There’s an ever-raging debate about the subject of outsourcing, and recent media coverage about high profile cases has further polarised the possible virtues and perils of using third party suppliers.
An underlying anxiety that organisations can have, is the location of IT service provider the thought of high volumes of customer interactions being handled by, for example, an IT service desk which is based on the other side of the country. There’s perhaps a preconception or assumption that the end user might not be cared for as well, leading to a lesser level of service.
There’s also the possibility of impacting customer perception if it becomes in any way obvious that the contact centre they’re dealing with is an outsourced unit. So, achieving a level of comfort in entrusting the delivery of an IT service to a third party is a fundamental challenge faced by firms looking to outsource.
A smarter way to work
More and more, progressive organisations looking for IT support are putting aside the more traditional supplier > buyer transactional relationship in favour of something more strategic.
“Many IT organisations are committing larger portions of their budgets to augment their own internal operations and access specialised skills. Outsourcing this year accounts for 11.9% of the total IT budget on average, a strong increase from the 10.6% figure from 2016.” (Source: IT Outsourcing Statistics 2017/18 Study – Computer Economics Inc.)
Key to choosing an IT outsourcer that will really work for your business is the sharing of business objectives, common strategic aims, and the same ethos and values. You’re working in partnership with each other. An outsourced IT provider can work so well, it’s as though it’s just a natural extension of your team or organisation.
And the rewards to be reaped from taking this approach can be huge.
There’s everything to play for
There’s an increasingly strong case for IT outsourcing. It can bring with it access to:
- New innovations and the latest in technology
- Best practices
- Existing credentials via the supplier (e.g. ‘4* Service Desk’ rating)
- An added ‘comfort blanket’ of gaining third party assurance
- More transparent governance
- New services available (over time)
- Experienced IT practitioners, with cross-sector, multi-system experience
- Cost efficiencies
Ultimately, these factors can combine to create an improved customer experience for your end users. More on the benefits of outsourcing to a local IT provider can be found here.
If all this sounds good, then using a local IT provider with national or global reach could be the solution for your organisation.
“What should I look for in a potential IT service provider?”
Here are a few essential points you should be considering during your search for an IT outsourcer:
Will your third-party provider stay in business?
No business is immune to failure - even the biggest providers - and the IT industry itself has experienced a slight downturn in recent years, so it’s important that you try to establish how stable and financially secure your potential supplier is. In terms of setting the foundation of a long-term, successful relationship, this is an important factor to take into consideration. You want to know that you’re investing in a set-up that has resilience.
What is your third-party provider’s support policy?
In terms of evaluation criteria, this question is crucial. During proposal and interview / pitch stages, take the opportunity to really probe them about their processes, procedures and policies.
It would be no surprise to be told by a company touting for your business that they have a dedicated support phone number and email address that can be used to contact them – maybe even dedicated service desk ‘champions’ or relationship managers for that extra layer of customer care - but a number of other questions should be asked to really find out if they’re going to look after you, and your users.
Answers given to the following questions can be a great indicator of how seriously a potential provider takes meeting SLAs, set targets, resolving problems within x amount of time, providing excellent 1:1 service, and so on:
- What’s your procedure for handling customer tickets, and is this procedure documented?
- How much face to face / on-site contact via visits do you offer?
- How, and during which hours, do you offer out-of-hours support?
- Do you set KPIs and targets for dealing with customer ticket responses?
- How and when does your escalation policy kick in? And does the process reach all the way up to senior management?
Other important questions to ask
As well as BAU, you should also quiz your potential outsourcer on the following:
- What does your onboarding process look like?
- What is their procedure and protocol for unforeseen events? E.g. outages, building power cuts, etc.
- How to you adhere to information / data security best practice? Do you hold any accreditation demonstrating this?
- Will other features (related to your service) become available in the future?
- At a high level, what are your contract termination terms?
One of the key reasons our clients use UKN Group is that we have offices in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, as well as our headquarters in Basingstoke. This means we can offer the benefits of local IT support (on-site support, disaster recovery - someone can visit and assess the situation on the ground-, training and up-skilling our clients' existing teams, and delivering a personalised service), as well as having the clout of a large global provider.To find out more click here. You may also like to download our white-paper on how to drive service desk efficiencies: