage all Telecom outcomes in a holistic and integrated fashion while allowing valuable IT staff to focus on strategic transformation not operational chaos.

We have all heard the term ‘outsourcing’, especially in IT.  Unfortunately, the concept has lost its appeal and value as people tend to associate outsourcing with the elimination of jobs or the replacement of resources with process.  In the world of telecommunications, a function essential to every enterprise in business today, the management of expenses, contracts, and daily tasks has immersed telecom management into chaos.  Without optimized communications and effective telecom services, your employees, customers, partners, and vendors suffer, and your reputation may tarnish due to poor customer service.  Because the very function of managing telecom seems to be a necessary evil, the concept of outsourcing it becomes a bit more viable – appealing even.   Here are 4 common beliefs that can cloud the value of outsourcing:

    1. Telecom is Messy and Chaotic

The industry is full of many different service providers, carriers, agents, consultants, hardware providers, Telecom Expense Management (TEM) companies, mobility management firms, phone providers, and IT management firms.  With so many options to choose from, it becomes difficult to choose the right provider or technology for your business needs.  The result is too many vendors pointing fingers at each other when something goes wrong.

Answer: A strategic, holistic partner who will look out for your organization’s needs.  Telecom outsourcing eliminates the hassle of managing multiple carriers, multiple vendors, and having to navigate through complex technologies and solutions.

    1. Telecom is Not a Core, Strategic Part of Business

While potentially confusing and certainly frustrating, telecom is a necessary aspect of your business, critical to its daily function.  However, the management and optimization of telecom is not a core part of your business. Telecom tends to fall under the umbrella of IT management, but as such does not have the luxury of qualified, devoted resources for effective daily operation.  As with other business functions in the enterprise, such as human resources, accounting, or operations, telecom should be separated out as its own entity within the enterprise.  Impact: IT teams are focusing on the day to day tasks of telecom.

Answer:  Because telecom tends to burden multiple business units with the day to day tasks of supplier and expense management, a telecom outsourcing solution becomes a highly desirable option that will get your complete organization back on track with their own departmental strategic initiatives.

    1. The Amalgamation of IT and Telecom

Although IT and telecom do seem to blend together with the emergence of complex technologies such as MPLS, Ethernet, cloud computing, and disaster recovery, IT needs to focus how enterprise technology can enhance the business from a strategic perspective.  Managing carrier contracts, telecom expenses, mobility devices, and helpdesk support, while crucial to an enterprise, is not a valuable consumption of IT’s time. The result is that both telecom and IT suffer: strategic IT priorities take a back seat to the immediacy of telecom-related problems.

Answer:  Complete telecom outsourcing allows your IT organization to contribute to core aspects of their job, furthering enterprise-wide IT initiatives.

    1. Effective Telecom Management Requires Dedication and Ownership

While IT and telecom go hand in hand, each discipline requires acute time dedication and ownership.  Ineffective management and outcomes result from attempting to meld two distinct businesses into one.  Precious time and budget dollars are spent on the people, processes, and technologies required to effectively manage telecom services internally.

Answer: Telecom outsourcing releases management time and reduces the total cost of telecom (TCT™) ownership and total cost of telecom per employee.

Revisit the concept of Telecom Outsourcing and see if it’s the right answer for your company. Learn more about how you can Measure Telecom in your business and alleviate hard costs, as well as soft costs, that are attached to managing your telecom environment. Re-focus and get back to what’s important to your business.

Image courtesy of