Outsource the Service Desk

If your outsourcing project is driven by cost alone, you will fail.


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Your Challenge

  • Significant administrative work and up-front costs are required to outsource the service desk, and poor planning often results in project failure and decreases in end-user satisfaction.
  • A complete turnover of the service desk can result in lost knowledge and control over processes.
  • The service desk represents all of IT. Its processes are critical to the effective and timely delivery of IT services.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • If you are outsourcing only to save money, you will fail. The goal of outsourcing should be to improve key service metrics, not reduce costs.
  • Don’t sweep your service desk problems under the outsourcing rug. Poor processes won’t disappear by outsourcing; they’ll merely be relocated. Take the time to define processes and standardize workflows before outsourcing.
  • Don’t let the outsource service provider dictate your services and service levels. Set clear expectations for service up-front, and have an exit strategy in case service levels are not met.

Impact and Result

  • Outsourcing should ultimately be motivated by the end-user experience; cutting costs should not come at the expense of a drop in service quality.
  • A maturity assessment will help determine whether or not outsourcing is applicable for the current state of your service desk.
  • Design a comprehensive outsourcing strategy in order to support the development of a detailed RFP.
  • Evaluate RFP responses using a detailed interview process. Working with your top candidate before you sign a contract will allow you to determine a cultural match between both parties.


  • Rob Morano, Co-Founder, The Hackerati, Inc.
  • Vince Voiro, Senior Analyst, Kepler Group
  • Gerry Veugelaers, Service Delivery Manager, New Zealand Defense Force
  • Gautam Bangalore, Business Analyst, Optus
  • Jeremy Gagne, Application Support Delivery Manager, Allegis Group
  • Carol Schaner, Service Desk Supervisor, Allegis Group
  • Keith Larsen, Managing Consultant, Comtek Group
  • Victoria Helps, Service Manager, Ravensdown
  • Michael Dean, Director of User Support Services, Des Moines University
  • Michael Lenhardt, Account Executive, TUC Managed IT Solutions

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Get to Action

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should focus on value when outsourcing your service desk, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

  1. Assess service desk maturity and outsourcing feasibility

    Determine whether outsourcing is the correct choice for improving your service desk.

  2. Build outsourcing strategy and RFP

    Create a detailed outsourcing strategy and capture that message in a comprehensive RFP in order to secure a quality group of respondents.

  3. Execute and manage the transition

    Evaluate your RFP responses and make your selection, then complete the transition to an outsourced service desk.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is a nine call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Assess maturity and feasibility

  • Call #1: Define the structure of your service desk and identify service desk agent skills and gaps.

  • Call #2: Complete service desk maturity assessment and analyze results.

  • Call #3: Complete service desk efficiency assessment and analyze results; use results of both assessments to determine whether outsourcing is appropriate.

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Build strategy and RFP

  • Call #1: Identify goals and objectives of outsourcing; define roles and responsibilities for the project.

  • Call #2: Identify key success metrics; outline strategy for the outsourcing project.

  • Call #3: Identify current and future requirements from an MSP; use requirements to complete a detailed RFP to issue to MSPs.

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Execute and manage transition

  • Call #1: Evaluate RFP responses using the scoring tool.

  • Call #2: Complete the script of interview questions to ask MSPs and references.

  • Call #3: Choose MSP and discuss plan for managing the transition and defining an exit strategy before signing the contract.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Prepare Your Service Desk for Outsourcing

The Purpose

  • Assess your service desk maturity.
  • Develop a plan for preparing for outsourcing.
  • Assess the cost of outsourcing.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Improved service desk maturity.
  • Clear definition of outsourcing project structure.
  • Understanding of total cost of outsourcing.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Assess service desk maturity.
  • Service Desk Maturity Assessment
1.2 Design your tiered service desk.
  • Service Desk Cost Estimate
1.3 Create an outsourcing decision matrix.
1.4 Complete a service desk feasibility assessment.

Module 2: Develop Your Outsourcing Strategy

The Purpose

  • Prepare an outsourcing strategy based on the current and future state of the service desk.
  • Identify goals and objectives, risks, constraints, and metrics.  

Key Benefits Achieved

  • A clear vision for what your outsourced service desk seeks to achieve and how you are going to achieve it.

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Identify roles and responsibilities.
  • Outsourcing Strategy
2.2 Identify goals and objectives.
2.3 Outline potential risks and constraints.
2.4 Define tension metrics to balance reporting.

Module 3: Develop Your Outsourcing RFP

The Purpose

  • Build a comprehensive RFP based on the outputs of your strategy and the activities in this module.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Identification of current and future requirements.
  • Distinction made between outsourced and retained services.
  • Detailed RFP to ensure respondents are the right-sized fit. 

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Identify current and future requirements.
  • Service Desk Outsourcing RFP
3.2 Outline ITSM solution requirements.
3.3 Define in-house and retained service desk functions.
3.4 Complete RFP.

Module 4: Select a Managed Service Provider and Manage the Transition

The Purpose

  • Develop a process for evaluating RFP responses, selecting an outsourcing partner, and managing the transition.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Defined evaluation process for RFP responses.
  • Clear exit conditions.
  • Identification of roles for both parties involved.

Activities: Outputs:
4.1 Develop interview questions for candidate managed service providers and client references.
  • MSP Interview Script
  • Client Reference Interview Script
4.2 Score RFP responses.
  • RFP Scoring Summary
4.3 Identify roles and responsibilities.
4.4 Develop exit strategy.
  • Exit Strategy

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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