The Joys of DIY?
It should feel like spring someday soon and that means the start of the new DIY season. But when it comes to DIY, I’ve learnt over the years that there are definitely times when it pays to get a professional in. It is not that I don’t enjoy a bit of home handiwork. Redecorating the front room can be therapeutic and, if not that, at least better than some of the other chores on offer. Not to mention the top line cost savings of doing it yourself. But there are very definitely some projects that I’ve taken on where I quickly wished I hadn’t.
There comes a point when cost is not the only factor – sometimes it is not even the primary factor. It is all very well deciding to fit the new kitchen yourself but the reality of weeks of living with a part finished job soon sets in. And you begin to realise you have neither quite the right skills nor quite the right tools for the job. Far from being a rather welcome alternative to the things you didn’t want to do, the task has become a very irritating distraction from what you really do want to do. It may not be long before you realise the value in having the work done by a professional, in under a week, and to a higher standard than you can realistically manage yourself.
Do we make the same mistakes in managing our ICT? Comparing the cost of an outsourced service with the cost of providing it in-house is not straight-forward. And as with my DIY dilemmas the cash cost is not the only factor. When evaluating the options, it is worth stopping to think about your strategic priorities. Where can your team add the most value to the services you provide? Which services or processes could be outsourced to free up time to focus on those strategic priorities? And which services could be deployed more quickly by a specialist?
Professional pride often convinces us that the only way to guarantee a good result is to do it ourselves. Until very recently we believed that only we ourselves could properly, securely and cost-effectively manage the complexities of our payroll. The reality was that we hadn’t worked hard enough to find the right bureau supplier. Increasingly organisations have found that by choosing the right outsourcing partners and putting the right controls in place, they have strengthened their service provision and freed up their internal team to focus on those areas that provide real competitive advantage.
Stephen Butcher is CEO at Eduserv - www.eduserv.org.uk