Technical Support: Business Continuity and Security

The issues of corporate information security also refer to technical support: as a rule, it provided by a part of IT Department, the responsibility of which is to enable the uninterrupted work of IT systems and protect them.

In large companies, technical support service is an integrated center of excellence. The majority of such enterprises are regionally or globally distributed, and quality support must be provided for all their offices and affiliates. It does not matter from what city or country technical support service receives a call; its specialists must accept it, process it, or redirect it to the right person.

A helping hand for everyone

Technical support engineers often say that their potential clients can be divided into two types: those who start to phone or to write to technical support immediately when they are confronted with a problem without trying to resolve it personally, and those who are maximally involved in issue resolution and turn to technical support service only when all other methods do not work.

The internal technical support must follow the same rules of working with all their "customers": colleagues from different countries speaking different languages and having different temperaments. Technical support specialists must have the skills of active listening, keep calm like a Zen monk, and have a vivid mind.

Practice shows that few companies can process all IT-related requests properly, correctly, and in due time. If there is an urgent problem related, for instance, to Internet access or operation of a particular app, it is necessary to solve the issue immediately; otherwise, business continuity becomes unreachable. Therefore, the technical support specialists have to be always on the watch, 24x7.

Technical support at a high level

Technical support outsourcing is a more profitable variant for many companies than a traditional pattern with a large support department. A remote helpdesk and a few local system administrators cost less than a large in-house service, and a special agreement guarantees work performance.

If you address a competent technical support team of an outsourcer, you may rest assured that your issues will be resolved within a limited time stipulated by the SLA. The periods within which assistance should be provided, are defined in work regulations where the client's priorities are set. All the incoming tasks are resolved following the procedures approved by both parties, so the outsourcer can help the customer resolve almost any possible incidents.

How to assess the quality of service?

A technical support engineer in a large company is always available on the phone and in the chat and ready to resolve any issue. One or several operators are on duty 24x7, round-the-clock, ready to receive calls.

The most important criterion of support performance is the quality of provided services for end-users. In most cases, it is required to ensure that a user, if needed, gets technical support directly on site within the time they need. Therefore, if the technical support service understands that the task cannot be solved remotely, it routes the request to a local system administrator.

Having concluded a maintenance contract with an experienced service provider, the customer gets not just a set of SLAs for different directions, but also a consistent service level for the entire IT system. A service provider performs an IT system audit and gives an estimate what level of fault tolerance can be achieved for the corporate services based on the current solution architecture now or after upgrades and customization, etc. It does not have to be hardware and software solutions: sometimes, problems can be solved by updating internal service procedures and regulations, as they also influence the service availability.

Another essential process accompanying technical support is collecting feedback from end-users. There are several ways of getting feedback: on the website, through which the request was made, by phone (by text message (SMS) or by tone operation), or by e-mail. The latter channel is recognized as the most efficient for corporate users: users send most feedback by e-mail.

Why is it advantageous to entrust systems maintenance projects to Softline?

Our clients get an integrated solution, including the product itself, its implementation, and complete maintenance. We have our competencies, resources, and experts with a long-standing experience in the maintenance of such systems; therefore, its implementation and maintenance will be smooth and successful. The figures speak for themselves: technical support outsourcing (when we are performing the role of the support service) can be 2 or 3 times less expensive than keeping an in-house support service.

Special mention should be made of outsourcing security issues. According to the research of analytical companies, Russian companies are, in the first place, worried about their data security when they envisage possibilities of transferring specific tasks for outsourcing. Thus, data protection commitments are No.1 priority in our country, and the cost of services is only on the 3rd or 4th place. We are very attentive to our resources, and we have streamlined the internal maintenance process so that it works as a special "experts' conveyor" – it means we have a strong team of experts whose knowledge is confirmed by international certificates and all the employees are working in close connection with each other and are using maximally transparent procedures.

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