Outsourced Helpdesk - Integration Options

When an organisation is considering outsourcing or augmenting its IT support function, the management will need to consider how any arrangement could effect the business. Common considerations include the impact on business processes, response times, the user experience, privacy, security and familiarity, when it comes to the nuances of the company or industry.  Outsourcing needn’t mean a loss of control or a reduction in service, in many cases – there is a considerable upturn in user satisfaction, response times and service.

We will outline a number of methods that are used to ensure a tight integration with your business, systems and staff. These same principles apply whether your are choosing to outsource your IT function entirely, or complimenting your existing IT function with additional external resource. The latter is typically used to extend hours of cover (i.e. 24×7) or to add additional skills to your team. Alongside the different approaches to achieve integration, there is no replacement for regular reporting and update meetings.

Business Processes

The first part of any engaging is a scoping exercise. The purpose of this is to understand your business, customers, industry and markets. Following on from that, in the context of IT – we develop process maps and procedures that are in-use within your organisations. This could include help-desk, escalation and out-of-hours escalations. In the absence of these processes, our team will work with you to develop these processes.  Where the requirement is for you to support your customers, again – we can work with you to develop procedures to meet the needs of your customers.

The importance of this phase is to establish the exact workflows that will take place to ensure the highest levels of service and response times.

Systems Access / Systems Integration

If your organisation already has an existing IT help-desk or service desk platform (i.e. ZenDesk, ServiceNow) – we can discuss the most effective way of ensuring tickets and cases are logged onto these systems. Our team members can access your system remotely through a web interface, VPN connection, VDI or through a secure API. In all cases, and similar to the workflow mapping, the goal is to have issues, faults and cases logged on to your existing systems, without complex process re-engineering.

We typically work with, or integrate into systems such as CRM, Helpdesk and Asset Management platforms. This may be through secure web access, VPN or where our developers hook into your API. You may need some bespoke software or software integration to help facilitate true platform integration.

Telephony Integration

The traditional method of leveraging a third party is through the use of a rudimentary telephone divert. Out of hours or unanswered calls are diverted to an external DDI. Whilst this works, there are a number of drawbacks in terms of security, quality and visibility. Through the use of technology, there are a number of ways to seamlessly extend the support experience to a third party without disrupting or needing to change the way calls are routed.

  1. SIP Trunk between systems. In this scenario, a secure SIP trunk (IP phone link) is built between your business phone system and the system used at MTG. Calls can seamlessly flow from your system and into the MTG help-desk. Calls are answered as your company and none of your systems need to change (i.e. call recording, CDR, reporting).
  2. Dedicated IP Handsets. A small number of customers opt to locate handsets in our offices and our agents answer your phones as if they were in your building. This works for a select number of cases, particularly where dedicated service is required.
  3. Divert. This is the traditional model. Whilst functional and relatively simple to setup, it does lack some of the benefits of option 1 – however – this is still a common deployment method.

Review Meetings

Our management will regularly have calls, video conferences/Skype or meetings with our clients to review how the service is working. We review metrics, specific cases and appraise the overall benefit to your business. Typically we would discuss forthcoming initiatives, seasonal differences and other factors that we need to consider – particularly as we act as an extension of your business.

Reporting

Visibility, insight and reporting are vital components of an outsourced arrangement. Having accurate data and insights help build trust and ensure that whilst some processes are outsourced, you have the necessary visibility and oversight of what is happening in your business. During the initial on-boarding phases, we would agree the level, depth and frequency of reporting. We find in the majority of cases, our reporting provides a level of insight previously not seen in the business prior to outsourcing!

Summary

We wanted to outline some of the options you should consider when outsourcing IT helpdesk or IT functions of your business. Gone are the days where it is a simple divert with a perceived (but perhaps acceptable) reduction in service. The goal of any professional service business is to almost transparent slot-in alongside your business, extending the processes and operations in a seamless manner, without any reduction in service. In all cases- the goal should be to drive up service!

If you would like to know about how MTG can compliment your business and improve your IT function, whether on a 9-5 or 24×7 basis – please get in touch.

 

 

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