Desktop Support Staffing Levels Dip Slightly

October, 2009

Leading IT organizations today are reducing the need for on-site desktop support personnel by investing in better remote systems management tools. Having a high-functioning help desk operation can also reduce technical support costs. And in the near future, desktop virtualization and cloud computing promise to radically alter desktop support staffing requirements.

What is the current trend? Over the past three years, there has been a slight decline in the size of the desktop support staff in relation to the total IT staff, as shown in Figure 1. Desktop support technicians account for about 6.3% of the typical organization’s IT staff in 2009, down slightly from 6.7% in 2007.

This Research Byte is a summary of our full report, Staffing Ratios for Desktop Support.

Desktop Fig1 - Desktop Support Staffing Levels Dip Slightly

It remains uncertain, however, whether this is a significant or long-term trend. The change is slight and could reverse itself. It may be due to recession-related layoffs, the recent lack of investment in new systems, or more-lasting incremental gains in efficiency.

The full version of this report provides data on typical desktop support staffing levels. First we look at desktop support staffing as a percentage of the total IT staff. We show how this ratio has changed over time and how it varies by organization size. The key metric comes next: we examine the ratio of PCs to desktop support headcount, broken down for small, midsize, and large organizations. We also consider whether industry sector influences the ratio and whether having many remote locations to support impacts staffing needs. We conclude with an assessment of how current and future trends will impact PC support costs.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Staffing Ratios for Desktop Support. 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.