The Evolution of In-House Help Desks
News | 20 Feb 2014
The Evolution of In-House Help Desks Today, it’s rare to find a company that leverages a fully internal IT help desk. There are a number of reasons that this is the case, but it can be summed up by the fact that technology has exploded in the past several years. Between the BYOD boom and increase of mobility and telecommuting, IT infrastructure is more complex than ever before. Tasks that in the past could be handled by a small internal IT team, now require more, and more well trained, IT experts. It currently would take a small army of internal IT staff to keep day-to-day operations running, trouble shoot issues and monitor for bottle necks. Organizations simply are not able to effectively manage the volume of IT requests that they receive and struggle to keep up to speed on all of the latest technologies – which is why they choose to outsource their IT service desk. This article describes several of the benefits of an outsourced help desk.
Expertise Technology is never stagnant and maintaining expertise on all of the moving pieces that form the foundation of an organization’s IT system is unrealistic. Take BYOD for example. While it isn’t a new concept, it is rapidly gaining traction throughout the workplace. Companies are beginning to realize that by allowing employees to select their own devices, they are able to save in upfront costs. However, this introduces more complexity to the IT infrastructure and increases security concerns. It is nearly impossible for an in-house help desk to keep up to speed with all of the devices and technologies that are being introduced on a daily basis. By working with a help desk services company, the organization gains access to IT experts that are specialized in different technologies, allowing them to employ the appropriate resources on-demand. Because employees of services organizations have constant training and maintain expertise in a specific area, they are able to offer higher quality service. IT service providers also have global teams based across various technologies, which customers can take advantage of to solve their problems much faster and effectively.
Always Available With the increasing number of employees telecommuting and working flexible hours, there is an increased need for IT support outside the parameters of a traditional business day. Further, the “always-on” mentality of being connected to work on weekends and holidays reinforces the need to have help desk services available at all times. Help desk service providers with global locations and 24x7x365 coverage provide access to IT support anytime, from anywhere.
Cost Scalability is another significant benefit of an outsourced help desk versus the in-house alternative. By offering different levels of services, including dedicated, hybrid or on-demand, companies can choose a model that fits their unique needs. This means that resources aren’t wasted when IT needs are low and dedicated staff can leverage additional resources if there is an influx in service requests. In the long run, this ends up saving the company money because IT resources are only being paid for when they are being used. Despite the fact that technology is more intertwined in a company’s day-to-day operations than ever before, IT budgets have basically remained stagnant, and IT managers face ongoing challenges to reduce their operations costs. Organizations cannot afford to allocate more money to their budgets to meet the needs of the IT help desk. IT departments have transitioned from a CapEx to an OpEx model, meaning that companies which used to purchase new devices as users experienced technical difficulties, now invest their funds in fixing devices to keep them running for as long as possible. By investing in IT support instead of new devices, companies are able to save money long-term, putting off the upfront cost involved with purchasing a new device.
Local Yet Global Reach Enterprises that are multi-country and multi-cultural want to have a global centralized help desk with a local language touch. Having a decentralized help desk increases their challenges multifold whereas outsourcing enables an organization to have a centralized help desk with a local touch. An outsourced centralized help desk allows the enterprise to achieve a common process and framework to help the entire end user community, and does not compromise end user satisfaction.
What’s Next? As the IT infrastructure continues to grow more diverse, help desks will become increasingly important. The goal of IT is to create a productive environment for employees, and in the past organizations have placed too much value in the technology instead of the end-user. However, the tide is turning. As we continue to move forward, IT organizations will be encouraged to adopt a customer service view of IT support where the employee’s satisfaction is the measuring stick for success. Increasingly tech-savvy employees will also want to leverage “self-help” solutions to solve IT issues. Support organizations are learning that it’s no longer possible to dictate how users receive their service and end users are going to begin leveraging a variety of mediums to generate the results they desire. New channels such as SMS, chat, email and social media are going to be used more frequently as users try to find solutions to their own questions prior to reaching out to a third party. As enterprise technology continues to grow more complex, in-house help desks do not have the resources to keep up. By leveraging help desk services, companies are able to benefit from the expertise that they need, when they need it, while maintaining their bottom line.