5 Ways to Deliver Global On-Site Desktop Management Services

The world in one hand

These days, clients are looking to consolidate vendors and rely on a single point of contact to be accountable for all levels of IT outsourcing including helpdesk, infrastructure, and on-site desktop management services no matter where they are located. Although midsized service providers may not have offices in all corners of the globe, introducing a third party to prospective clients runs counter to this consolidation strategy and can complicate matters with separate agreements, pricing and service levels, and superfluous management tiers. So to simplify the sales process and ongoing management, desktop support vendors need to develop a one-stop-shop approach to how on-site Level 2 services are delivered. If there aren’t enough local feet on the street, they must employ alternatives that render any potential geographic limitations irrelevant to the client. So long as key vendor personnel remains available and accountable in terms of ongoing communication and operational management, the client will sense a strong presence and will be confident in their decision to trust the vendor to deliver that service. Here’s how we recommend delivering a single vendor solution for on-site desktop support at global locations:

  1. During the interview process, perform initial screenings via phone and/or Skype if travel is not within budget, conducting in-person interviews only with final candidates. Although technical candidates are generally recruited, interviewed, hired and trained by the IT services provider, they also report to the client’s IT management team. So, if requested, vendors should be open to clients who wish to provide input regarding the final selection and placement. And for geographically dispersed clients, joint travel to remote locations in order to conduct group interviews can be a collaborative enterprise. Not only does this promote a client’s vested interest in the candidate’s success, but gives ABS the opportunity to align both technical and soft skill position requirements with the client’s expectations.
  2. In order to locate the top IT talent for any given region, it makes sense to leverage staffing resources and drug screening partners that have an established local presence while broadening the field of eligible candidates. Although the goal is to retain 100% full-time direct employees to deliver the service, bringing on temporary staff on a trial basis is the best way to ensure long-term compatibility with the position while maintaining a pool of backup resources.
  3. Once the technician is onboarded, desktop management vendors must minimize turnover and increase retention by offering a market competitive salary, company paid training and certification programs, outstanding performance recognition, rewards, career path discussions. In terms of the client’s on-site IT staff, do they promote a culture of inclusion or are contractors isolated? For clients who request multiple on-site services, build a team of employees that work harmoniously together from one location if possible. One-off technicians identifying as outsourcing job competitors can be subjected to a culture of exclusion and mistrust. Another way to promote the sense of belonging and team effort must include regular touch points. Establish weekly one-on-ones to keep technicians engaged and connected, and coordinate in-person meetings with quarterly on-site visits that include client management. Although day-to-day interaction may not be as prevalent with the client they support, employees should identify with its employer as well. Disengagement from management leads to staffing agency perception and discussions of hiring employees directly and subsequent loss of the contract for that service. IT vendor supervisors and managers should solicit regular performance feedback from client leadership and address areas of improvement directly with the employee. Simply put, once the agreement is signed, the vendor should offer more than to simply fill the position and walk away.
  4. Truly manage the service and deliver added consultative value versus merely filling a position. Once a contracted service is associated just with the individual performing it, clients understandably perceive the vendor’s role as staff augmentation. Unless additional thought leadership and day-to-day management are part of the equation, turnover can often lead to the loss of that contract. Or in a best-case scenario, star performers who stay put may be solicited for direct hire by the client leading to the same result.
  5. Be their eyes and ears. Despite the monthly operational meetings, nothing beats daily, in-person communication between on-site technicians and client management for staying abreast of potential changes to their IT environment. On-site technicians can not only serve as a client’s liaison and relay upcoming projects to vendor leadership but can inform them of unmapped IT initiatives in which they can add consultative value. See below.
  6. Assess the ROI of introducing emerging technology. Sometimes it’s the moves you don’t make (i.e. recommending against a Windows Vista rollout) that can be the wisest investment.
  7. Determine cost options (software licensing models) and recommend procurement channels. Though most IT service providers remain brand-neutral in terms of recommended hardware and software, many can weigh in on compatibility with the current environment and leverage partner relationships for more purchasing power (i.e. partner or consolidated volume discounts).
  8. Develop a step by step project plan including milestones, beta testing, and backout procedures. When considering potential service desk impacts to introducing companywide technology changes, it’s best to use a phased approach to mitigate risks and determine compatibility issues and resolution processes in advance.
  9. Redirect current resources to desktop projects (Moves, Adds, Changes, Deletions) so clients won’t have to invest in additional or temporary staff.
  10. Deliver an all hands on deck approach by leveraging additional in-house expertise such as infrastructure consulting related to Active Directory or Exchange upgrades, network monitoring, and security. No matter how well defined the contracted services may be, there’s no reason to limit access to Subject Matter Expertise with varied technical qualifications and perspectives. Brainstorming a solution to new challenges works best with diverse viewpoints and IT disciplines.

A successful desktop management vendor only enhances its value by absorbing the rigors of ongoing personnel management including recruiting, training, and retaining IT professionals while recommending strategic technology initiatives. Globally or locally, no matter how that desktop support is delivered on site, the client is best served when they no longer need to address those challenges internally.