With the emergence of so much new technology that enables people to work from anywhere – while still communicating effectively and accessing all the digital resources they need – many of the traditional questions about how to deliver IT support to them are becoming irrelevant.
Specifically, the reasons for multinational organisations to outsource IT support – to reduce costs, increase availability and access a pool of greater expertise – are potentially undermined by this new technology. Why not just bring support back in-house and run a virtual team across different locations, providing round-the-clock support across all necessary time-zones?
Unfortunately, it’s not usually such a simple, clear-cut decision and, whatever the apparent benefits, there are potential challenges to consider too.
The question of availability
It’s obviously essential that you recruit enough people to make support available in every time zone you operate in, so how are you going to achieve that? Will you recruit people in every time zone, or provide out-of-hours support from elsewhere? The former option can quickly become expensive, while the latter can potentially bring cultural and language problems. And telephone-based technical help can be difficult enough at the best of times, so language and cultural barriers can completely undermine its purpose – leading to under-utilisation of the service, lost productivity and end-users attempting their own bad fixes.
Also, how do you plan to provide on-site support, especially if you have a widely-distributed workforce? Are you going to be able to come close to providing the same level of support resources, and an equivalent SLA, that you could expect from an outsourced support provider?
Overcoming skills shortages
And are you going to be able to recruit suitably skilled people anyway, to adequately provide the support you need? Good technical people can be very difficult to find and typically come at a premium. And even if you can find and afford them, will you be able to create the conditions that will make them want to stay? For example, if you’re planning on deploying a team of remote workers to provide technical support, how will you create an enduring team spirit? How will you encourage knowledge-sharing and co-operation for overall service improvement and consistency? And how will you set performance targets and promote productivity without seeming authoritarian?
Moreover, such people will typically want an environment where they feel their skills are being invested in, and where they can see a progressive career route. Will you be able to provide that, or will providing support simply become an ongoing recruitment nightmare?
Everything comes at a price
Modern technology can help with many of these challenges. There are powerful, cloud-based solutions available that aim to address almost all of these issues, although – of course – they come at a price. You will also need effective leadership and to cover the costs of providing remote, on-site support, which can be expensive if it’s a frequent requirement.
Do what’s right for your business
The support option that’s right will be unique to the specific needs of your business. But the best answer is most likely a mix of highly cost-effective and skilled outsourced experts in a globally available, multilingual contact centre as well as some additional people offering flexible support. Allied Worldwide offers all of this, along with economies of scale and skills for the support we offer, plus service offerings targeted specifically at remote worker support.
For more information on the benefits of Allied Worldwide’s comprehensive IT support options, please contact us.