Rightsizing Your Help Desk Team: Part 4While you don’t want your IT personnel to be overwhelmed, your organization can focus on a few factors that can effectively increase the ratio of end users to each help desk team member. A support ratio of about 70:1 is suitable for organizations using a single operating system on their network, plus working with established standards for the hardware installed. This Mean Value Index, established by Gartner, an independent research firm, lowers to 45:1 for networks with a number of operating systems and no hardware standards.
Efforts to standardize help desk team ratios have proven difficult for enterprises and researchers. By focusing on a variety of factors, you can increase or decrease the ratio to come up with an approximate number for your particular organization. If your company is intent on driving down costs, then these will prove useful in establishing a user to help desk personnel ratio that supports a cost-effective support model. Workloads and other statistics such as call response time, user downtime, and historical trends come in handy too. From a ratio standpoint, however, you can focus on the following factors.
- Administrative Control: Restricting most end users from administrative control supports a more centralized model of systems management. In addition, it prevents administrative errors and inadvertent or even purposeful changes to system settings by disgruntled employees. You can increase the ratio by 10:1, to add the number of end users to support technicians in a system with restricted control.
- Complete Restriction of Administrative Control: If administrative control is completely restricted, add 5:1 instead. A single source of control adds some work for IT, instead of making the network easier to manage. The benefits, therefore, are not as strong as having restricted control.
- Remote Software Deployment: Remote deployments of software, especially using tools such as SMS, allows for a centralized administrative model to be effective. Adding 20:1 to your base ratio will help identify a close number for help desk team size that is cost-efficient.
- Remote Control: Add 15:1 if administrators in your organization use a remote control tool. Remote management increases oversight for the entire network, so support technicians can manage more end users and machines. Setting up this type of system can help save on the overall cost of IT in your enterprise.
- PC Imaging: Add 15:1 if you clone PCs. Less is at stake if computer content and data are cloned on servers and remote cloud systems. If a problem does occur, less effort is required to restore individual computers or arrive at a solution.
- Centralized Help: If the help desk is centralized, then it is easier to route technicians to problem areas, monitor for issues, and coordinate effectively. The ratio can be increased by 15:1 in this scenario.
- Distributed Support: Having a distributed support model is a benefit only if you are part of a large organization. Administrators can be overwhelmed and ineffective if confined to a centralized desk, in this case. With a distributed support model for a large enterprise, add 5:1 to the ratio. You can increase the productivity of the IT help desk team and your employees.
With these figures, you can take into account your current infrastructure to come to an ideal ratio. Using them to rightsize your help desk team in a planning stage is also made easer. The key point for being cost-effective is to constantly monitor employee and departmental productivity and the effectiveness of your support team. These ratio calculations can also serve to aid adjustments at any time, so your organization can run efficiently and consistently, while overcoming any hurdles along the way.
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