The financial sector is the single largest user of information technology in business today, and competition among financial service providers is intense. Credit Unions across the nation (and Michigan Credit Unions are no exception) face increased competition from banks and other savings and lending institutions, as well as competition from other Credit Unions. As competition increases, there is increasing pressure to provide more and faster services, and to cut operating expenses.
One of the most effective ways that Michigan Credit Unions are meeting this competitive challenge is to strategically outsource IT solutions. Although IT functions are at the heart of today’s Credit Union activity, payroll for the IT department is typically categorized under an administrative expense, which is the first place that managers look for possible budget cuts. And IT jobs tend to be located near the high end of the administrative pay scale because of the need for extensive technical training and experience. The typical Credit Union IT department can also add overtime and shift differential expenses to the payroll budget, since Credit Union computer systems monitor their customers’ financial activity on a 24 hour, 7 days a week, 365 days per year basis. So when Michigan Credit Union CEOs are looking for ways to trim their budgets, in-house IT professionals become prime targets.
However, it is really inherent in the nature of the IT department itself that makes it such a good candidate for outsourcing. Thanks to the development of networking and the internet, IT professionals no longer need to be physically present to tend to their computer systems on an ongoing basis. Since IT staff became free to perform their jobs off site, it has been a natural progression for more and more businesses to hire IT consultants to provide service from remote locations. In fact, technology is now sophisticated enough that most IT tasks (outside of on-site hardware installation and computer repair) can be performed off site.
As a result, an entire industry of IT consulting has been born and grown up since the 1990s. It is not uncommon now for IT professionals to spend their entire careers as consultants, and specializing in various aspects of the industry (like network design or database security and recovery) or in specific vendor products (like Novell or Microsoft). Many IT consulting firms develop specialized industry expertise as well. For instance, AccuTech International is positioned to provide expert IT solutions for Credit Unions.
Activities like Application Hosting, Remote Monitoring, Security Protection, Data Recovery and Documentation and Help Desk Services can all be performed off site. They are perfect candidates for outsourcing. In fact, remote monitoring can actually often provide faster response time for troubleshooting problem incidents than in-house IT Staff. ìSince incidents can be immediately identified, they can be diagnosed sooner and often can be resolved using real time access to the main system, and without the need for an IT professional to ever set foot on site.
In addition to remote services, experienced IT consultants like AccuTech International (which has offices in Michigan) can provide on-site services such as technical support, computer repair, hardware installation and systems training for Michigan Credit Unions and other businesses needing expert IT solutions.