IT helpdesks play an important role within a company to support staff and resolve tech issues. A good help desk service is not just about fixing problems, but it can help to prevent them too.
If you have a successful helpdesk it will do both of these things, and will play a pivotal role as a knowledge and communications transfer center within your company.
That being said, it can be difficult to measure the true value of a helpdesk because it will depend on a range of factors, such as the size of your company, your reliance on computers and technology, if you use any specialized software or equipment. Some of the benefits derived from the helpdesk may also be intangible.
Many companies choose to outsource their helpdesk operations to other companies. There are pros and cons to this, and for some companies it might be better to bring back an internally provided helpdesk.
In some cases companies will not even have an official external outsourced helpdesk, but will rely on software and hardware companies to serve as a de-facto helpdesk provider. This can be extremely problematic because they are not there to fill this role for other companies, and can cause a lot of stress and lost productivity as staff try to navigate this system to deal with problems.
For companies outsourcing to a more formal, third-party helpdesk arrangement, the reason for doing this is often associated with reducing costs.
While it might seem cheaper on the face of it to pay another company a set annual amount to act as a helpdesk service compared to directly employing staff to do so, there could be hidden costs associated with outsourcing that aren’t being factored in.
An external company that has multiple other clients is not necessarily going to prioritize your company and staff and their issues over all its other clients. Nor is it going to understand aspects of your internal culture, your business priorities and your specific needs. All of this can add up to lost productivity, frustration and even missed deadlines as your staff attempt to get help with an outsourced system.
Generally speaking, a helpdesk is proving its value if there is an increase in end-user satisfaction and productivity and efficiency gains. You can determine if your helpdesk – either an internal our outsourced one - is serving its intended purpose for your company if:
You are experiencing an increase in productivity because the helpdesk is able to provide quick and efficient service and avoids repeat issues from occurring.
There’s a reduction in internal stress and frustration as a result of tech issues.
New employees are brought on to your systems in a quick and efficient manner.
The helpdesk is able to be proactive, and not always reactive. This in itself has a flow-on effect of minimizing the demands placed on the helpdesk staff and they can dedicate more time to being strategic.
Your downtime is minimized.
You are still able to meet deadlines despite any IT issues that may be occurring.
Your company’s systems are operating well, free from system crashes, viruses, excessive spam mail, slow system speeds, lost or corrupt files, and hardware failure.