IT tech support can be an invaluable resource for people who need help with technical issues—such as troubleshooting bugs in their favorite software, running security checks to find vulnerabilities, or setting up a new piece of hardware or software. This is especially true for employees in a company who may not all be as tech-savvy as an IT support analyst or technician who understands a given system inside out.
Many of the people who use technology on a daily basis have no real understanding of how that technology works. So, when something breaks or simply stops working like they expect it to, they have no idea what to do about it. In personal life, this is an inconvenience. In a business setting, it can bring productivity to a grinding halt.
With the shift towards a remote work environment, businesses of all sizes and industries have become more reliant on IT solutions than ever before. Thus, their employees need more IT support than before.
How can companies provide remote IT support on a budget? What do companies need from their IT support and services? Here’s a quick guide to IT technical support in a post-pandemic world to help you answer these questions.
How to Provide IT Support in a Remote Work World
One of the biggest challenges of providing IT support in a post-COVID remote work world is simply finding and recruiting qualified support staff in the first place. Although COVID has harshly affected the employment rate—catapulting it from a low of 3.5% in February 2020 to 14.7% in April of 2020 according to data cited by the Harvard Business Review—this rise in unemployment hasn’t been consistent across all industries.
Some industries have been harder hit than others, while some have been able to “bounce back” quickly with minimal effort, and others have even made significant gains during the outbreak. Many of these companies need IT tech support staff—and the more specialized the skills the company’s IT support analysts/engineers need, the harder (and costlier) it will be to retain them.
Building an internal, 24/7 IT support team requires the following:
- IT Systems Analysts. Having specialists who can review the organization’s overall information processing needs and help plan or build its IT infrastructure can be crucial for effective IT management and ongoing support.
- Computer Systems Engineers. Engineers help build or created computer/data networks for organizations and develop their layout for these systems. They can prove critical for ensuring system stability (and minimizing support calls).
- Support Specialists. These are the people who “man the phones” to answer the everyday questions that people have or to troubleshoot common issues. While not usually as heavily trained and educated as an IT support analyst or computer system engineer, these support specialists will need to be trained enough to provide quick answers to a variety of potential questions.
- Ongoing IT Training. IT is always changing as new systems and solutions are introduced. IT support staff need to be kept up to date with the latest changes if they’re going to provide effective ongoing IT infrastructure support to the organization as the infrastructure changes.
- Competitive Benefits Packages. Providing top-notch IT support 24/7 means having the right people on the IT support payroll. This means assembling competitive benefits packages for IT support staff so the organization can attract (and retain) the best IT people.
- Communication Tools. How will IT desktop support technicians interact with people in the organization when everyone is working remotely? Having reliable communication tools is a must for effective “round the clock” remote IT support and services. This means more than just having a call center—it can also help to have remote desktop tools that allow IT staff to monitor employee computers and other IT assets so they can more efficiently diagnose problems. Communication apps, like Slack or Microsoft Teams, can also help support staff communicate more effectively.
Building all of the above internally can be an expensive proposition. For example, according to data from job website Monster, a computer support specialist averages $42k/year in salary, a computer systems engineer average $104k/year, and a systems analyst averages $84k/year. Considering that most organizations will need to have multiple support staff for each role, and simply building the team becomes an enormous capital outlay.
Add to this the ongoing cost of training and (potentially) creating and maintaining an IT support services center, and a company could easily spend in excess of $1 million on even a basic support services infrastructure.
How Top Companies Provide IT Support to Their Employees
Considering how expensive building an internal IT support and services team can be, how do the top companies provide IT support to their employees? While some of the largest businesses do create their own internal teams, many more companies rely on remote managed service providers (MSPs) to manage their IT tech support.
Benefits of Using Remote Managed Service Providers for IT Support
There are several key benefits to leveraging an external IT support service vs handling tech support internally, such as:
- Avoiding the Cost of Building an IT Team. The most obvious benefit of using an outsourced team of IT support specialists is that it helps companies provide support for a lower overall cost. Instead of having to lay out hundreds of thousands of dollars for recruitment, payroll, and other costs, the organization can leave the IT service provider to manage those costs in exchange for a predictable monthly fee.
- Getting Instant Access to IT Support. It takes time to find a reliable team of IT support personnel. From recruiting quality candidates, to training them for the job and the rest of the onboarding process, it can take weeks, even months, to build a functional team. Using an MSP shrinks this lead time down to almost nothing. Instead of a long recruitment drive, organizations can simply tap the MSP’s existing talent pool. The MSP simply needs to run an audit of their client’s IT infrastructure before they can start providing comprehensive support.
- Leveraging IT Advisory Support. End users aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the know-how and advice of an experienced managed service provider. IT advisory support services from an MSP can help companies identify critical issues with their existing IT infrastructure—then make suggestions for improving IT to make enterprise applications faster and more reliable while reducing IT costs.
- Using Knowledge Gained from Other Customers. The MSP’s experience working with other companies can provide them insights that may benefit other customers. For example, if the MSP has run into a particular bug from interfacing two specific pieces of software for one company, they can use that experience to provide a fix if another client has a similar issue.
Your Managed Service Provider Has to Do It ALL
Before typing “IT support near me” into a search engine, it’s important to know what to look for in an IT tech support service. To maximize the benefits of an outsourced IT support partner, they have to do more than just provide an IT desktop support technician. The outsourced support partner needs to have a hand in other aspects of IT as well.
Why should the MSP “do it all” instead of just focusing on tech support?
Part of providing top-quality IT support is having in-depth knowledge of the software and hardware systems being used. Knowing the quirks of the organization’s IT assets can be key for providing effective help to end users—this is much easier when the organization providing the support is also in charge of managing the company’s IT infrastructure.
Additionally, when an MSP is providing systems monitoring support, that makes it easier for their IT support technicians to keep track of operations on the client’s computers, printers, and other networked devices. This, in turn, simplifies troubleshooting for common IT issues.
Another important service that MSPs providing IT support should provide is asset lifecycle management. Having a consistent inventory of compatible hardware and software—and removing obsolescent equipment that isn’t compatible with a modern IT infrastructure—helps to keep the user experience for everyone in the organization simple and consistent.
In short, the more an IT support service provider can do for other aspects of IT, the greater the benefit.
Systems X IT Support
Systems X IT support services go beyond simply providing service desk and technical support. Our Detroit IT management team provides proactive, value-added services for companies of all sizes and industries. From Cybersecurity to asset lifecycle management, process control/automation, IT strategy services, CIO support, and IT governance, Systems X provides support for your IT needs!
Reach out to the Systems X team today to get started!