IT support refers to services which entities offer to end users of specialized technology products or services, such as network services or email servers. In layman’s terms, IT support offers assistance to customers regarding specific technical difficulties with a particular product, rather than offering customized training, distribution or modification of that product, or any other support services relating to the product. In most IT support situations, the end user is not aware of how his system works, and the IT specialist is able to analyze and troubleshoot that system in order to resolve issues. This technique has proven extremely useful for companies and individuals alike.
There are numerous advantages to providing IT support to customers
in contrast to in-house operations. For one, providing in-house IT support costs a lot more than the alternative, which is to hire external personnel to perform the same task. For another thing, in-house IT support often involves a lot more red tape, and the need to wait for equipment maintenance and other service interruptions. External personnel are also typically specialized and may not possess the same level of expertise and skill set when resolving technical problems.
Implementing a tiered technical support strategy allows an organization to combine expertise and capacity. By utilizing a tier system, IT professionals will have the experience and knowledge necessary to resolve a variety of different problems that an organization may experience. These tiers consist of people from different areas within the organization, such as support staff and managers. The support staff will have the knowledge and skills to provide basic troubleshooting techniques, while managers will have the skill and authority to assign projects, approve expenditures, and make important decisions regarding allocation of resources. In addition to having the necessary knowledge, these employees will also have the IT support tools and equipment required to conduct effective IT support.
There are several different levels of IT support staff, beginning with the lowest tier, consisting of people who work at the level of desk support or technical assistance. The number one priority of these people is to resolve basic technical issues. Often they are responsible for resolving basic software issues that only affect the PC or small group of clients. From there, they progress through various tiers of support, participating in a system to improve the quality of service for clients and increasing the company’s IT budget. Eventually, they move to the next tier of personnel, which consists of individuals who are trained to specialize in resolving specific IT support issues and tasks.
There are several different types of IT support services, including: on-demand service providers, which are contracted by an individual or organization and billed hourly; cloud service providers, which are hosted in a remote location and have a large customer base; and outsourced service providers, which are located in different parts of the world but maintain a large customer base. The IT support service provider needs to have a strong reputation, established history, and a history of providing effective and efficient IT support services. Most companies that hire IT support services also use them as a method to reducing overhead expenses. Outsourcing IT support allows companies to focus on their core business processes and activities rather than hiring additional personnel for on-site IT support services. However, many companies are hesitant to outsource their IT support tasks, as IT support can be a highly-specialized skill set that requires a lot of training and experience.
Many companies prefer the on-demand or swarm method of contracting IT support,
which involves a large company engaging the services of a number of professionals to resolve a single issue. In this model, an issue is identified and then an issue response is defined. When a technician from the on-call support staff answers the phone and helps resolve the issue, that technician is designated to be on-call and be available to resolve the next issue that comes up. This approach allows many issues to be resolved in a short period of time, because there is not a wait period before another technician steps in to assist the person on the other end of the line.
- The drawback to this approach is that there are more calls placed than there are technicians available to assist.
- In addition, it may be difficult to manage an issue response and to assign a technician to multiple clients,
- because of the time required to train each employee on an issue resolution and follow up process.
The optimal benefits of this approach are usually realized when the same company submits requests for help from a swarm of technicians rather than from a limited number of technicians. By pooling the resources of a large number of companies, an IT support staff can more effectively handle repetitive issues that occur regularly within a business.
There are several types of technical support tiers, which are differentiated based upon how they help customers. One tier of technicians will specialize in managing specific software programs and will be responsible for resolving issues with those programs. They will typically have direct contact to the developer of the software and will receive updates and announcements through email, telephone, and a website. Other IT support tiers specialize in managing networks, desktop machines, laptops, routers, servers, and switches. They will be called on to resolve issues with hardware devices, such as routers, switches, and so on.