Enterprise-level support is too big. Consumer-level support is too basic. How can midsize companies get the technical support they need?
Midsize companies — those with 250 to 3,000 employees — are often called the growth engine of the U.S. economy. In 2015, their sales expanded by 7.4 percent, while sales for companies in the S&P 500 grew by only 2.9 percent. They also added jobs at a 4.3 percent rate, more than twice big business’s 2.1 percent.1
But one area midsize companies struggle with is technology. In fact, the cost of keeping up with technology is among their top-five obstacles to growth.2
One of the most challenging technology issues for midsize companies is technical support. “There simply haven’t been support solutions designed specifically for the mid-market,” says Michelle Beauchamp, CompuCom® senior director of product management for Service Experience Management.
Enterprise-level service desk solutions are powerful, but they can be pricey. And they don’t typically scale below 5,000 end users. Consumer-level options are more economical, but they aren’t sophisticated enough for mission-critical operations. And they aren’t robust enough to act as “the face of IT” to the organization.
Some midsize companies take a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, either to close gaps in inadequate solutions or to manage support completely in-house. But that can result in high costs, inefficiencies and ineffectiveness — bad for IT, end users and the business.
Yet there are effective IT support options for midsize businesses, Beauchamp insists, if companies know what to look for.
Seeking IT Service Management
Providing top-notch IT service management (ITSM) is a big part of keeping up with technology. First, effective technical support can make or break your IT return on investment. What’s more, happy, productive workers are key to your organization’s ability to innovate and respond to market changes.
When it comes to IT, small businesses can often get by on a shoestring. Corporate behemoths have the funds for best-in-class infrastructure. “Midsize companies are expected to field a world-class IT capability, but on a really tight budget,” Beauchamp points out.
Nowhere is this more relevant than in technical support. “Without effective technical support designed specifically to meet their unique needs, midsize companies are at a disadvantage,” Beauchamp says. “Just as significant, they end up paying too much” — for an enterprise-level support solution, or for the slow response and inadequate coverage of lesser solutions, or for the inefficient, ineffective processes of a DIY approach.
As a consequence, their IT departments get bogged down in managing routine support issues, so they’re unable to focus on strategic projects that deliver competitive advantage. Their end users become dissatisfied with slow support response and inadequate problem resolution. Additionally, they can’t fully leverage IT to do their jobs most effectively. And the business suffers overall, because it’s not benefitting from the maximum return on its IT investment and the optimum productivity of its employees.
Mid-market Solution, Enterprise-class Results
Beauchamp offers guidance for midsize companies looking for a technical support solution that’s right for them. First, “look for a managed service desk that’s packaged and priced for companies with 250 to 3,000 employees,” she recommends. Then, be sure it offers these essential capabilities:
- A managed service with established tools and service metrics.
- Proven processes based on ITSM, a framework approach to aligning technology with the business.
- Multiple contact options for end-user technical support needs, including chat, self-service, electronic and telephone.
- Knowledge and best practices for today’s complex devices, from smartphones and tablets to laptops and desktops.
- A self-service password reset tool.
- A partnered approach to educating and communicating with users for faster and more cost-effective service management.
- Data analytics that drive recommendations for continual improvement.
While your solution should be focused on the mid-market, the results should be enterprise-class. Beauchamp advises that effective technical support for midsize companies should deliver the following metrics:
- Up to 80 percent of support calls and chat requests answered in 60 seconds or less. Your end users deserve fast response and support, regardless of contact method.
- Up to 90 percent first-contact resolution for resolvable problems — those intended to be addressed by the service desk (as opposed to questions that should go to HR or procurement, for example).
- Up to 85 percent of password-reset calls avoided through self-service. This lets employees take charge of their own IT — and improves their job satisfaction.
- Up to 30 percent cost savings through ITSM-based processes and recommendations for lower-cost contact options.
Midsize companies often occupy the sweet spot of their markets: solid, yet flexible; established, yet dynamic. “Midsize and medium are sometimes thought of as average or ordinary,” Beauchamp says. “But you’d never think of your midsize company in those terms. You shouldn’t approach your IT support that way, either.”
1 “Midsized Companies Occupy a Sweet Spot in the U.S. Economy,” Smart Business, October 5, 2015
2 “America’s Economic Engine: Tapping the Brakes,” Deloitte, 2016
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DeloitteTM is a trademark of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
All data cited in this article is used with permission.