Help Desk Outsourcing Fills Internal IT Resource Gaps

One of the most common misconceptions about a managed help desk outsourcing solution is that the vendor wants to own everything in the IT department. Given the fact that regardless of industry, most enterprise-sized organizations already have their own IT department, the solution development approach is much more laser focused and specialized than you might think. In reality, most in-house IT departments leverage portions of an outsourcing model only when and where it’s more cost-effective than recruiting, hiring, and training additional FTEs as well as provisioning the hardware, systems, and office space to get them fully operational.

Top 5 Reasons to Consider Outsourcing

Below are the top 5 most common scenarios where internal IT tends to make a valid case for outsourcing:

1. Shorthanded Level 1 staff

No matter how built out your Level 1 team, staffing to the appropriate volume during peaks and valleys in demand can be a challenge. Since most service desks run lean in terms of staffing, a virus attack of the non-IT or seasonal flu variety can lead to unscheduled absences and noticeable impacts to SLAs. Companies that specialize in help desk outsourcing are typically much more scalable as they already have the staff with the bandwidth to pick up additional ticket volume on an overflow basis and add more trained agents to the queue during peak periods. An overflow solution is designed to pick up the slack and the phones after inbound calls, first offered to the internal IT staff, go unanswered after a predetermined number of seconds. The telephony is programmed to route those unanswered contacts to the outsourced team’s ACD and ensure low ASAs and abandon rates.

2. Short-term, seasonal, and project support

Lean running IT departments also rarely have enough spare resources to reassign for short-term projects like application installs or dealing with increased support requests in the wake of an Office365 rollout. Also, depending on the client’s industry, they may have a short-term uptick in seasonal volumes such as open enrollment for healthcare insurance providers or LMS support for higher education institutions. Rather than take on temporary staff at a premium hourly rate or rotate in and out FTEs, outsourcing to a remote service desk can offer much more cost-effective pricing models without the added HR workload.

3. Expanding coverage hours

As emerging IT departments begin to address the increasing support needs of a geographically dispersed workforce, core business hours may no longer be sufficient. Late night projects make after-hours incident management necessary for end users to meet deadlines. While on call support works great for a handful of 3:00 am calls, once that volume reaches a critical mass, a 24 x 7 solution begins to make more sense. Rather than add a number of full-time employees to address the expansion of coverage hours, internal IT departments typically leverage a service desk partner to take over first point of contact duties with a fully staffed third shift team.

4. Too many hats

Not only is trading duties between Level 1 phone support and Level 2 desktop support at the end users’ workstations an inefficient way to manage inbound contacts, but SLAs will likely suffer when IT staff are away from their desks leading to end-user dissatisfaction. In addition, when Level 2 technicians are frequently required to perform routine troubleshooting tasks beneath their skill set, they may seek more challenging, career enhancing opportunities elsewhere. IT organizations turn to an outsourcing model so their higher skilled and higher compensated employees can offload the repetitive Level 1 tasks and focus on more impactful companywide projects that align with their level of expertise.

5. Management focus

For the same reason Level 2 technicians and Level 3 engineers want to offload basic Level 1 access and connectivity issues, client management staff don’t always have the time to oversee all of the daily operational minutiae of how the agents are delivering end user support at Level 1. A fully managed help desk outsourcing solution includes team leads, senior agents, and a director of operations to monitor agent performance, conduct ongoing training, and deliver continual service improvements.

The ultimate goal of a help desk outsourcing solution is to serve as an operational extension of the client’s internal IT staff in a white labeled capacity where and when it makes logistical and financial sense.  There should be no noticeable distinction between either team from the end user’s perspective except for maybe having a scalable help desk partner ready to take their Level 1 support calls whenever there are resource gaps. The outsourcing possibilities are endless and the phone lines are open.

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