Written by Joyce Ann Danieles
Your company encounters delays and backlogs whenever IT-related problems arise. Unresolved issues frustrate staff, impacting their efficiency and productivity and costing you time and money if these challenges persist.
Outsourced technical support can eliminate the daily strains of managing an IT department. From simple customer service to complex computer errors, third-party service providers help address varied tech issues. This advantage allows you to focus on your prime functions.
To outsource desktop support and help desk tasks, follow these eight steps in seeking a provider. These practical tips guarantee returns on your outsourcing investment.
1. Specify IT Service Needs
The first and most crucial step in acquiring back-office outsourcing services is identifying your specific IT needs. Most managed IT service providers typically offer technical support and help desk options.
Yes, technical and help desk support seem synonymous, but they are different. Although both services handle user communications, incidents, and support requests, the main distinction is the provided service’s scope.
Help desks focus on a basic problem-solving approach to common IT issues such as account recovery, incident tracking, and software management. In contrast, tech support deals with time-consuming and complicated technical problems. Sometimes, help desks are interchanged with desktop support, a type of tech support.
Specialized technicians who directly access devices (e.g., laptops, computers, and mobile phones) comprise a desktop support team. It uses virtual chat or phone calls to communicate with customers while working on issues. Meanwhile, help desks are closely related to general customer service but prioritize IT inquiries.
To align your operational strategies and budget allocations better, know these variations when outsourcing desktop support, help desks, or other IT services. Each IT support type requires varying expertise levels, so overhead costs might also differ. Just specify which IT services you want to delegate to a provider to use outsourcing best.
2. Identify In-house Challenges
Pinning down in-house IT challenges is crucial to quickly developing and implementing practical solutions such as back-office outsourcing. If you can’t address such problems immediately, your business growth and revenue might suffer. Your good market reputation and brand loyalty might also collapse due to unaddressed customer inquiries.
After determining your specific IT service needs, examine the challenges before giving outsourcing a go. Start by drafting questions about whether outsourcing specific IT services for streamlined workloads is better. You can ask the following questions.
Why Should You Outsource IT Services?
An in-house IT department demands a considerable budget for labor and infrastructure costs. You need to compensate and train your employees to motivate their consistently excellent performance. You must also purchase advanced systems and dedicate a comfortable workplace to match their productivity.
But when you outsource desktop support and help desk services, you can reduce the expenses for these resources. A service provider already employs skilled workers and uses modern technologies to ease your workloads. You can then focus on your primary capabilities.
How Can You Control IT Costs?
Managing your IT workforce and resources includes hidden costs such as:
- Staff upskilling and training
- Hardware and software upgrades
- Data security and loss
- Equipment maintenance
- Component replacements
- Performance Incentives
Outsourcing enables you to control these expenses. Providers offer options to pay for services as needed or through a contract. You no longer need to invest mainly in infrastructure and personnel.
How Can You Best Manage Risks?
Each business decision comes with risks. When managing an in-house IT team, you might struggle to deal with conditions, including:
- Competitor movements
- Technology changes
- Financial shortcomings
- Government rules
- Security threats
- Market trends
Contractors have employees experienced in those areas, helping you reduce risks and improve strategic decisions. Hence, expect to achieve long-term positive outcomes for your business.
How Can You Prioritize Enterprise Growth?
IT services are part of your non-core tasks. Although they don’t directly contribute to your profitability, you need IT support to maintain critical front-office and back-office processes. But their time-consuming and labor-intensive nature hinders your team from focusing on what truly matters.
Access a highly trained workforce and upgraded infrastructure to streamline these repetitive functions by outsourcing your desktop support and help desk. Such resources will help you accelerate responses to IT-related issues and customer inquiries. You can thus focus on enhancing your core capabilities for continued growth.
3. Define Measurable Goals
Once you understand your IT needs and challenges, set your targets clearly for hiring a third-party service provider. The bucket list will help monitor how outsourcing your IT services benefit your business in the long run. Use the SMART guide to increase the chances of achieving what you want in this investment.
Identify your goals as you outsource desktop support and help desk tasks. Otherwise, you won’t feel motivated to achieve them because your efforts lack focus. When drafting your outsourcing objectives, try to answer the five wh-questions.
