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The High Cost of Inefficient IT Support on the End User Experience

IT Support San Antonio

The High Cost of Inefficient IT Support on the End User Experience


July 2013

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IT Support San Antonio

The High Cost of Inefficient IT Support on the End User Experience

 IT Support San Antonio

What does IT support cost your business?  Does the quality of the IT support your company delivers improve or diminish the bottom line?

Measuring application performance, Aberdeen Group research showed us that business performance starts to decline when key applications are just 5 seconds slower than usual.  Said another way, if one key application stops responding for 5 seconds for a company with 1000 employees, almost an hour and a half of productivity have been lost.

What can we do about that, turns out quite a lot, but that is likely not where the biggest hole in your IT support operation is.  The biggest hole in your profit bucket is likely the newest guy in the IT department, and the new guy almost always sits on the support desk.

IT support desks should be like a pit crew on race day with the singular objective to resolve issues and get employees productive again as soon as possible. 

MetricNet, a company focusing on the quality and metrics of support desks, did the research on IT support desks and the results will probably have you rethinking how you handle IT support and allocate training dollars.

According to their research on the average cost of Level 1 IT support, that first guy that picks up the phone when end users call, is $22 per ticket.  Even more interesting than that is what happens to the average cost of a support ticket when the Level 1 guy does not have an answer for the problem and escalates the ticket to the next level.  The cost of the ticket nearly triples, averaging $62 for Level 2 support.

The average number of tickets, again thanks to MetricNet, is 164 per IT support technician.  If we could resolve even half of those tickets and eliminate the need to escalate to Level 2 could save $3,281 a month or almost $40,000 per IT support technician/year. (82 tickets x $62 per ticket – 82 tickets x $22 per ticket) x 12 = $39,373 per tech)

Escalating a ticket to the top level, vendor support, cost doubles again from $196 per ticket to an average ticket cost of $471 albeit on a much smaller quantity of tickets.

The finer point here is we are not talking about refining your IT support operation to the point where you can squeeze another 5 seconds of productivity out of your organization when the escalation of tickets through the levels of support is likely impacting you in a more significant way.

To reduce your IT support ticket costs, you have three levers:

  1. Reduce the numbers of tickets with proactive maintenance, replacing troubling systems and educating end users.
  2. Reduce the time spent per ticket by improving the tools your support desk has to work with or improving your documentation and incident knowledgebase.
  3. Establish metrics like Cost per Incident, Cost per Service Request, First Contact Resolution Rate among others to remove the guesswork and help you see the specific aspects that are causing your IT organization the most churn.

Each employee is a productivity engine. When systems work right, the End User Experience, job quality, and productivity increase.

The final message here is that getting an understanding of what IT support tickets really cost your organization at each level of escalation can help you clarify the support desk mission and help you adjust focus to the six or eight metrics that will give you the visibility you need to begin making meaningful improvements.


1Aberdeen Group (2010) “Extending APM: Managing Application Performance Inside and Outside the Corporate Firewall” http://www.aberdeen.com

 2Aberdeen Group (2008) “The Performance of Web Applications: Customers are Won or Lost in One Second” http://www.aberdeen.com/aberdeen-library/5136/RA-performance-web-application.aspx

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