Hiring Out the Desktop Support Services

When executives at Indianapolis-based Duke Realty established a five-year strategic plan that called for expanding from 14 to 24 markets, they decided the new offices would start out small.

For CIO Paul Quinn, that posed challenges. For example, it meant he would have to craft a new approach to providing desktop support services for the $850-million real estate investment trust company with locations throughout the Midwest and Southeast.

Duke Realty's longtime practice of providing support from a central location would be cost-prohibitive as the company expanded, Quinn says. "Moving into new markets with smaller footprints means that we can't fly in someone anytime there's an IT support issue," he says. Consequently, he opted to outsource desktop support for the entire company.

After doing some research, Quinn chose TechTeam Global Inc., based in Southfield, Mich., to provide call center-based help desk services. In addition to price, Quinn says a primary selection criterion was the rate at which help desk staff solved problems during the first phone call, which was roughly 20% to 25%. The contract began in November. "Within a month, first-call resolution rates doubled," compared with Duke Realty's experience with another help desk provider and former in-house staff, he says.

As for Quinn's IT department, about eight employees lost their jobs, although some transitioned to TechTeam. The remaining 38 IT employees have now moved out of the business of desktop support and can instead support Duke Realty's growth by building value-added systems, such as a property management application. Problem solved.

Megan Santosus, a former senior editor at CIO Decisions, is now a features editor for SearchDataCenter.com. Write to her at msantosus@techtarget.com.

This was first published in February 2006

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