On what basis should a network owner/operator make the decision to operate the network in-house or outsource the operation?
The operator needs to consider a few important factors:
- How complex will the network be?
- How qualified is your in-house staff?
- How much extra time does your in-house staff have?
- How many money have you budgeted for operation?
If the network will be relatively simple to maintain, AND if your staff can master the basic DS fundamentals at start-up AND your staff has the time to monitor and troubleshoot the network on a daily basis, then keep it in-house.
But if the network is ambitious AND your staff has no digital signage experience or expertise (in particular, when it comes to creating compelling content and a lot of it) AND your staff is already pushed to the max on their “real” jobs, then the operator should outsource.
If that’s the case, the operator should work diligently on creating an accurate budget. Collaborate with the outside vendor to determine, as accurately as possible, the cost of not only the launch but, more importantly, the cost of daily operation over the long term. Then add at least 10 percent, preferably more.
Take the same approach as you would with a remodel of your house. There’s a very good chance a digital signage network will cost more and take longer to establish than one thinks. The operator should build that into the budget and timeline. If the project comes in on time and on budget, the operators should bank the savings and consider themselves fortunate.