- What do I want to attain with a service provider?
- Why is IT service outsourcing vital in my business?
- Who should handle this effort?
- Where should I seek a managed IT service provider?
- Which IT-focused tasks should I outsource?
You can modify the listed questions as you see fit.
Determining your measurable goals helps track your progress with your outside vendor. You can focus on reaching your targets according to deadlines. An overview of your progress motivates you to continue moving forward until you achieve your desired outcomes.
Measure your outsourcing goals by addressing the following sample questions.
- How much money will I save from outsourcing specific IT services?
- How much revenue increase will I gain from delegating non-core tasks to a service provider?
- How many operational improvements will I get within a year?
Ensure that you list feasible objectives to achieve success with IT support outsourcing. You can rediscover overlooked opportunities and develop concrete action plans to pull off your outsourcing targets. Below are some usual questions for creating your achievable goals.
- How can I take advantage of outsourcing?
- How can I find the right outsourcing partner?
- How can I monitor a third-party service provider’s performance?
- How can I prioritize growth while working with a third-party vendor?
- How can I enhance my IT products and services?
- How can I generate savings and drive profitability?
Your intentions to outsource desktop support, help desk services, and other IT services must be relevant. Make sure that your outsourcing goals align with your operational needs and strategies. You can answer “yes” to the following questions if you have identified your relevant goals.
- Is outsourcing worth the capital?
- Is this the right time to outsource?
- Does employing a third-party IT team match my business needs?
- Can I work on my company’s primary capabilities while outsourcing IT support?
- Will I experience increased operational efficiency?
You can’t accomplish a whole outsourcing plan without a coherent timeline. You need a deadline to keep your focus on achieving every goal, whether for the short or long term. Time-bound objectives usually address questions such as:
- What can I achieve with my outsourcing partner six months from now?
- When should I outsource data entry, desktop support, or help desk support?
- When can I review the third-party team’s performance to see enterprise improvements?
- When can I analyze provider-collected customer feedback to inform enhancements in offerings?
Remember that your SMART goals will constantly change. Business demands, market trends, technology advancements, global issues, and customer preferences can alter your current company targets. Therefore, you must update your objectives from time to time.
4. List Possible Benefits and Drawbacks
As you continue your plan to outsource desktop support, help desk support, or other IT functions, research the potential advantages and disadvantages of working with a provider. Look them up via the internet, ask experienced outsourcing clients, or request insights from a contractor directly.
Knowing such things allows you to set your expectations and align budget allocations. You can also create practical solutions to avoid issues and conflicts once you start outsourcing.
Benefits of Outsourcing IT Functions
- Cost Reduction. Vendors offer a complete service package to match your operational needs and funds. They already have a well-trained workforce, advanced technology, and secure office space to manage your IT-related tasks efficiently. You can pay for their services through monthly billing or right after work completion.
- Skilled Workforce Engagement. Unlike your in-house team, a third-party workforce undergoes regular training and certification no matter how heavy their workloads are. Contractors must ensure their workers can perform their tasks effectively. This efficiency helps achieve client satisfaction and retention.
- Modern Technology Optimization. Providers use niche technology and infrastructure to accelerate IT support and ease workloads. These platforms also help monitor the latest market trends to improve business strategies and core offerings. Outsourcing allows you to access such solutions without investing extra dollars.
- Productivity Improvement. Anticipate increased productivity when you outsource desktop support and help desk services. Service providers implement actionable strategies and advanced technologies to complete these repetitive tasks fast and accurately. You can thus work more on your primary functions.
- Scalability Enhancement. Outsourcing allows you to scale up your workforce seamlessly during peak season. You can hire temporary skilled workers to help your in-house team clear backlogs amid hectic periods. If you’re outsourcing your whole IT unit, you can provide 24/7 support regardless of cyclical business fluctuations.
- Security Reinforcement. Because massive confidential data is involved, IT services encounter cyber threats and attacks daily. Third-party service providers implement strict measures and sophisticated software tools to strengthen security. Expect to experience more robust protection when you outsource data entry services and other IT functions.
