MAC or PC: Service Desk Outsourcing Evolves with Client’s IT Needs

An IT professional is smiling

Most service desk outsourcing vendors understand that the type of support they may be called upon to deliver is not rigidly defined from day one. It’s a moving target. There are various scenarios that lead to major shifts in the types of support handled by the service desk, some technology-driven such as new hardware purchases or the release of new or revised operating systems and applications. Other scenarios are more organizationally driven such as mergers and acquisitions, organic growth, and the formation of new departments. For these reasons, it’s not unusual for the service desk solution to undergo numerous transformations throughout the life of the contract.

In fact, one long-term client began moving more from a PC to a MAC environment and, after going from 13% of all contact volume in the first month, the service desk now handles a majority of MAC support issues which typically accounts for between 55% and 60% of this client’s monthly contacts. All it took was a simple heads up from client’s management team and some additional training sessions for the assigned ABS agents. Other than ensuring the System Component Item Module (SCIM) denoted the appropriate field in the contact record, there was no real involvement from the development team. In addition, there was no need for a formal amendment to the original agreement. As it happens, the transition was ramped up so incrementally and with little fanfare that the client’s executive team wasn’t fully aware of the fundamental shift in the type of support being offered to their end users.

Having undergone additional training sessions, service desk agents learned to unlock accounts, perform Silverlight upgrades, configure Entourage, restore and backup files, and reconnect end users to the network printer within a MAC environment. Although these same functions can be delivered for PC users as well, having that Level 1 related versatility at the service desk remains consistent with its single point of contact role. Essentially, if the expanded support requirements are trainable, documented, and the client grants access to the necessary networks to perform the service then it merely becomes a question of scaling up to the additional contact volume. For clients electing a shared agent staffing model, any potential uptick in contacts is as feasible as it is welcome at the service desk.

ABS Team Lead, Tyler Dameron describes the training process. “Much like learning any new system or application, transitioning to the MAC environment took a collaborative effort between the service desk and client management. Continually utilizing, updating, and creating documentation, gaining experience, and working together as a team, were the top contributing factors to our smooth and successful transition.  The client and ABS were both involved in all aspects of the shift which ultimately provided the end users with a sense of comfort and ease when calling the helpdesk. “

As with the platform and operating system, the list of supported applications, both proprietary and industry standard, is never etched in stone specifically because it’s under constant revision once the service desk solution goes live. “That partly why we conduct monthly operational reviews,” says ABS Director of Operations Hector Gonzalez. “While the primary agenda item is reviewing the metrics and how the service desk is performing in relation to SLAs, another key topic is exploring other areas where the service desk may be of assistance.”

Certainly, an ongoing operational review should involve analyzing root causes and potential gaps in the documented troubleshooting procedures for various incidents ultimately to increase resolution rates. But, at a higher level, the discussion should also include how to support new technology that’s being introduced to the client’s end-user environment or adopt services that its on-site staff need to offload in order to focus on more proactive, infrastructure-related initiatives.

Either way, a service desk outsourcing vendor that adheres to a rigid scope of the scope of Level 1 tasks and supported technology or imposes additional fees in order to formally roll out the new support isn’t considering the mutual benefits of growing in tandem with the client. Whatever prompts the change in IT support requirements, the vendor charged with keeping their end users up and running must be fully vested in adapting to those changes. This includes a willingness to expand its scope of services and subject matter expertise to evolve to whatever new technology may be introduced. Failure to do so would be doing that client a disservice as well as jeopardize the relationship over the long haul. If the added contact volume isn’t motivation enough to justify an ongoing commitment to versatility, retaining ecstatic clients should more than suffice.