Technical Support and Maintenance

Outsourced technical support and maintenance deals with services to a third-party vendor or offshore company that assists the hiring party of seeking electronic services or creating software development products.

Several mobile and software development products involve desktop computers, smartphones, laptops, tablets, software, hardware, IT infrastructure, and cloud-based services. The objective of technical support and maintenance is to resolve IT issues and maintain functionality related to a specific product or service.

Troubleshooting and maintenance

Outsourced IT support companies offer free or paid technical support and maintenance for the products they sell or services that they provide.

IT support can be provided in-person by offshore support staff. Other support services can be conducted via online chat, over the phone, email, forum comments or incident reporting. In most cases, many big companies have in-house IT departments that conduct troubleshooting and technical support for their own staff. However, in some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), they resort to outsourced IT support to minimize overhead costs and achieve strategic operational advantages.

Technical support and maintenance outsourcing

Technical support and maintenance outsourcing is a widespread practice of recruiting third-party vendor or external personnel to manage and maintain a company’s tech support roles. Tech support outsourcing also involves enabling the hired outside IT outsourcing firm to perform IT budgeting and campaign.

Based on the study of Parks Associates, a market research company, the technical support industry for SMEs in the United States increased to 14.4% (compound annual growth rate) from 2012 to 2016. By 2016, it attained $25 billion. IT market growth were driven by rising complex networks and trends such as cloud services and bring your own device.

Reliable tech support services

As most firms heavily rely on 24/7 uptime, many outsourced tech support and maintenance providers launch innovative and improved approaches of technical support directed to small enterprises.

IT outsourcing providers establish their strong rapport with SMEs to gain their trust in delivering new software products. Also, large corporations are being pressured to keep pace with new application development and maintenance processes and minimize unnecessary spending related to the business disruption caused by inevitable downtime. Many IT outsourcing companies that provide tech support and maintenance continue to expand and enhance their services to meet their clients’ ever-changing demands.

Scope of tech support and maintenance

The skilled tech support people are also known as technicians, IT officers, help desk staff, maintenance engineers, and app support specialists.

These IT specialists have a diverse background of technology products and information systems. They are tasked to employ their technical know-how in resolving issues related to hardware, software, network, and systems.

Technical support services

Tech support experts assist their clients through different channels such as online support. Basic inquiries can be responded using the telephone, SMS, or through the website. In most instances, face-to-face interaction is necessary to resolve complex hardware or software issues.

The provided technical support varies per customer. This usually depends on whether the service assistance is either paid or free. Most outsourcing IT companies provide free technical consultations to customers in various media. Very few IT professionals provide dedicated and one-on-one assistance. For those who subscribe to premium technical support, they get special services with immediate feedback in cases of problems after selecting a pay-as-you-go system.

The pay-as-you need scheme requires you a one-time charge to get immediate resolution in case you encounter issues in your bought software product or acquired service. You can customize your subscription either monthly or annually to increase or reduce the support level for any customer. This is highly recommended for firms that need routine tech support and maintenance.

Responsibilities of tech specialists

The roles of tech support experts vary. The company’s internal tech support personnel is focused on the smooth operation of computer systems. They ensure that staff receives optimum benefits from the support. Basic tasks are:

  • Hardware, software and apps’ diagnostics, installation, and configuration
  • Resolving issues and customer support through smartphone, online or face-to-face communication
  • Monitoring and maintenance of networks and systems
  • Troubleshooting systems and network issues
  • Repair and replacing parts
  • Ensure safety checks on digital equipment
  • Process documentation and reporting
  • Setting up new accounts and passwords
  • Respond to timely call outs
  • New apps testing and evaluation
  • Introduce tech initiatives, knowledge and new app support
  • Remove virus and malware in computer systems
  • Recover data
  • Conduct customization

High overhead costs

Hiring an in-house dedicated application development and maintenance teams means the added burden on the payroll for these SMEs and continuous investment on skill enchantment of their onshore support team to maintain their technological expertise. Inability to sustain the in-house key support staff skills enhancement and high overhead cost can post risks to the company’s business continuity plans.

With the current trends in cloud computing, virtualization, and available offshore voice and data communication technologies at very affordable rates, all these contribute to IT outsourcing of tech support and maintenance a good option for many SMEs. Many Chief Information Officers recognize the need for adopting an offshore application development and maintenance model within their IT strategy and the related savings to reducing the cost of developing their company’s IT application infrastructure to help increase their ROI.

At the same time, IT outsourcing offshore their business support services potentially minimize their business risks, which enable them to focus their efforts on their core competencies and client demands.

Most IT outsourcing companies provide end-to-end application maintenance services to SMEs to back their business operations. Their highly skilled staff ensure quick response time with guaranteed service levels (SLA) for your vital apps with minimum application downtime. Aside from your experts’ team and shared resources, supporting early versions of any app or technology is no longer a challenge.

Outsourced IT support team involves both dedicated development team application development and maintenance personnel. These are highly recommended for SMEs with basic apps and do not require full-time resources. Shared resources can either be employed for a fixed number of hours daily or can be contacted when needed to support any contingency tasks. Aside from addressing the company’s specific needs, the maintenance model can be customized based on the client’s requirements.

Application development and maintenance services are needed to do certain functions such as:

  • Track and resolve defects
  • Implement software change requests
  • Conduct emergency patches, releases, and version updates
  • Test and monitor performance
  • Execute quality assurance
  • Ensure proper system and user documentation
  • Upgrade technology of current apps
  • Assist in-app upgrade or mobile and/or a cloud migration
  • Create database backup and app-related infrastructure support
  • Provide reinforcement of needed support by the team

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