The corporate world’s view of technology has radically changed in the last few years. The advent of the Digital Revolution, an era that began in the 80s and is ongoing, has changed the landscape of the corporate world forever. Computer technology is now at the forefront of every aspect of business operation. The IT department, which had its humble beginnings as a number of corporate computer enthusiasts and once only composed of a small number of tech workers, has expanded to large multinational teams to cover all aspects of business. This has given rise to one of the current important roles of tech support in business – monitoring and maintaining the computer systems and networks within the organization.
Unsung heroes of the technology department
There was a time not so long ago that every time an employee would see the appearance of the blue screen of death they would reach for their phone and call the internal “IT guy” who would then work their way over from their offices to install the necessary fixes to get the computer back up and running again. Lately, the internal tech support staff has been disappearing. The nature of the work of tech support has radically shifted. Tech support no longer needs to be on-site as problem-solving has shifted from client-server to virtual platforms Tech support teams are now scattered all over the globe. Virtualization allows computer repairs to be done with a single reboot of the computer. Tech support no longer waits for a phone call to initiate repair service, many times noticing the issue before the users do and rectifying it remotely, the industry has shifted from a reactive model to a proactive one this means less downtime and higher productivity for everyone. Tech support has taken a whole different mindset. It is now almost unnecessary to maintain an internal tech support staff in a business organization, when the vast majority of fixes are done remotely.
Setting plans in motion
There is a global war for talent. It has become very difficult to recruit tech support staff because of the more attractive and glamorous positions in the other IT functions & Companies. Outsourcing and offshoring firms have become a global phenomenon giving small to medium sizes business access to talent that they do not have the resources to procure domestically in their own countries. The large global outsourcing / offshoring companies have the necessary resources to secure data and systems, something that smaller companies until this point could not afford. Offshoring is the new normal in the new hyper competitive corporate landscape.
Hidden costs and benefits of offshoring tech support
Offshoring tech support may involve some unexpected expenses. A company that is not equipped with in-house tech support may need to engage a third-party solutions provider to integrate the IT system as specified by the offshore tech support provider. The offshore tech team may also require additional software for specific roles. Technical support is essential in ensuring the continuity of operations and ensuring cyber security and data protection. Many companies may need to invest in an expensive IT infrastructure and hire the necessary personnel to perform 24-hour support. It may also be necessary to include data center operations, disaster recovery, network operations, software development, e-commerce, and software application services, and desktop and desk help support. A business focusing on the tech needs to gain a competitive advantage may have to sacrifice other important aspects of operations, as the tech sector will involve a lot of money and manpower. Technology continues to innovate and affect the market, which requires businesses to keep up with these trends and changes in they want to gain a competitive advantage. Offshoring these specialized services have been an easy solution for many companies.
The hidden costs of tech support include:
- Hardware and infrastructure to isolate and simulate possible user problems;
- On-site spares which used as needed;
- Software costs to simulate and troubleshoot software related issues including software/hardware incompatibility;
- Spare computers for temporary replacement of units while these undergo testing, diagnosis and repair;
- Support staff training, and subsequent trickle down training to other departments.
- Cost of doing business while HR searches for a likely candidate. Companies have a harder time finding new personnel for IT related roles. This causes delays in hiring for priority positions.
On the other hand, the benefits of offshoring technical support include:
- Candidate search is done by the offshore partner firm;
- More candidates to choose from, with a wider range of skill sets;
- Faster hiring and staff replacement process;
- Faster deployment of additional personnel when these are needed;
- Lower office infrastructure costs.
Offshoring tech support to countries such as India, Russia, China, and the Philippines allows companies to save money, as they spend only a fraction of the amount they would have spent maintaining an internal tech support staff. The internal tech staff will have access to industry specialists and experts that will handle and manage the company’s internal support functions, including other tech tasks. The company will gain access to state-of-the-art technology that will improve their productivity, and allow them faster response time, and continuous service. Downtimes, which cost a business lot of money, is minimized.