- Growth Prioritization. While a third-party vendor manages your time-consuming IT tasks, you can focus on efforts to drive your continued growth. You can improve your core products and services without worrying about unaddressed customer inquiries.
Drawbacks of Outsourcing IT Functions
- Limited Quality Control. Despite improved operational efficiency and accelerated work, you can’t control how your IT support provider delivers its services. Unmatched work strategies and ethics might result in low service quality. This gap might result in further project delays and dissatisfied customers.
- Overlooked Hidden Costs. You might miss hidden costs when outsourcing desktop support and help desk tasks to a non-U.S. company. Currency rates and conversions fluctuate. Therefore, your finalized outsourcing budget might not correspond to your actual payments.
- Cultural Barriers. Another disadvantage of working with an offshore provider is cultural differences. Conflicts or misunderstandings can happen if you and your provider don’t clarify and align each other’s work culture.
- Security Risks. Although both parties adhere to stringent security policies and procedures, you can’t prevent risks while outsourcing. If you loosen your grip, data breaches, hacks, and privacy violations can happen abruptly.
- Poor Communication. Different time zones can impact how you communicate with your contractor outside of the U.S. If you don’t discuss your collaborative setup beforehand, inconsistent engagement might impact customer service quality.
5. Seek Potential Contractors
Once you have completed the previous steps, launch a proposal request to identify which contractors suit your needs best. As part of the screening process, answer this critical question: what is an outsourced IT provider? Consider the following traits when selecting the right outsourcing partner.
- Strong market reputation
- Clean service history
- High client satisfaction rating
- Skilled Personnel
- Advanced technology and infrastructure
- Security and Compliance
- Operational excellence
- Result orientation
- Competence and innovation
- Scalability and flexibility
- Work ethic and punctuality
In addition to background checking and character assessment, ask for referrals to further validate a provider’s qualifications. You can also conduct a one-on-one evaluation with your potential contractor.
6. Calculate Outsourcing Costs
Statista’s latest data shows that IT outsourcing revenue will register an 8.26% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the next five years, resulting in a $587.3 billion market volume by 2027. These figures demonstrate that businesses find outsourcing a cost-efficient approach to meeting IT support needs.
Hence, take note of financial considerations when you outsource desktop support and other IT services. Conduct a cost analysis before you proceed to sign a contract. This action will ensure you get tangible returns on your outsourcing investment.
Compute your outsourcing expenses by following the five basic steps of cost analysis.
- Specify which IT service you want to outsource
- Calculate in-house costs you can save through outsourcing
- Sum up the money you’ll spend on outsourcing
- Deduct outsourcing costs from in-house expenses
- Pursue your outsourcing investment after identifying potential cost savings
7. Finalize Service Agreement Terms
Reaching this step means that you have undergone provider selection and budget planning. But before signing a contract, ensure that the third-party service provider can meet your operational and financial needs. Follow these tips for finalizing contract terms.
- Schedule a meeting with the service provider
- Discuss work statements, billing details, policies, procedures, and other essential matters
- Align each other’s strategies, rules, and resource allocations
- Assign point persons and program managers
- Identify communication and collaboration platforms
- Set project turnaround timelines, regular training sessions, and meetings
- Sign a formal contract
8. Implement an Outsourcing Management Plan
Develop and implement a management plan after formalizing a service agreement with your provider. This approach ensures that your outsourcing partner performs its work appropriately while you focus on your core functions. Build a long-term relationship with your provider by following these steps.
- Review the agreement terms and policies to address gaps and future conflicts
- Clarify your third-party team’s roles and responsibilities to ensure streamlined workloads
- Familiarize the third–party employees with your products and services through regular training
- Schedule meetings to share insights into work progress, performance quality, and customer feedback
- Conduct frequent security and compliance monitoring to safeguard sensitive data and avoid sanctions
The Bottom Line
Tech modernization brings both positive and negative impacts to your business. Advanced systems help streamline workloads but also cause delays when technical issues arise. Prolonged IT challenges might result in high mitigation expenses, backlogs, and inefficiencies.
Outsourcing simple IT services such as desktop support and help desks allow you to save on costs and prioritize growth. This guide helps you fully take advantage of hiring the best tech support provider, like Inc. 5000 company Unity Communications.