The primary motivators behind technical support outsourcing are economics, innovation and quality. Companies look to outsourcing to resolve issues in these areas, but should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of this business model.
Over the past two decades, many companies have realized the significant advantages to technical support outsourcing
Outsourcing firms have skilled labor forces, where local wages are often significantly less than
those of the customer location, and a less stringent regulatory environment results in a lower labor burden.
Many can offer highly skilled specialists who would not be fully utilized at one client and difficult to recruit and retain. The best computer and network support personnel are hard to find, easy to lose and expensive. This access to necessary skills can provide competitive advantage to smaller firms.
The vendor can achieve savings to pass on by maximizing resource utilization. A larger workforce and deeper skills pool can be mobilized to meet surges in demand from the business. During slower times, those resources are not a continuing expense, as the outsourcer assigns them across accounts. Technical support outsourcing also reduces the risk associated with extended leave or resignation of key employees.
Good technical support outsourcing companies can spin up a new project quickly, using resources already available on hand – a startup operation could otherwise spend months hiring and training new employees.
For some service operations, the outsourcer can offer improved customer service after a training period. This provides the customer with much more flexibility in accepting and serving new business.
Management of the IT resources – hiring, scheduling and training – is conducted by the vendor. Many decisions on new software and hardware technology are handed off to the outsourcer. The contract defines the services and service levels required, and allow the vendor to determine the optimal way to deliver those services. Managers of the original company are freed up to focus on their core business activities.
Companies can reduce costs by outsourcing hardware and network infrastructure to a lower cost provider, moving capital outlays to expenses. Less office space is required, including utility and communications costs. This is particularly advantageous for newer businesses. Capital budgets can be redirected to revenue producing ventures.
There are also drawbacks to outsourcing, many of which can be avoided by carefully selecting your provider and following up with well-written contracts and Service Level Agreements (SLA’s).
Outsourcing can impact flexibility. Particularly in the early stages of outsourcing, there may be a mismatch in the services provided and in-house priorities, with results lower than anticipated. If you want specific response times on Help Desk calls and server downtimes, that must be documented. Higher service levels driveadded costs,but negotiations can find the right balance for each business.
Language issues with technicians should be addressed before the contract is signed. Many offshore outsourcing firms offer very highly-skilled employees with varying language skills at an attractive price, but only the customer can decide if communications will be an issue in their execution of the tasks to which they are assigned.
Technical support outsourcing presents less control in projects. The customer project manager usually interfaces with his or her counterpart at the outsourcer, but has limited input to resource assignment, prioritization and remediation efforts in case of delay or overruns.
Confidential data, intellectual property and protected information on employees are vulnerable to loss, fraud or theft. This is rare with long-established companies, but any safeguards available should be built into the contract. It is critical that you demand the best security from your provider, including ongoing audits.
For this reason, more and more companies are deciding to seek these advantages with a qualified technical support outsourcing provider – either completely, or in phases. These companies have a deep skills pool to support everyday operations and make strategic decisions for their clients, according to their taste for growth, risk and costs.
At Be Different Solutions
, our employees and staff are based in one of our two offices in the United States or Europe and are highly qualified and motivated. You can depend on fast delivery of quality technical support outsourcing responses. Contact us today
to get started.
Lowe, Keith, 2002. The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing. Outsourcing. Entrepreneur.
Cotriss, David. 2009. The Pros and Cons Of Outsourcing. Small Business Trends.