When Should I Hire Full-Time IT?
As your organization experiences growth, expanding your technology and support capabilities becomes increasingly important. At some point, you may question whether hiring a full-time IT professional is right for your business.
We aim to provide a foundation for understanding your technology management requirements and determining when bringing in-house IT staff may be appropriate. At Framework IT, we have over 14 years of experience providing IT management consulting to organizations. Through this experience, we have identified a standard set of reasons that drive leaders to consider hiring IT support.
What Are the Most Common Reasons You Would Hire an IT Professional?
For several reasons, people consider hiring full-time IT staff or consulting an IT vendor, like a managed service provider (MSP). From Framework IT’s experience consulting SMBs, rarely is one reason alone enough to determine if you need full-time IT staff (or an MSP), but rather that a combination of factors come into play.
- Employee Count
- Support Needs
- Technology Product
- Product Dependence
- Custom Technology
Employee Count: How Many Employees Should You Have Before Hiring Full-Time IT People?
You may have filled many roles in a typical organizational chart and think you need to fill IT too. You may have been paying by the hour for support, which adds up enough to look like hiring will save money. You may be unaware of other ways to provide robust IT management and support, like hiring an MSP. Regardless of your reasons, staff growth is perceived as a driving force for expanding IT support.
The notion that organizational growth requires a business to hire full-time IT support immediately often results in leaders hiring full-time IT people too early. You rarely need an in-house IT person if you have less than 25 employees. You’re unlikely to need in-house IT staff even in the 25-50 employee range. Support and strategic planning needs may not be extensive enough to keep a full-time IT person busy at this size. In these stages of growth, an MSP can provide help desk support and strategic oversight at a lower cost than a full-time salary.
At 50-100 employees, it makes sense to consider a full-time IT person. If you haven’t hired IT staff, at 100-250 employees, you’ll reach a point where adding an in-house IT person to the management team makes sense.
Support Needs: What Support Needs Affect When I Should Hire Full-Time IT?
Before hiring a full-time IT person, it’s essential to consider that previous experiences with outsourced IT may have colored your perception of the industry. In many cases, however, outsourced IT, particularly MSPs, can provide superior support to in-house IT teams.
If you believe having a physically present IT team member will improve support, hiring a full-time IT person may be the right choice for your organization. However, it’s worth exploring the potential benefits of working with an MSP, as they can offer expert support and personalized solutions for your specific business needs.
Ultimately, hiring a full-time IT person or working with an MSP will depend on your organization’s specific needs and priorities.
Adding a full-time IT person may improve support if some of the following points apply to you:
- Onsite Support Needs: Outsourced IT vendors may need help coming onsite in a timely fashion and certainly cannot beat in-house IT. If you’re in a remote location, that problem can be even further exasperated.
- Frequent Changes: This is especially true if they’re often last minute. The in-house IT person may address these in a timelier fashion. That does depend on the outsourced IT vendor alternative you’re comparing to. Some are fast to accommodate moves, adds, and changes. Others could be faster or downright slow. Either way, with a full-time IT person, you can better control the timeliness of these IT requests.
- Some, but not all, outsourced IT vendors charge separately for moves, adds, and changes. If you have frequent needs in these areas, it may make the outsourced IT support more expensive. Adding full-time IT may help optimize your costs.
- Hybrid Support: Add a full-time IT person to complement your outsourced IT vendor. Combining the pros and cons of outsourced IT, like an MSP and a full-time IT person, can improve support. If you highly value support quality and have the budget, you could add full-time IT earlier as you grow. This hybrid support approach usually doesn’t make sense until a company has 75–200 employees.
- Your Employees are Not Tech-Savvy: Hiring in-house IT support makes sense when the staff is not tech-savvy since they require more assistance with technical issues. If your employees are unfamiliar with technology, they may have difficulty using the tools and systems they need to do their jobs effectively. Having an IT team member to provide in-person support can help alleviate this problem and ensure that employees receive the assistance they need promptly and effectively. A dedicated IT team can provide in-person support and increase employee confidence. An alternative option is working with an MSP which offers expert support, customized solutions, and 24/7 assistance, which can be more cost-effective than hiring a full-time IT employee.
When Should You Hire Full-Time IT If Your Product Needs Tech for Setup or Support?
If your product needs an IT person to develop, install, or support it, it’s easier to excel with in-house IT. While it’s possible to start outsourcing portions of your delivery or support to a partner to navigate a smaller budget and low-volume product, as you grow, that will become chaotic, more expensive, and hard to manage with a 3rd party.
If you fall into this category, hiring a full-time IT person as soon as the budget allows will improve your cost structure, flexibility, and control over your product delivery. In short, it’ll lead to better outcomes and will enable you to scale with less friction.
Frankly, many organizations subject to this concern hire a full-time IT person and dedicate that person to serving their clients as soon as possible. It’s common to see organizations employ the services of an outsourced IT provider to manage other internal tech systems and an in-house IT professional to keep their IT person client-focused.
When Should You Hire Full-Time IT If You Use Custom Applications or Proprietary Technologies?
Finding efficient outsourced support for custom applications is challenging. Some outsourced IT vendors are willing to learn and support your custom technologies. Unless they devote an engineer to your account full-time, they’ll have a longer learning curve. The same is true for any custom or proprietary technology.
A full-time in-house IT person should be able to get proficient quicker. Custom applications usually fulfill critical functions, so it’s imperative it’s well-supported. Paying the original developers forever for support will add up too. These are just some of the challenges of developing custom technology.
Building a custom application introduces support challenges and increases IT management costs. Therefore, we recommend avoiding custom applications altogether. Smaller organizations should only use them if they’re part of their product. Mid/large organizations can look at custom applications if they vet implications thoroughly. Before doing so, they should make sure there’s no other software that could address the needs.
So, Now You’re Ready to Take the Next step – Should You Hire In-House Staff or Partner With an MSP for Your Support Needs?
Hiring an internal IT resource is wise if you are a company with a significant headcount, proprietary technology, and custom applications that require a near-immediate turnaround on issue resolution. However, there are other options. While internal IT resources are a great start, managed service providers, like Framework IT, can help provide a more robust level of reactive support and help your leadership team develop a more strategic and thoughtful approach to technology strategy.
In addition to round-the-clock support, your company will benefit from a wide array of expertise from a team of technical support professionals –from end-user support to vCIO strategy development, allowing you to focus solely on your core business.
Hiring an IT person can be difficult. When hiring a new employee, it’s vital to consider the cost of hiring – recruiting, training, holidays, sick days, turnover costs, and information silos. With an MSP, your IT support continues even after one of your employees leaves. MSPs offer support resilience, leaving your business secure 24/7.
Learn More About How Framework IT’s Unique Managed Services Pricing Model Incentives Clients to Adopt Data-Driven Best Practices, Such as Using Cloud Applications!