It makes economic sense to bring in external IT expertise.
The burgeoning chaos in desktop computing seems to be the central topic of conversation wherever IT managers meet. Too often they have to cope with users with different skill levels accessing complex equipment without any training. No matter how many support staff IT managers have, Parkinson's law applies in that the work of dealing with the complaints and problems lodged by users always seems to fill the time available. On top of this, few organisations can accurately price the cost of poor desktop service to their users and few can stomach the apparently high costs of supporting them.
It is indeed a case of the unconsciously incom-petent in need of help from the vaguely competent. But what to do? Can you really justify spending a lot of money on this kind of work when you probably have more important things on which to spend your IT budget?
Managing the desktop chaos is one area where economies of scale exist in terms of support and expertise. It is therefore a natural service for third parties and support companies to provide. Herein may lie a problem as the responsibility for desktop PCs and networks often rests with the IT manager, who may feel threatened by bringing in external expertise.
There may be little option however. Companies will be under a strong imperative to out-task as a result of the pressure to deliver new systems that integrate different parts of the organisation more quickly, and the increasing costs and difficulty of finding appropriately qualified staff, when set against the growing price competitiveness of the offers to provide desktop services. Just as the time has long gone when companies maintained their own computers, soon it will be rare for any company, no matter how small or large, to do their own desktop services. It just won't make sense.
What do these out-tasked desktop services, forecast to grow to a £1 billion market by 2001, look like? They are flexible with 'pick 'n' mix' services and levels of support, including remote management of desktop computers, networks and servers, providing monitoring and performance management and security back-up. They may also include deskside support and perhaps training, a hotline to support staff, and 24-hour access.
Smart businesspeople are recognising the need to alleviate the headaches and to take the out-tasking desktop services pill.
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