Number of Firms Outsourcing Desktop Support Declines

April, 2010

The number of companies outsourcing desktop support noticeably declined two years ago and stayed at that reduced rate last year. This is an obvious consequence of the weakening economy and the resultant downturn in IT spending.

Our study, Desktop Support Outsourcing Trends, shows that about one-fifth of organizations outsourced some portion of their desktop support functions in 2008 and 2009 (Figure 1). That is down from 2007, when fully one-quarter of organizations turned over at least some desktop support duties to third parties.

Research Byte Fig - Number of Firms Outsourcing Desktop Support Declines

This downward trend is in line with an across-the-board retreat in outsourcing over the past couple of years. Organizations examined every outside relationship with which they were involved and sought to lower costs where possible through consolidating, eliminating, or putting engagements on hold, a recent and all-too-familiar trend industry insiders refer to as “deal flow disruption.”

Since PCs first made their way into the organizational structure in the early 1980s, businesses have been required to expend valuable resources to care for them. From the start, large corporations embraced desktop support services as a means of controlling costs and improving service levels. Today, this outsourcing category is mature with well-established service providers, but remote support tools are changing the landscape and creating new options for IT organizations.

To help IT executives understand their options, this study examines adoption trends in desktop support outsourcing. We report on the percentage of organizations outsourcing desktop support (frequency), the average amount of work outsourced (level), and the change in the amount of work being outsourced (trend). We also present the cost experience, which provides insight into the risk IT organizations take in turning to outside service providers. This statistic measures the percentage of organizations that find outsourcing costs more, the same, or less than expected. We also show how these trends differ by organization size and sector and examine the surprisingly substantial role that offshore outsourcing plays in this market.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Desktop Support Outsourcing Trends. 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).