Outsourcing IS Support


    This Web-based slideshow was presented back in 2002 at a Madison Support Professional Network meeting by Paul Masnica, associate VP for TDS I.S. Customer Support. If you’re looking for a useful rundown specifically on the outsourcing of IS support, you’ll pick up some useful advice here. You’ll get a basic education in such topics as establishing the appropriate cost model:

    There are a Number of Cost Models to Use:

    The Service Consumption Model

    • Standard fee for “service units” used (ex. Helpdesk call/incident, security changen, IMAC, etc.)
    • Good model to use if internal model involves charge-backs to the business
    • Risk = the result of using more is paying more (know your volumes and control your operation)

    The Fixed Baseline Model

    • Baseline volumes are established from historical data and agreed with the service provider, with upper and lower boundary set around the baselines
    • If upper limit is exceeded, additional charges could be applied, usually based on “service consumption” model
    • If lower limit is not reached, charges could apply and/or the boundary limit could be renegotiated

    The Dedicated Resource Model

    • Charges are based on the number of resources the service provider dedicates to your business and an agreed-upon fee schedule that is part of the contract (tiered based on multiple factors such as function, expertise, language, hours of coverage, etc.)
    • As volume changes, the number of support resources required will also change
    • Business forecasts & trends fed back from the service provider will be the main drives for changes (ample lead times will be required for resource changes)
    • Model well suited for environments with IS project-type involvement

    …and measuring results:

    Measurement is Essential in an Outsourced Environment to Understand How the Service Provider is Performing:

    Service Level Agreements:

    • Benefits:

    o Identifies expected performance levels

    o Sets all customer expectations

    o Facilitation mechanism for support of the on-going business operation

    o Procedures for monitoring, reporting, and improving performance

    o Procedures for escalation

    • Use existing data and SLAs to define new SLAs with the Service Provider
    • New SLAs can be established if no historical data or SLA exists:

    o Setting a minimum service level and reaching an agreement based on service assumptions

    o Monitoring the actual performance levels for an agreed period of time and use the data as a basis for the SLA

    • The SLA can (and should) include penalties if the service provider fails to meet the required service level
    • Much of the basis for this comes from the statement of work and actual contract with the service provider