Why Outsource Your IT Support
You have probably heard the story about how 50 years after Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb, to honor him for this monumental achievement, people all over the country turned their lights off for one minute, to turn them back on at the exact second, 50 years later, when his discovery was realized. (Yes, we know. Edison didn’t “invent” the first lightbulb, he created the first practical, usable lightbulb. Hey, we watch “The Big Bang Theory!”) The creation of today’s technology is an event, or series of events, on the same order of magnitude. Think about this:
- Take away your computer.
- Take away email.
- Take away accounting software.
- Take away payroll software.
- Take away streaming videos.
- Take away cellphones.
- Take away collaboration software.
- Take away Wifi.
- Take away copiers and printers.
- Take away creative applications.
This list could go on for pages and send us just short of quill and inkwell, but you get the point. Why are we mentioning all this? Because for your employees to effectively and efficiently use all these modern-day tools, you need a qualified and well-trained IT support team to answer questions, install updates and fixes, correct errors, etc., etc., etc. In the “old days”, a single reasonably well-trained, self-trained staffer whose actual job could be anything from accountant to salesperson, could jump in and help his colleagues when problems arose. Not so much anymore. There is just too much technology out there.
Today’s small to mid-sized businesses are faced with three choices:
- Hiring an in-house “team”, which may only be a single person. Technical employees are expensive and only effective when that person is in the office. After hours? Weekends? Vacation? Sick time?
- Calling in outside help when it’s needed. Great if someone is available; not so great when they’re not. And they may not be familiar with all your equipment and applications. This can also be expensive.
- Outsourcing your help desk needs to a qualified, experienced, managed IT support company.
The good news is that today it is possible to have the services of a highly qualified technical help desk team provided through a managed IT support company that is actually less costly than maintaining your own team, even if your own team is only one person. This is not to say that there are no advantages to maintaining your own team. There are and we will look at that, as well, so you can then make an educated decision.
Advantages of Outsourcing IT Support
First, let’s get one thing off the table: outsourcing IT support does not necessarily mean time “overseas,” although that can provide some distinct advantages if used correctly. Here at DynaSis, our daytime help desk team is USA based. They are available from 7 AM to 7 PM EST to answer questions, work routing tickets, install urgent fixes, and generally guide our clients’ employees through the maze of technology. The overnight team is offshore (they are our full-time employees) so when they are working during our night time, it is their daytime. This accomplishes several things: people who work daytime shifts are generally more alert and productive than those who work overnight, and it keeps our costs in line which we pass on to our clients. You also get the following added benefits.
Savings: One of the major advantages of outsourcing your IT support is the money you will save, even when your daytime outsource help desk people are USA based. IT people are expensive and if you hire your own in-house person/people there will be times, many times, when you will be paying your techs when they will be sitting around with nothing to do. The outsourced IT help desk professional is effectively a shared employee. When he is not helping you, he is helping someone else, or working on resolving other issues.
Availability: As we said above, your in-house person will likely work 9:00 – 5:00, or some variation of that. They may be reachable after hours, maybe not. And since an out-sourced team will have a number of technicians on duty at any time, the likelihood of immediate responses is much greater. This improves your own staff’s productivity and especially improves their ability to serve your customers well.
Expertise: Today’s technology is so varied and diverse, so complex and so constantly changing that it is literally impossible for a single person to be fully up-to-date on the equipment and software applications in use even in a relatively small company. An outsourced technical help desk that is run by a well-managed IT support provider will have people trained in different skill sets and each help desk tech can escalate issues so they draw upon all the layers of management to help in difficult situations. If a call to an application provider becomes necessary, they have the “juice” to get to the right people right away and resolve your troubles quickly.
Advantages of In-House IT Support
Familiarity: By working with your people on a day-to-day basis, your in-house help desk tech builds an understanding of your specific business needs. This can be especially important if you have developed your own software or are using vendor provided applications that are out of the mainstream, although some third party help desk providers are willing to have their personnel trained in the applications a specific client may need.
Diversified Job Responsibilities: If you have one or more employees who have free time and are technically proficient, you may be able to train them to handle some of these responsibilities, but the wrong people can cause more problems than they fix. This generally only works in very small businesses with limited technology needs.
