by Alan Conduct, Head of Support Services at UKN Group
One significant advance for outsourcing providers and their customers has been digital transformation. Whether your company uses outsourcing for HR, accountancy, marketing or IT support, digitalisation has helped to make the outsourcing model more cost effective as well as delivering a better service too.
As such your outsourcing provider could be anywhere in the UK or even the world, and many companies are attracted to the competitive rates that offshore providers offer. However, moving your IT service desk or IT support to an offshore provider can have a number of drawbacks. These include practical considerations such as time zones, but also compliance issues, staffing and cultural differences.
For some businesses and organisations with straightforward IT support requirements, the offshore model can be effective and deliver savings. But for many customers with more complexity around their IT estate, regulatory factors, and higher service level demands; offshore providers are not suitable.
So, the solution is to use an onshore IT service provider and pay a little more. In the grand scheme of things that extra cost buys security and peace of mind: the reassurance that the provider can cope with a diverse IT estate (legacy systems, on-premise, hybrid and cloud services etc.), that the IT provider is also compliant with any regulatory requirements, and that support provided is aligned the customer’s needs.
A key advantage of using an onshore provider is that they are able to embed themselves more fully in your company or organisation, understand your challenges and priorities, and support your users knowledgeably. Typically offshore providers have a high staff turnover and less insight into your business.
Using a truly local IT Service Provider
Taking this a step further, there is an argument not only to use an onshore provider, but to outsource your IT support to a local firm.
If you want your IT outsourcing provider to offer support that helps to deliver on business objectives and strategic plans, it makes sense to partner with a provider who you can meet face-to-face on a regular basis and really get to understand your needs.
If you need IT support and your company is based in Manchester or the surrounding areas, an IT service provider in Manchester is going to be able to deliver a more personal and intuitive service than one based in Reading.
Not only do you get to have a coffee together and a fast response if you need someone onsite in an emergency, but they will also have local knowledge that can make a huge difference to the service they provide. For example, they are likely to be working with other businesses in your area and learnings from them could be used to drive efficiencies and savings in your company. They can also assist with any short term staffing issues, providing experienced IT professionals to work on specific projects or to meet spikes in demand.
Furthermore, using a local IT service provider presents opportunities to put in place a hybrid model, combining both remote support coupled with onsite staffing either on a permanent or ad hoc basis. It is also common to have a member of the existing in-house team TUPE transfer to the service provider, this ensures the knowledge remains and would also benefit the business from a cross training and on-going familiar onsite presence.
Of course, it is important when choosing an IT service provider to ensure that they have the right skills within their team, and the capacity to deliver the service level you require. Small local IT companies may struggle with this, but there are plenty of providers across the UK – either with just one office or a number of local offices – that have the right staffing levels to meet the demands of small and large enterprises.
The Service Desk Institute is a good starting point if you are looking to outsource your IT service desk. Look for SDI accreditation (Service Desk Certification) to benchmark different providers and narrow your search. You can find out what 4* Service Desk Certification means to our team in this post.
For more information about UKN Group, visit their website, or call: +44 (0)845 643 6060