Over the past twelve months, Sparkhound has dug into developing case studies while researching mid-size and enterprise organizations for common IT support challenges. Our findings have been surprisingly similar across markets, but especially comparable within the healthcare, financial and industrial space. Here are our top three market findings backed by the 2016 HDI Technical Support Practices & Salary Report.
1. Knowledge Management
We’ve seen many scenarios in which the company's Service Desk Team inadvertently relies on "Tribal Knowledge" to handle tickets with quirky little resolutions. Often only one or two resources in the IT Department have the knowledge and skill to resolve these issues in a timely manner. That is, when the technician is not either:
- Elbows deep in a network upgrade
- Planning a new application deployment for next quarter
- Leaving because of a $10k+ bump in salary across town
Sound familiar? We found a lack of documented solutions and company specific troubleshooting steps can impact and entire business day. According to the HDI study, 31% of organizations plan to make changes or introduce net new Knowledge Management Systems in 2017, making this the number one technology organizations are focusing to update. Coming in a close second are Asset Management Systems and Application License Management.
IT knowledge management and a clear IT support structure takes some time in the front end, but pays off for years beyond the initial effort. If considering an IT service provider, ask about their on-boarding and knowledge management process.
Insight #1: Companies are leveraging service provider's documentation gathering during the onboarding phase of a Service Desk support agreement for the foundation for their Knowledge Management system.
Bonus Tip: Ask Managed IT providers about bundling application license management like for Office365. This could save big on licensing and management. It’s an aggressive market for savings right now.
2. Co-Managed Services
A retro offering coming back in vogue: have you looked into co-managed services lately? It’s not same old the "staff augmentation" or "block hours" agreements of the 90's and 2000's. This solution doesn’t have to outsource all (or even some) of your IT staff. Remote 24x7 service desk support that can flex to after-hours can save BIG on FTE overtime and help focus talented, high salaried engineers on business initiatives.
This can often be accomplished at the same cost of an entry-level admin. With the median cost per ticket at $18.50/per ticket and 1/3 of tickets coming from the email channel, someone needs to keep an eye on the ITSM system to work those email tickets.
Insight #2: Think of a team of ITIL trained agents with technical chops 24x7 at the cost of an entry level admin assistant who don't call in sick or ask for benefits. This is why there's an increased interest in co-managed service lately. HDI reports that 23% of organizations are outsourcing IT support to some degree.
3. Expanded Support Scope
The 2016 HDI research states that the second largest factor influencing the decision to outsource IT support is the "Expanded Scope of Support" at 23%. (The number one factor influencing outsourcing is Cost at 41%) We’ve found organizations are challenged with recruiting, hiring and managing technicians with the skills required to support their enterprise applications, especially SharePoint and SQL.
Our industry experience has shown that while organizations are becoming more open to hiring remote full-time application specialists out of market and allowing them to telecommute, it's often more difficult to manage leading to more turnover and costs. HDI research found that the "average tenure of a Level 1, Level 2 or Team Lead resource is 2-3 years." How much is your training time worth?
Insight #3: If considering a Managed IT partner, ask about the depth and breadth of their skillset rather than the traditional Tier 1 and Tier 2 Service Desk support. And in regards to average tenure of a technical resource, inquire about multiyear agreements. This often saves on budgetary planning, hiring costs and potentially purchase costs.