Help Desk Outsourcing in Retreat

October, 2011

The help desk is a people-intensive operation, often comprising 8% or more of the typical IT staff, and can benefit from investments in systems that support repetitive processes, all of which make it a prime target for commoditization as a packaged service.

In fact, many IT organizations find outsourcing this function can be a quick way to successfully reduce costs. It is surprising then that our study, IT Help Desk Outsourcing Trend and Customer Experience, finds the percentage of organizations outsourcing this function is relatively low and has been declining over the past few years.

Figure 1 shows only 19% of organizations practiced help desk outsourcing in 2007. That number jumped to 25% in 2008 and dropped annually from that level during the course of the recession, ending at 20% in 2011. As companies laid off employees, some organizations eliminated outsourced IT help desk services altogether in favor of internal resources.

HelpDeskOut RBFig1 - Help Desk Outsourcing in Retreat

The decision to turn over the operation of an organization’s IT help desk to a third-party service provider has had a long and varied history. It is, in fact, one of the original services that helped establish the contemporary IT outsourcing industry. Even so, help desk outsourcing is not as common as one might think.

IT executives need to consider their help desk strategies in light of current trends. Our research shows that organizations that outsource their IT help desk tend to outsource most or all of their help desk function, and we find a high level of concern about the level of service received from outside service providers.

The full study measures current trends in four ways: outsourcing frequency, outsourcing amount, outsourcing cost experience, and outsourcing service experience. It also examines the rate at which organizations use offshore service providers and the amount of work typically offshored. Finally, the report examines the five-year trend in help desk outsourcing frequency and amount.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject,IT Help Desk Outsourcing Trend and Customer Experience. 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).