6. Significant On-site Support Tasks
How much of the workload requires a physical presence and how much can be remotely resolved? Is there historical data available (i.e. monthly reports on service tickets) that can accurately distinguish between those activities? Typical On-site tasks would be hardware related such as Installs, Moves, Adds, Changes, provisioning and disposal services, otherwise known as lifecycle management of those assets (PCs, laptops, monitors, printers, and peripherals). The ideal solution is to place full time desktop support technicians on site who work in tandem with the service desk. Level 1 agents act as the first point of contact, escalating thoroughly triaged and documented service tickets to the technicians only when remote resolution is not possible. If the client has their own IT management team on site to verse desktop support, it’s entirely up to them if they want to staff internally or outsource those positions to an MSP.
7. Dispatched On-site Support
Some organizations inadvertently look for dispatched desktop support solutions to remotely resolvable problems. The combination of remote access tools and a knowledge base of thoroughly documented and easily replicated troubleshooting procedures expands the service desk’s remote resolution repertoire; however, as with the above examples there are instances where an on-site presence is unavoidable. Designating full time resources, either internal or outsourced, for those tasks and sending them from desktop to desktop within a single building or campus would be ideal assuming the workload justifies such a position. If those instances are few and far between along with the locations supported, a dispatch model is a tough nut to crack logistically. How feasible is it deploy a technician outside of a reasonable commute radius for a one-off hardware issue? MSPs can usually deliver dispatch support on an intermittent basis, but the response time could range from four hours to a couple of business days. And to crack that nut in an economically viable way, they may resort to contractors rather than keep vetted full time resources on the payroll until the next call. For less urgent desktop support matters, some organizations set them aside for a part-time, roving technician who visits at scheduled intervals. Kind of like an IT support timeshare, MSPs can schedule technicians to appear at a client’s location on a specific day of the week or month. So they can resolve those IT odds and ends or small projects that have stacked up since their last visit. As with on-call support, the internal solution would be to rotate full-time resources out of regular duties for those tasks.
8. Short Term, Long Term Projects
An exception to forgoing an internal staffing solution would be for clients looking for short-term or even long-term support for projects or simply need to augment a current service desk or desktop support team. Whether it’s assisting with a companywide rollout or addressing the increased demand for support from end users adjusting to the transition, providing short-term or open-ended staffing is a logical solution. No matter what the position, clients who need short-term resources should consider outsourcing either to a staffing firm or an MSP instead of being the W-2 employer of record for rotating in and out FTEs as needed.
9. Shared or Dedicated Staffing?
Dedicated roles make the most sense where the support focus is narrow and deep; meaning there is a high recurrence of specific tasks (AD administration, asset management, or software provisioning, for example), but the technical expertise and procedural knowledge is geared towards more time consuming and complex resolutions. Shared service desk agents, on the other hand, are better inclined to handle a diverse list of support items for industry standard applications (MS Office products) commonly used by most clients. Dedicated staffing roles can be outsourced or can just as easily be delivered by internal IT departments since, by definition, those resources are dedicated to supporting their employer’s end users.
10. Process for Engaging Support
Is there a formal process for end users to contact the service desk or do they just tap their favorite tech on the shoulder or call their direct number? Ideally, end users request support through defined media channels such as phone, email, web form, reaching the next available agent in a first point of contact help desk or service desk. Informal contacts are fine in a small, single office environment, but as organizations grow and become more geographically dispersed they become less efficient. Technicians doing double duty of service desk and desktop support tasks are in constant interrupt mode and can’t focus on more strategic projects. Plus SLAs like Average Speed of Answer falls behind as they get pulled away from their phones. Establishing a streamlined workflow means IT directs all contacts through the service desk first where all incidents are either resolved and closed or filtered through an escalation process to the desktop team only when a hands-on presence is required. Though this topic doesn’t necessarily play in to choice between an internal and outsourced solution, it does address where organizations want to be in terms of process efficiency going forward.