Business executives, and even some CIOs, often look at a help desk as a necessity with limited impact potential. This attitude drives a mindset of cost control. After all, if the services are seen as a commodity, driving help desk costs down will enable them to shift budget dollars elsewhere in their IT platform. In our view, this kind of blind focus on cost control is a mistake. A more balanced view of the help desk opens up considerations of ways it can have a significant impact on the business.
For some organizations with no operational reliance on technology and with no custom technology, it may very well be the right approach to drive help desk costs down as low as possible. For organizations with more knowledge workers and more reliance on IT, though, an understaffed help desk can cost far more in negative operational impact than the money saved on help desk staff.
Several efficiencies from well-run and properly staffed support desks are well-documented:
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Improved employee satisfaction
- Improved information security
In addition to these key benefits, improvements in employee productivity and efficiency can often more than make up for the costs for enhanced support. Having quick responses to questions, quick solutions to issues, and sufficient training on key systems all have a meaningful ROI on a company’s capabilities and overall cost structure.
Beyond these direct financial benefits, though, we’re most excited at the impact of sufficient IT support on the trust in IT within an organization.
When staff see that an organization is investing sufficiently in equipping them with advanced technology, and supporting their efficient usage of those systems, they’re energized to come up with innovative ideas of their own. This “culture of innovation” is difficult to achieve, but incredibly powerful when it’s nurtured.
So before trying to squeeze more out of your current help desk staff, or ratcheting up the number of employees they support. If your service desk has been impacted by the great resignation and you’re tempted not to fully restaff it, please consider what you might be giving up. Your help desk is more strategic than you think.