A Different Option: In-House & OutSourced Together (“Co-Sourced” or “Co-Managed” IT)
As companies that already have an on-staff IT support person grow, they are eventually faced with the necessity of hiring their second tech. Here is a better solution. Keep your IT person on staff to do more important tasks such as technology planning for the future, and even repairing, updating and replacing equipment during normal business hours. Instead of hiring that next person, outsource help desk functions to a company that can support your team 24/7/365. In today’s world, people work from home on evenings and weekends. They travel and work from hotels, airports and clients’ offices in different time zones. They need the support that is difficult for a small in-house team to provide. (Read our white paper on Co-managed IT.) An outsourced help desk provider is much better equipped to handle an off-hours call than your in-house team.
What to Expect When You Outsource Help Desk Responsibilities
- 24/7/365 live phone calls professionally answered by trained technicians.
- When necessary, issues will be escalated to people with the expertise to resolve them.
- Expect messages to be relayed accurately and promptly.
- If your service includes field support (your choice), technicians should be dispatched promptly and arrive when promised.
- Tickets can be created online or by calling the help desk (caller’s choice).
- Receive e-mail updates as issues are addressed
- Access an online portal to review tickets
- Executive reporting
- Ability to readily contact help desk management
Let’s take a deeper dive on some specifics:
Routing IT Support Tickets
This may not seem important but can become critical if not handled correctly. Most important is that the IT support ticket accurately explains the issue. Garbage in, garbage out. If the right person doesn’t get the ticket, the problem doesn’t get solved. At DynaSis, for example, we provide two ways of creating tickets: by phone or through our online portal. Most importantly, regardless of how the ticket was created, it is reviewed by a technician who routes it properly. If there is a question about the ticket, the person who created the ticket is contacted by phone or email for clarification. If the ticket is routed to the wrong department (rarely happens), it is rerouted to the correct resource rather than remaining in the wrong inbox. Nothing sits. If escalation is necessary, it is done so quickly.
You should expect that your outsourced IT help desk team is benefitting from ongoing training, whether it be from its own executive team, off-site or online certification classes, or vendor training. One of the problems we see with in-house teams is a lack of ongoing education. People come in with a certain amount of knowledge and it pretty much stays where it is. Employers are reluctant to spend the money to send their people out for additional training, plus they want these people on the job in case problems arise. Murphy’s Law always seems to take over: when the technician is away, problems pop out of nowhere.
If you are not aware of the security issues facing passwords these days, you’re not reading enough technology articles and news releases. Without getting deep into the weeds, rule one is that employees should never be allowed to completely control their own passwords. Your help desk people must know how to quickly and effectively assist people in changing passwords so your network remains secure, and downtime for employees and help desk personnel alike is minimized.
Although this was touched on earlier, it deserves further explanation. Employee downtime is bad on many levels including employee frustration. This frustration is compounded when the employee doesn’t know if the fix is hours away or just minutes from being completed. Well-trained help desk techs will understand this and keep the person who logged the request up-to-date with e-mails and/or phone calls. Our experience tells us that a simple short phone call to a frustrated employee, explaining that an issue has been found and it has been escalated to a technician with a necessary skill goes a long way to creating goodwill, whereas no call creates bad feelings.
Reality Check: Our experience shows us that there are some technicians out there who look down on those who are less technologically adept than they are. This is most unfortunate and most unwarranted because it hinders the process. Employees are intimidated into not asking for the help they need. If you hire a person like this to be your in-house help desk, you likely won’t know this for a while and your choices are not great: fire, hire and retrain; bear with it; try to improve the help desk technician’s view of mere mortals.
Here at DynaSis, we have been providing IT support in Atlanta for small to mid-sized businesses of every type for more than 25 years. We work with attorneys and medical practices, contractors and manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. You name the industry and we probably have the experience and expertise. Our technicians are highly trained in most of the applications businesses use today and we are constantly providing additional IT education.
We also provide a full-range of IT services, from monitoring, managing and maintaining onsite and off-site (cloud) IT networks to full field support and advanced cybersecurity. Because of the breadth of our expertise, we have the ability to review and evaluate new technologies as they come to market, cut through the marketing hype, and suggest the best solutions for our clients. If you would like to discuss your help desk needs, or any other IT support concerns, please give us a call today at 678.373.0716.