When an organisation moves from in-house to outsourced services, such as an IT service desk, there is often uncertainty about the level of support required. Both parties – the customer and provider – are trying to balance value for money against the services they want and need.
What a company wants and needs are often two different issues. Needs are basic requirements, such as a minimum fixed number of hours every month of IT support or volume of tickets. Wants are extra services that could give a company a technical or productivity advantage.
Outsourcing IT service desk functions is one of the most effective ways for an IT team to focus on long-term, strategic projects, instead of fire fighting issues. Organisations that outsource rarely go back to in-house IT service desk teams, since the outsourcing model can generate cost savings and a better user experience.
IT teams can also swing into action to deliver projects that can transform business operations, from sales to customer service, with new software, smarter processes and improved connectivity. However, one of the main questions that needs answering before outsourcing is whether a company needs a shared or dedicated IT service desk?
We’ve weighed up the pros and cons in this article.
Dedicated IT service desk – key considerations
Time and money
Initially, it is worth exploring how many hours your in-house team spend fixing IT issues – e.g. emails, telephony, storage, hardware, and other common problems. Work out an average for at least two quarters.
Skilled IT partners should be able to reduce that time, simply through strategic improvements to services, to solve commonly recurring problems. But that does take time, so you may need to ensure more hours are spent in the first few months of a working relationship, and then reduce the hours as needed in time.
However, the more hours you need, the more it will cost. Even with the most cost effective IT partners.
With some IT partners, you may be assigned a specific help desk analyst – effectively full-time. Someone who will only work on your account and systems. This can be extremely advantageous as it allows that individual to really understand your IT demands and objectives, and provide a proactive and very responsive service.
With the right IT partner, the specialisms issue won’t be a problem. Dedicated support should not always mean you are working with the same person every day; otherwise, you may as well offer them a job.
IT professionals working for outsourcing providers also have an advantage over the in-house IT support team. They get exposure to a wider range of industries, challenges, innovation and solutions, and they can bring this experience and knowledge to your business. Internal teams can exist very much in a silo and it can become difficult to spot opportunities to drive efficiencies, increase performance etc. because of this. Using an IT provider will keep your IT department moving forwards.
IT staff for the long or short term
Another key benefit of using an IT outsourcing provider is that they already have a team of IT professionals ready to meet your requirements. No need to train and on board internal staff. This is particularly useful if you have seasonal volume spikes, or a short term requirement where IT support is more in demand.
Dedicated support means ensuring a client has the right level of IT help across a range of functional areas. Working with IT professionals that have different skills and areas of expertise. This should always be covered in service packages and Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
IT partners should also make it easy for your team to put in support requests, no matter what time or time zone staff are in. A dedicated self-service portal should also be available to help them with issues they could fix themselves, with around the clock support as required, depending on the business needs and service level. Businesses with customers or staff across the world often need dedicated support, to ensure services stay operational regardless of the head ofce time zone.
In many respects, shared services are similar to dedicated, except with a smaller allocation of hours. Apart from that, you should have the same level of support, including out of hours and the ability to access a range of IT specialisms.
Start with the work your in-house team does: once you have a clear idea what they deal with through the average week and month, you will be equipped to select the right IT services with an external partner.