Desktop Support Staffing Gets a Bump

October, 2011

After remaining nearly constant over the previous four years, desktop support staffing levels rose as a portion of the total IT staff this year in another sign that IT organizations are increasing support for users.

Our study on Desktop Support Staffing Ratios shows that technical support personnel in charge of maintaining personal computers and other user IT equipment rose from 8.4% of the typical IT staff in 2010 to 8.8% this year, as shown in Figure 1.

DesktopSupportStaff Fig1 - Desktop Support Staffing Gets a Bump

While it remains to be seen whether the one-year rise will be sustained, it corresponds to a similar rise in help desk staffing levels, as reported in a pervious Research Byte, Help Desk Staffing on Road to Recovery.

The ability of organizations to efficiently support personal computers has improved greatly since their widespread introduction in the 1980s. Today’s desktop computers are more reliable, users are more knowledgeable, and software for managing PCs is more robust. Yet these machines still require a great deal of support to maintain high levels of user satisfaction and productivity, and the need for mobility, security, and connectivity make support needs as great as ever.

The full study provides benchmarks on typical desktop support staffing. We use two metrics to benchmark desktop support staffing: desktop support staff as a percentage of IT staff and PCs per desktop support staff member. We also assess these ratios by organization size and sector.

In some organizations, desktop support staff also carry out help desk functions. Our study considers help desk a separate function that provides Level 1 support from a remote location. For organizations that have a separate help desk function, we have another report on Help Desk Staffing Ratios. For those organizations that have a combined function, we also provide ratios in both studies for combined desktop support/help desk staffing.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Desktop Support Staffing Ratios. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).

Do you also need staffing ratios for other IT job functions? Consider this collection of all of our staffing ratio reports, which bundles them all into a single report at a significant discount: IT Staffing Ratios–Special Report Bundle.