IT Support Service Providers
IT support refers to various services which entities offer to end-users of personal technology goods or services. In simple terms, IT support provides support to clients about specific technical issues with a particular product or service, and not providing tailored training, provision of customization or support of the product itself. The organization providing IT support should have trained personnel, who can give technical advice, monitor, and track clients’ needs and work towards resolving problems, as well.
There are three levels of IT support
LMS (licensed support), BSDI (open source software support) and CDB (certified professional development) support. LMS is the basic IT support, which is offered on a closed loop basis. BSDI supports an open model, where the IT provider acts as a consultant for the client company and gives out-of-the-box solutions to particular problems. A certification is required to provide CDB support, but not required for LMS.
Off-demand or Cloud services refer to IT support services, which are provided by service providers on demand. A perfect example of an on-demand service is web server services, which refers to providing web server applications like software installation and maintenance, database support and application consultancy, to organizations. Many companies are now offering this service on a pay-for-performance basis, making it a very lucrative business proposition. The software vendor offers such services on demand at a predetermined rate. This works in favor of both the customer and the service provider, as the customer gets what he requires at the agreed price, while the service provider saves on fixed costs.
One of the most prominent IT support service providers today is Microsoft. Microsoft offers two cloud computing services – Windows Server and SQL Server. With these two options, a company need not purchase any hardware and still maintain and manage one server. The cost savings offered by cloud services make them a viable option for organizations. However, organizations should be cautious about choosing the best service providers.
It is better to opt for in-house technical support rather than purchasing Microsoft products. In-house technical support service providers can provide guaranteed support at a much lower cost. These professionals can also work as part of an organization’s in-house staff. The downside to this approach is that the professional might not be located close to the client, hampering the speed of delivery. Organizations should therefore carefully consider whether they need to employ a full time in-house technical support team or whether they can simply outsource the required work to one of the many on-demand technical support service providers available in the market.
There are many levels of technical support service.
The first two types, technical support at level 1 and support at level 2, are pretty basic. However, there are some organizations that require specialized support at higher levels. Companies that operate on complex software and systems often enlist the services of a level 3 tech support. Such companies have to deal with highly complex IT systems and their intricate requirements require advanced knowledge and expertise.
- Besides regular IT support services, organizations may also opt for a web-based application support and data analytics.
- Web-based applications are hosted on the company’s Internet infrastructure.
- These applications are usually developed in-house and require a considerable amount of training.
Data analytics is yet another specialized service that requires professionals who possess both the skills and the IT knowledge. These professionals may need to analyze and test various systems in order to determine what additional changes are required.
The demand for IT support at different levels often drives up the prices of these services, since the customer has to pay for skilled technicians as well as hardware replacement. The costs of equipment replacement and hardware failure are a major deterrent for most organizations. IT support at different levels includes internal staff training and additional training for outsourced personnel. Organizations that offer such services have to incur high costs in training their own staff as well as hiring additional staff for hardware failure and customer support.