ITBusinessEdge highlighted "four simple ways to reduce tech support and help desk costs", intended to aid companies looking to "trim the fat" by reducing operating expenses. In addition to any cost savings, the moves will improve systems uptime, enabling non-IT staff to concentrate on their work rather than being slowed by computer problems, and also improves user satisfaction, again through the removal of the need to address IT niggles.
The four points, as suggested by Scott Gordon, Chief Operating Officer of US IT support company Dataprise, were:
- Keep users informed. Provide advance warning of scheduled downtime or planned maintenance, including projects undertaken outside of working hours, and with regular updates on unforeseen problems. This will reduce the number of calls made to tech support, enabling IT staff to focus on projects in hand or on rectifying problems, which is a more effective use of resources.
- Outsource some (or all) technical support tasks. This provides obvious benefits, including the flexibility to add extra support when needed, without having the costs incurred by additional staff during quiet periods. It can also reduce overtime costs for in-house staff, by spreading the IT support load over a larger number of workers.
- Invest in regular maintenance. Regular checks such as updating anti-virus definitions, performing back-ups, and applying hotfixes and software patches has an impact in terms of time and money during the short-term, but can protect against future issues which would incur far greater costs in terms of problem resolution.
- And, finally, take advantage of automated tasks. Adding an IT FAQs section to the corporate intranet, addressing some of the most commonly raised problems, can save IT staff a significant amount of time which would otherwise be spent rectifying routine issues problems, for example resetting passwords.