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A Common-Sense Approach to Outsourcing Your IT Help Desk

A Common-Sense Approach to Outsourcing Your IT Help Desk

Outsourcing doesn’t have to mean “off shore”. Outsourcing to a domestic Managed IT Service Provider, even in your own home town, has a lot of advantages.

If you are new to outsourcing, making your first venture your IT help desk may be the easiest way to start. No one would ever question the importance of maintaining your employees’ abilities to properly and effectively do their jobs, but as your company has grown, you have undoubtedly seen challenges based upon ever increasing numbers of internal tickets, or in its complexity as technology itself expands. The problem is that, unless you are a major fairly large-scale company, it is hard for your small in-house IT team to keep up with peaks and valleys of demand, as well as the increased complexity mentioned above.

Let’s start by looking at some current trends in outsourcing.

Trend #1: On-shore vs. offshore, sometimes referred to as “nearshore” vs. “farshore”. We have all heard anecdotal reports of the growth of offshore outsourcing in India and other remote locations, but the reality is that Indian outsourcing is on the decline as many businesses have discovered that onshore outsourcing works better for them. This includes factors such as time zone similarity, language similarity, and sometimes an understanding of local issues and expectations.

Onshore outsourcing can improve communications leading to higher levels of operating efficiency and, in some case, an increase in the speed of time-to-market for new services and products.

Trend #2: Outsourcing vs. In-House. Small to mid-sized businesses face serious challenges when trying to accomplish everything in-house, particularly when it comes to services that don’t match their own core business functions. This includes data-processing and data storage, including the switch from in-house to cloud-based storage that allows the access of data globally by your employees on the move.

This is also true of companies that make the attempt to run their own IT help desks, especially when confronted with extreme labor shortages in the IT field. As an example, here in the Atlanta Metro area, IT unemployment is currently hovering near zero, leading us to the next trend.

Trend #3: IT Skill Shortage. The reality is that any business can build its own internal IT support team, if you are willing to spend enough and employ sufficient backup personnel so you are covered when you need to deal with IT staff resignations. 24 x 7 x 365 coverage can also be problematic. Your company may function as a basic 9 to 5 business, with everything shutting down after hours, but this is becoming more and more unlikely in today’s competitive business environment. But even if your business does close for the night and for weekends, who is and how are they updating business applications, cyber security software, equipment of all types? Any of this work performed during “normal business hours” is interruptive and can be costly. Your outsourced Managed IT Support provider should have that 24 x 7 x 365 team that can not only handle these situations when they cause the least disturbance, they will also be there for an employee who happens to want/need to access company files in the middle of the night while at home, traveling, visiting clients many time zones away, or even on vacation.

This is compounded by the problem that once you train someone in a new or expanded technology, that person becomes ever more valuable on the job market and you face an even greater risk of therefore losing that person. Outsource providers do, of course, face the same problem, though to a lesser degree, but this is significantly mitigated by the size of the team. If, for example, you have an in-house IT team of two and one of them resigns, you have lost 50% of your capacity. The managed IT support provider with a team of 20 that loses one, only loses 5% of its capacity. The outsource managed IT service provider is also in a much better position to properly train incoming staff members and provide ongoing training.

Your Managed IT Support company, while being an outsource provider for your company, may itself, outsource overnight and weekend support services offshore where a remote network operations center (NOC) can do all the behind the scenes managing, monitoring and maintaining of your IT network to ensure the highest levels of availability, security and mobility for your firm. Because these people are working during their daytime hours, they are more alert and work for lesser pay than those who work overnight, which translates to savings for your company.

Trend #4: Demand for Outsourcing Increasing. As stated above, as newer technologies are being developed, and required skill sets increase, companies are finding that it is becoming more and more challenging to keep their in-house teams up-to-speed on how to manage these technologies. This is resulting in a rapid growth in onshore outsourcing.

The Approach That Works For You

This can be a bit intimidating but done right, the benefit can be enormous. By choosing the right IT support vendor, you will have the advantage of working with an entire team of well-trained and highly experienced engineers who can guarantee the continuity of your IT services, which today is an important xpart of your overall business continuity, while allowing your people to focus on your core business without the distraction of dealing with seemingly never-ending IT problems.

Your provider’s executive team can also act as IT advisors guiding you to make the right decisions about IT hardware and software. Because they work with many businesses, which, although very different from your own, deal with very similar problems and decisions, their experience is ever-growing and becoming ever-more valuable to their clients. Outsourcing your IT help desk should end up being safe, simple and secure, and when it is, you will know that you have made the right choice.