Outsourcing your IT and technical support services to an external IT provider is one of the most common forms of outsourcing – with outsourced helpdesk being the most common. Any company who is looking to outsource their IT helpdesk or IT support needs to understand the pros and cons of outsourcing.
Many consider outsourcing in purely financial terms, but business owners need to consider how outsourcing can work operationally and also how responsive the service provider is to the needs of your business. In many cases, outsourcing customer services or helpdesk can actually improve responsiveness, customer satisfaction and customer retention. Organisations can develop a true 24×7 presence, providing round the clock support and service to staff and customers alike.
A growing number of SMB and SME organisations will choose to outsource their IT helpdesk in its entirety, however, a growing number use managed service providers to complement their existing in-house IT teams. This can be to augment their existing capabilities with additional technical knowledge or to provide out of hours cover.
The following are some pros and cons of helpdesk outsourcing:
- Flexible capacity. IT Helpdesk and customer services volumes may have peaks and troughs, or seasonal differences. Outsourcing this function to a provider enables them to scale up and down with demand, whilst you pay a fixed monthly fee.
- 24x7x365 coverage. Outsourcing your IT and support needs to a third party means your business and customers can gain access to technical support on a 24x7x365 basis. Typically you need 5 or 6 people to operate round the clock, this requirement goes away.
- Focus on core business competencies. Outsourced helpdesk allows you and your staff to focus on your core business and technical activity.
- Financials and opex. Outsourcing generally delivers an opex model with fixed, predictable costs.
- Expertise. Outsourced IT providers have a pool of highly trained engineers that provide a wide-ranging skill set to your business. This may include IT engineers, security consultants, software developers and network engineers – all through one contract.
- Capabilities. In addition to the helpdesk, the firm may pro-active manage, monitor and support your IT.
- Culture. Your staff may need to adjust to using a third party provider. However, if managed correctly, there should be a seamless transition.
- Quality. Many people may be concerned about quality, or if the provider is not professional enough.
- Security. Cybersecurity and privacy is a key issue, you need to be sure your provider is trusted and takes security seriously.
- Cost. Businesses tend to favour a predictable cost model, so companies need to understand the fixed cost elements and if any per-call fees may be involved.
- Visibility. Will you have visibility of activity and service reporting?
- Relationships. Using a third party may be an anonymous affair. You need to ensure your supplier is partner, with real touch points and an attentive account manager who understands your business.
The potential benefits of outsourced helpdesk are obvious, however, companies need to ensure they use a trusted provider that really serves as an extension of their existing function, rather than delivering a fundamental change that may impact the quality or the customer experience. There are many other, non-technical factors to consider such as culture, which is touched upon in this Forbes article.
You also need to be clear from the outset of your expectations; will they answer IT support calls? First line? Second Line? Calls from suppliers and customers? Call volumes? How do they identify the caller?
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MTG delivers a range of IT and managed helpdesk services to clients throughout the UK and Europe.