Few people can be have failed to notice how mobile technology has rapidly changed the way we communicate, entertain ourselves and work. Smartphones are everywhere, and this is having a profound impact on business. Consumers are more likely to try and find products and services using a smartphone. The habits and behaviours of business buyers are also changing. Staff, too, expect flexible working options and the tools to collaborate and work from wherever they are. All of this places more demand for IT support within companies, for both employees and customers.
Changing Role Of IT Support
Over the last twenty, and certainly the most recent ten years, in-house IT teams have seen the amount of work and technology they need to look after go through a radical expansion. From complex customised software, to security and the risks associated with staff using email and apps on personal phones, to websites, connectivity and basic support requests.
IT teams are struggling to keep pace with constant change. Even with software to support service desks and automated systems, it can be difficult for businesses to see how they're getting value for money. When IT is constantly fixing short-term problems, this makes that function a cost centre.
When IT is a core operational area, organisations need to generate long-term value from that team. Often this proves difficult to achieve in-house. Getting any traction on transformational projects isn’t easy when a team is fire fighting urgent issues. Therefore, it is worth considering alternative solutions.
Onsite, Outsourced or Hybrid?
When trying to assess exactly what kind of IT support you need, step back for a moment and consider long-term goals. Where do you want to take the business over the next 3 to 5 years? How can technology help you achieve that?
Next, look at the systems you are currently using. Where are the gaps? Where is more help needed? How can improvements make staff more efficient or enhance the customer journey? It might be useful to bring on-board an IT consultant at this point. Let them make sense of the roadmap and evaluate next steps.
As part of that, it makes sense to weigh the benefits of in-house vs. outsourced IT support or taking a hybrid approach. A fourth way is to embed outsource staff within a company, giving you the best of both worlds; effectively hybrid with the external team on-site. One team or set of teams can focus on 1st Line IT support, another on 2nd or 3rd, and a core team can implement long-term strategic solutions.
Which approach you take depends on a range of factors: long and short-term aims, the team you already have, gaps you need to fill, budget and owner or board-level support for a digital transformation. A hybrid approach means you can maintain responsive support whilst focusing on projects that will give you a set of systems that can improve productivity, save money and meet the needs of customers and staff that are using technology more than ever.
How To Find Onsite IT Support
There are lots of factors that need to be explored when engaging an IT provider that can offer a hybrid or onsite solution. Many of these are explored in this blog post sharing key questions to ask a potential IT partner.
In my opinion one of the key requirements for a service provider offering onsite support or a hybrid solution is location. Working with a provider who operates from your region is really important if you are to get the service level you require. Purely from a logistical point of view you need analysts to work and live locally. While some providers may recruit local IT professionals to work onsite for their clients’, if the provider is located elsewhere the relationship is not the same as having the IT provider really embedding themselves in your business.
That’s one of the key benefits of having this kind of solution. The external partner becomes an extension of your team, providing onsite support from professionals who are immersed in both party’s businesses.
UKN Group has IT support teams working out of our Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Basingstoke offices. If you require onsite IT services from a regional provider get in touch with us to discuss your requirements.