When many businesses start out, they tend to manage their IT helpdesks internally since the volume and complexity of service requests are low.
However, as the business grows and employee service requests increase, providing timely and effective support becomes more difficult. Often, the resources required to provide adequate IT helpdesk support become a drag on the company’s overall growth.
One way that many companies deal with this problem is to outsource their IT helpdesk to a managed service provider that has the resources and expertise to deal with large volumes of service requests.
In this article, we’ll outline how an outsourced IT helpdesk works, its benefits, and how to choose an outsourced IT helpdesk provider.
What is an IT helpdesk?
An IT helpdesk is a centralized resource within an organization that assists and supports users experiencing technical issues with their computer systems, software applications, hardware devices, and other IT-related problems.
The main purpose of an IT helpdesk is to troubleshoot and resolve these issues to ensure that employees or customers can get on with using the technology without disruptions so they can keep working or making use of the services your company provides.
The exact scope of an IT helpdesk’s functions varies according to the organization’s needs, size and capacities, but here are some roles an IT helpdesk can play.
Helpdesk personnel are responsible for diagnosing and resolving technical problems faced by users. This can involve troubleshooting software glitches, network connectivity issues, and hardware malfunctions, among many other issues.
Helpdesk staff assist users who require help with using software applications, setting up hardware, configuring settings, and performing routine tasks.
Many helpdesks use ticketing systems to track and manage user requests. Each technical issue reported is assigned a unique ticket, which allows for efficient tracking, prioritization, and resolution.
Helpdesk personnel maintain records of common issues and their resolutions, creating a knowledge base that can be referred to in the future.
Some IT helpdesks train employees so they better understand the technology and can be more autonomous in their use of it.
Often, an issue cannot be resolved through an IT helpdesk, so the support staff will escalate it for a more experienced team.
How are outsourced IT helpdesks structured?
An outsourced IT helpdesk is well suited to companies with limited IT resources who find their growth is being hampered by persistent IT issues that are not quickly resolved.
Outsourcing an IT helpdesk allows these companies to drastically increase their support capacity and access the latest support tools without investing serious sums of money.
But how does this service work in practice?
The specific setup will depend on the provider and the company requesting the service. Some helpdesk providers transfer service requests to agents worldwide who can remotely troubleshoot the issue.
Others, such as Vertikal6, have dedicated IT support staff in the United States assigned to ensure continuous support all day, every day. A key advantage of having outsourced IT support staff close to your organization’s operations is that they can assist in person if required.
Some outsourced IT helpdesk providers offer direct support to the client’s customers, while others, Vertikal6 included, focus solely on assisting the organization’s staff with their IT-related issues.
The goals and needs of the company seeking outsourced IT helpdesk services also play a big role in how an outsourced IT helpdesk is structured. Some businesses may only want to outsource part of their IT helpdesk if, for instance, they are undertaking a significant revamp of their IT infrastructure and could do with the extra support.
Others may want a comprehensive outsourced IT helpdesk so that staff can fully focus on driving the core revenue-generating activities of the business.
What are the key benefits of outsourcing IT helpdesk services?
Entrusting all or part of your IT helpdesk to an external party is a big decision as it entails giving up direct control over a crucial part of your company’s operations.
The potential benefits of doing so, however, lead many businesses to take the plunge. Here are some of the main benefits of outsourcing your IT helpdesk services.
Access to premium support resources
As a company grows, the demands of efficiently running an IT helpdesk can quickly spiral out of control. If your organization is not in a position to seriously invest in staff training and premium support tools, you can easily find that unresolved IT issues are hampering your business’s core revenue-generating activities.
An outsourced IT helpdesk means your organization has access to expertise and premium support tools without investing heavily in staff training, wages, and software.
With an outsourced IT helpdesk, you only pay for what you need. An in-house IT helpdesk may have little to do for long periods while still drawing their salary. At the same time, unexpected spikes in support requests may lead you to temporarily hire more staff to plug the gaps.
An outsourced IT helpdesk provider has the flexibility to use its additional resources when required at no extra cost beyond the agreed monthly fee.
Faster response times
Having additional resources and staff in reserve means an outsourced IT helpdesk provider can consistently offer faster response times to support requests. An in-house IT team may be quickly inundated with requests and have to put these in a queue. This could mean your staff is unable to get on with their job while they wait for a response.
Round-the-clock reliable support
Outsourced IT helpdesk providers often offer 24/7 support 365 days a year. This means your staff is not constrained by the working hours of an in-house IT team.
Many companies worry about how reliable this support can be. However, expectations for quality and consistency concerning required response times, for instance, can be easily set out in a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which the outsourced IT helpdesk provider must follow.
Reputed outsourced IT helpdesk providers should also take the initiative to ensure your organization’s helpdesk is prepared for future changes in how the service functions. This means taking care of software updates, introducing new features and tools, and providing regular agent training.
Flexible service packages
How much of your helpdesk operations are outsourced and how much remains under the control of an in-house team is completely up to you.
It may make sense, for instance, to outsource routine service requests that take up the majority of your in-house team’s time, thus allowing them to focus on more complex issues.
Data-driven performance insights
Another advantage to using an outsourced IT helpdesk is that many such providers use advanced tools to monitor the performance of the helpdesk. They can then analyze the data to gain new insights that may improve the quality of the service on offer.
How to choose an outsourced IT helpdesk provider
IT helpdesks are crucial for quickly and efficiently troubleshooting technical issues so your business can continue its main operations. Without a helpdesk on top of things, backlogs quickly build up and can be hard to clear.
If this is a familiar-sounding problem for your organization and you don’t want to invest heavily in expanding your in-house IT helpdesk support, then seeking the services of an outsourced IT helpdesk provider makes a great deal of sense.
Knowing exactly what you’re looking for isn’t easy though. To get started, contact one of the advisors at Vertikal6 and we can schedule a free strategy session to figure out what you want and how we can help you achieve it.