CIO 100: IT experts, outsource or in-house train?

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Ken Ogwang, the CIO East African Breweries Ltd, at the CIO 100 Symposium an Awards.

IT has become a basic basis of any single business in the world today, and there is no argument that IT specialists are not required. The question is whether to hire a full-time in-house team, or contract out and bring in experts only when needed.

There are pros and cons to each approach as it emerged during a heated panel discussion about the same during the CIO100 Symposium and Awards in Naivasha Kenya.

The panel moderator, One Robert Yawe poised a question to the panel on whether or not to outsource experts in this space and the divide weighed equal.

Outsourcing

The benefit of this approach as it occurred, is that a company can bring in someone with a very specific skill set to take on a particular task. Once that task is accomplished, they may not need those particular skills again, so it makes financial sense.

When a company outsources, it also doesn’t need to invest in the equipment or software necessary to do that particular job that becomes a major setback to a company in case of equipment malfunction or breakdown.

Ken Ogwang, the CIO East African Breweries Ltd however gave a setback for outsourcing, saying, “It is wrong to set 100% of an organistions marketing structure to outsourcing arguing that businesses should strategize in-house even when outsourcing expertise.”

A concern was also raised that often than not, employees feel not trusted by their employees so then to outsource for expertise from without the organization. Responding to this, the panel agreed that outsourced experts should be considered as an extension of the in-house team.

In-house IT

Building up an in-house IT team means that they are trained to the company’s specific needs, and they will always be available when needed. This can be especially invaluable when an emergency arises, such as a security breach.

With an in-house team, the company can ensure they are trained to the requisite level and, via exclusive contracts, can hang on to any star performers whose work differentiates the company from the competition.

The cons to building an in-house IT team can mainly be seen in terms of initial financial outlay. Finding the right people and training them can be a costly and drawn out affair. The training never stops either, as they will need to constantly update their skills and knowledge, gain certificates and so on.

“The problem of in-house sourcing is that we have all energy into so then when it fails, it is a setback to the organization. But when outsourced, the risk is spread to the agency in charge,” said Ogwang

A hybrid approach

Peter  Mungai the Agt MD Kenya Airways said, “In the past, we have been 60% outsourcing with 40% insourcing expertise but that in now changing as we currently outsource only 40% and insource 60%.”

An in-house IT team is essential to some degree for all but the smallest companies. These may be focused on customer support, security, online marketing or any other IT area that requires constant supervision. Ultimately, most companies opt for a mixture of both approaches.

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