Desktop Support While Outsourcing

Thanks to Top 5 reader Ryan H. for suggesting our latest topic.

One of the most frequently outsourced business support functions is the desktop environment. Companies commonly combine desktop sourcing  with their infrastructure services and service desk(s). Generally, the main cost drivers for outsourcing desktop support services revolve around the locations where people require support and receive services — whether it’s at the service desk, remote support or onsite. In a pure desktop environment, these five components tend to represent the highest costs on a per-seat, per-month basis:

  1. Asset life cycle management. The loss of assets and improper accounting of purchased and leased assets is one of the most significant costs associated with an enterprise’s desktop environment. Asset life cycle management runs from acquisition to disposal, and companies continually struggle to implement solutions that properly track and manage their technology assets. This is particularly important today as businesses consider refreshing their hardware and software assets.

  2. Image management. Maintaining standard desktop configurations in a global enterprise model — with its inherent trade compliance issues — has become a great challenge for most corporations. Improper management means greater support and maintenance costs. Implementing offshore software build, engineering, and testing centers has created compelling cost reductions for this component of desktop support. Remote software distribution solutions successfully reduce costs further, though cost and technical challenges remain for deployment to some remote, non-networked devices. 

  3. Break/fix support outside the warranty envelope. Break/fix support will retain its relevance even as most organizations are attempting to move support away from the expensive desk-side and to a level 0/self-help solution. A variety of solutions exist for providing break/fix support worldwide, even in very remote locations. Coupled with diagnostic technologies and leveraged resources, monthly costs can be greatly reduced.

  4. Installs, moves, adds and changes (IMACs). Many organizations cannot adequately quantify and forecast their IMACs for hardware and software at the desktop — particularly for hardware. It’s no surprise that, in turn, it is also a difficult cost to predict in a sourcing arrangement. Contract language and definition in this area can eliminate significant contractual disputes once IMACs are sourced.

  5. Creating and managing a scalable “follow the sun” software support model. Remote management for global enterprises with multiple language requirements (both verbal and written communications) is a significant part of monthly desktop support costs. A “best-shore” approach to providing this 24×7 support has yielded cost reductions and improved service for many enterprises.

One of the most frequent concerns associated with outsourcing desktop services is whether a company is paying a fair price for the services it receives. Industry cost comparisons are difficult to ascertain at a glance since the scope is highly variable. TPI’s End User Computing Competency Center advisors assists companies in identifying answers to ensure that substantial and sustainable improvements in business operations are realized.

Have any desktop sourcing best practices to share? I would like to hear about how your organization has mastered this function and improved operations.