Roving Desktop Support Services Technicians Bridge the IT Support Gap
For outgoing IT professionals who like a change of pace, getting out of the office, and meeting new clients, short-term desktop support engagements are an ideal fit. Client IT organizations don’t always have the workload or the budget to justify hiring full-time personnel and, even when they do, existing staff may still need someone to fill in during vacations or other absences. That’s when the roving desktop support services technicians come in handy. Not only do they possess a rare combination of the extrovert who thrives on new environments and challenges, but they possess the technical savvy to resolve a diverse laundry list of Level 2 tasks. That skill set versatility and flexibility with the location of assignment on any given day, week, or month, means they’re in high demand and a much-cherished asset for both parties. In order to take advantage, clients often engage on-site desktop support personnel for short-term technology refresh projects as varied as the following:
- Perform application deployment and patch management as well as Moves, Adds, Changes, and Disposal (MACD Services) to support the changing user base and technology platform as described below:
- Move, set up, and configure desktops, laptops, and monitors.
- Research, procure, install, configure, and test hardware peripherals (printers, scanners, etc.) and conduct user demonstration post-installation
- Install new or existing systems including data and mail migration. Technicians follow a checklist as a quality control tool to ensure the proper and complete installation.
- Install software on new PC or Mac equipment, migrate users from one device to the other, and test and confirm with the user that software upgrade and installations were completed successfully
- Disposal services: Technicians coordinate end of lifecycle equipment disposal with responsible third party
- Perform quality assurance testing on a new client image
- Replace and coordinate switch over to a new uninterruptible power supply
Backfill Client IT Staff
To make the most of an outsourcing model, occasionally clients choose to segregate support tasks between the proactive and the reactive (on site Level 2 troubleshooting), handing off the latter to the vendor while their internal IT staff focus on the above projects themselves. In such instances, they engage Level 2 technicians to provide backfill for the onsite desktop support team for the duration of the project. So when an end user’s normal IT service is interrupted, the calls, emails, or walkups they initiate no longer distract internal staff designated to the project. Instead, they are resolved by vendor resources assigned to restore technical functionality as soon as possible and minimize impacts on other areas of the business.
What do reactive deskside support tasks entail?
Reactive Deskside Support Services (DSS) primarily involve troubleshooting of software, hardware, and connectivity issues including the following:
- Diagnosis and resolution of end-user standard application software, business application client software and connectivity issues that is either outside the scope of Level 1 support or cannot be resolved remotely.
- Coordination with manufacturers or third party vendors to resolve PC hardware problems.
- Routing of Level 3 support incidents to the appropriate infrastructure support group including the prescribed triage documentation.
Backfill MSP Staff
More frequently, the technician roves because of the need to backfill or fill in for a Level 2 colleague during absences or vacation. But before this role can be assumed, the technician must shadow or cross train with the regularly scheduled counterpart. Even though redundant skills sets can be easily applied to any client, the Level 2 technician must also be familiar with that client’s environment (hardware, proprietary applications, operating and ticketing systems) and unique processes before being placed on site for an unassisted support role no matter how temporary.
“Client management staff often don’t have the time or resources to accommodate a learning curve or on the job training,” says ABS Director of Operations Hector Gonzalez. “So any knowledge share required of the MSP is an investment that should be absorbed by the MSP, not while the client’s meter is running.”
With an additional desktop technician up to speed and demonstrating a level of expertise on site that earns the client’s trust, it’s not unusual for a backfill or short-term project position to be extended. A combination of familiarity, comfort, and satisfaction with the individual coupled with an influx of upcoming projects often leads to that roving technician staying put. If a long-term position materializes, any IT support vendor would be happy to leave that resource on site indefinitely assuming they have others available. Either way needing to bridge the next gap in client IT support is a good problem to have.