When it comes to the question of either employing your own in-house IT personnel or employing an outsourced IT support provider there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides to take into account.
Having your own, dedicated IT helpdesk is undoubtedly appealing from the perspective of employing an exclusive team that will know your systems intimately and who won’t be distracted by any external IT demands. Typically they’ll be on-site but failing that, should you have more than one site, should be readily available to pick up on issues quickly. They’ll also be directly answerable to the management team of your company.
Of course you’ll have to pay a regular salary. The amount of which will be directly related to both your location and the level of expertise and experience that’s deemed necessary to support your requirements. Because technology is forever on the move you’ll also need to budget for time off, training and examinations to ensure your team stay updated and current.
Like all employees, your support team members will be allocated a number of holidays each year and as with most human beings, may be susceptible to the odd illness or personal emergency from time to time; which will take them unexpectedly out of play. To protect yourself from this, you’ll need to build in contingency cover.
Probably one of the most overlooked aspects of internal teams is the matter of the relationship between the IT department and the employees they support. An inherent aspect of IT is that, as with anything electro mechanical, there are times when it doesn’t work as well as it should. Or worse still it doesn’t work at all.
Clearly therein lies the role of the IT support team. Such times however often trigger higher levels of emotion, especially where deadlines are in play, leading in some cases to internal friction.
A user whose laptop has stopped is effectively stranded unless they have recourse to other means of access to the company network. And just because they have stopped, it doesn’t mean their customers, colleagues and managers have. The internal support team on the other hand, is not in place primarily to deal specifically with one hapless individual. They too have a list of daily demands, some of them critical to the overall health of the IT infrastructure. So it is important to ensure that the spread of duties across an internal IT support team is well managed and that individuals within that team are not over stretched. A typical sign of overstretching manifests itself in the prevalence of an entrenched, sometimes evasive attitude from the IT team and a growing murmur of discontent ringing around the office corridors.
Unpopular company wide decisions can also chop down on the heads of the IT support team despite the fact that they may not have personally supported the decision in the first place. An example may be a policy to deny a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, resulting in employees having to work with devices they don’t like or don’t prefer. Another example being when IT support teams categorically exclude aesthetically appealing Apple products to allow them to focus and streamline their efforts on their singularly PC environment.
In short the internal team should be constantly monitored not only for what they do but against satisfaction based KPIs. It’s also useful to disseminate their performance levels across end users so that there is a company wide awareness of the good work that they are doing.
The biggest challenge for an internal support team however is the spread of expertise and experience that they cannot offer. Even the most experienced IT engineers will lack expertise in one area or another. It can also be the case that in-house engineers with limited degrees of knowledge will be utilised, as they are already and overhead, for a project where in fact a higher degree of expertise would be the better and safer option. If no back up plan is in place that lists tried and tested contractors, a major issue outside the capabilities of the internal team could well slide in to a fingers crossed, scramble to find someone as quickly as possible for the job.
There is no doubt that an outsourced support team will take a little longer to build up a good knowledge of your systems. The better companies will conduct an audit to determine exactly what it is that your IT infrastructure is made up of. They should also put in place an active knowledgebase that shows where everything sits and, they should collect going forward, stats on the performance of all your devices together with a history of the issues experienced by your users. This done the support team should be on-boarded (made familiar) with your particular set up so that an incoming support request results in a fast and effective response.
Over time human interaction will naturally tend towards support callers asking for specific helpdesk engineers. But a customer account is managed by the outsourced helpdesk manager to promote the ability of all members of the team in responding to a customer’s call. If one engineer is offline, on holiday or ill then another engineer steps in.
All outsourced IT support companies run a ticketing system that is triggered by customers calling or emailing in for support. In some cases access is also provided via a support desk portal. When a call comes in, the first step is to determine the issue and then issue a ticket to the customer and the appropriate resource. The helpdesk manager can allocate an engineer with the relevant experience and expertise to fit the problem in hand. If that expertise is not covered within his or her team, they will access an established and very well-tested list of specialists who are familiar with the outsourced team, its members and practices. It’s worth noting that engineers who have outsourced experience are exposed to a far greater and wider spread of IT issues, by the very fact that they deal with a wider spectrum of companies.
Logistically, outsourced IT support is more cost effective than in-house support. Primarily because the outsourced operation can engage economies of scale available only to very large organisations. The costs of expensive technologies and engineers can be spread across the outsourced company’s customer base. Effectively providing full-blown, high end, corporate IT Support resource to small and medium sized enterprises.
In just about all cases, the yearly cost of one single, in-house IT employee will exceed the overall cost of a full team of outsourced support. Additionally project resource can be ramped up within the time span of a single phone call, as and when required, without the need to embark on a contractor recruiting exercise.
An outsourced IT provider will submit regular management level reports to its customer’s senior management on a monthly basis. These will include high and low level detail of the work that has been carried out and the timescales within which issues were resolved. Additionally the reports will give an overview of how their customer’s overall IT infrastructure is performing together with areas and issues marked for attention and future action. The provider will also be in a position to provide IT guidance and steering as and when required.
If you run a business in Horsham and need reliable IT solutions, Blue Mouse IT is where you need to be. With an experienced and qualified team of engineers and IT professionals, we are able to provide top of the line IT support for businesses in and around Horsham.
We understand how technology has a growing role to play in the business sector and we know what impact an efficient IT support team can make in driving up your productivity and helping you to outpace the competition. Hence, we provide reliable IT managed services backed up with an extensive portfolio of professional IT services across Sussex. These include Microsoft cloud services, Wi-Fi for business, hosted exchange and offsite disaster recovery solutions to name but a few.
Whether you run an established enterprise or are managing a start-up, we can work as your partners by providing effective IT support, professional solutions and proactive IT consultancy in Horsham and across Sussex. Our dedicated team will work to bring you the most out of your IT to best facilitate your business objectives.
Blue Mouse IT has an IT Helpdesk in Sussex that operates from 7am to 7pm. We offers 24/7 IT support in Horsham to local businesses making sure that they never find themselves with nowhere to turn in the event of an IT crisis.