Does Outsourcing Tech Support Make Sense?


Supporting a large computer network can be a daunting task for even a medium-sized IT department. As the number of employees in your organisation grows in addition to the number of platforms, operating systems and devices, your desk-side IT team may find it difficult to cope. Is outsourcing the answer?

The Benefits of Outsourcing IT Support
One of the main reasons to consider outsourcing is the economy of scale that it provides. Instead of having to invest time and resources in hiring and training a large team of support workers, as well as providing infrastructure for them, the company providing the service for you can rely on the resources they already have in place. Many outsourcing providers offer support using a usage-based fee structure, so you pay only for the number of tickets you raise. This means many companies enjoy substantial cost-savings compared to companies which have a fixed in-house team.

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The tech support workers employed by specialist support terms are usually highly trained in specific areas. Microsoft Exchange queries may get routed to one desk, Office queries to another and queries about your VPN to another. This means that you get specialist advice quickly. It is difficult for a smaller in-house team to offer this, because there are only a handful of employees and they are expected to be jacks of all trades rather than out and out specialists.

The tech support hotline serves as a single point of contact. If this point of contact is located in the same geographic area as your company, then this is good for employee morale and efficiency. The Economist calls local outsourcing “upsourcing”.

Reasons to Provide In-House Support
While it can be beneficial to outsource your phone and online support to a company that provides IT Support in Oxford, there are good reasons for keeping an in-house team. Your in-house team has a much better knowledge of your company as a whole — how it operates, what each user prefers and what is really most important for the business.

One good compromise is to direct basic queries to a general hotline, and then have that company escalate complex queries or clear hardware faults to the in-house team, who can then arrange a desk side visit. This system is good for morale (many employees feel more comfortable dealing with an “in-house” IT guy or gal), and offers a good compromise in terms of cost and efficiency.

Outsourcing works best for companies with a large number of employees. While your team is small it is usually best to keep your IT work in-house. However, it is wise to monitor the number of calls that your IT team receives and to consider outsourcing once dealing with basic support requests such as lost passwords, printer problems or network issues starts to take up a large percentage of their day.

As with any other form of outsourcing, the objective is not to “lose control” of your processes; rather, to free your skilled employees to focus on the things that they do best should be the goal.

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