Technical Support Centers Outsourcing Less, More Focused on Customer Service According to 2007 HDI Practices & Salary Survey

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — December 17, 2007 — HDI (http://www.thinkhdi.com), the world's largest membership association for IT service and support professionals and the premier certification body for the industry, today released the findings of the 2007 HDI Practices and Salary Survey. The study highlights important trends in the help desk and IT service and support industry. The 2007 survey results are based on responses provided by 1,005 IT service and support professionals, representing support centers in five countries and more than 30 industries with various staff and customer demographics. Some of the key findings in this year’s report include:

  • Support centers appear to be outsourcing support less than in the past. In 2006, 57% of respondents reported contracting with outsourcers. This year, only 42% of respondents reported that they outsource some portion of the support function; 58% reported that they do not, nor do they plan to do so.
  • 74% produce and report performance metrics, and about half share their metrics with external stakeholders such as customers and support partners – an increase from previous years.
  • Customer satisfaction ratings are high, with 76% reporting 4 to 5 ratings on a 1 to 5 scale. This finding aligns with the results in the HDI Customer Satisfaction Benchmarking Study.
  • Telephone and email continue to be the most widely used channels for reporting incidents. More than 70% of centers participating in the survey have average speed-to-answer (ASA) times of 30 seconds or less (approximately 1 to 6 rings). The data also suggest that email processes may be improving slightly. About 93% of incidents reported via email are resolved in three exchanges or less, an increase from 88% in 2006.
  • In terms of tool and technology usage: 81% of respondents are currently using remote monitoring/support tools; 68% of them have no plans to make changes to these tools; 88% of support centers are currently using incident management software, 30% of them are planning to replace/update it; 25% of support centers are planning to add self-help tools. And, the majority of respondents have purchased, but not fully implemented the capabilities of their service management tools
  • 26.6% of respondents are “planning to implement” Knowledge-Centered SupportTM
  • With 32.4% adoption and 27% “planning to implement,” ITIL is the largest single framework impacting the IT support industry. However, 23% of survey respondents are not using Service Level Agreements, Operational Level Agreements or Underpinning Contracts.
  • Incident management is on the rise, with more incidents to manage and the majority of support centers’ time (75%) spent on incident management. The increase is attributed to changes in infrastructure and/or products – suggesting that support center managers must constantly prepare for change within their support centers.
  • IT support professional salaries have risen only slightly since 2006. Plans for support centers next year include increased hiring for 45%, and layoffs for only 5%. It is a continued concern that there will be a lack of qualified workers to fill these positions.
“A central theme in 2007 seems to be an increasing emphasis on customer service,” noted Peggy Libbey, president and COO, HDI. “Support centers are focusing as many resources on providing staff with customer service skills as on technical skills and product knowledge training.”

“The HDI Practices and Salary Survey can be viewed confidently by readers who are interested in an overall look at the state of the industry,” commented Jenny Rains, research analyst, HDI. “It offers an inside look at the practices used by support centers throughout the industry. This allows support center managers to validate existing practices and discover new ideas for improving the current operations in their support center.”

“This year the HDI Practices and Salary Survey is even more valuable than in the past,” added Rich Hand, executive director of membership, HDI. “With more than one thousand respondents, we were able to analyze the data by industry and size of the organization with great confidence, due to the high level of participation by our members and the industry.”

Pricing and Availability

HDI members may download the HDI Annual Practices and Salary Survey from http://www.thinkhdi.com. Printed copies are available for purchase at http://www.thinkhdi.com/estore or by calling (800) 248-5667. Member price: $59 USD; Non-Member Price: $79 USD. Media and analysts who would like a complimentary copy of this report or a briefing with HDI’s research team should contact Allison Wroe at (719) 785-5355 or awroe@thinkhdi.com.

About HDI

HDI, a Think Service, Inc. company, is the world’s largest IT service and support membership association and the industry’s premier certification and training body. Guided by an international panel of industry experts and practitioners, HDI is the leading resource for help desk/support center emerging trends and best practices. HDI provides members with a vast repository of resources, networking opportunities and the largest industry event - the HDI Annual Conference and Expo. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, HDI offers training in multiple languages and countries. For more information, visit http://www.thinkhdi.com or call +1 719.268.0174. (Think Service, Inc. and HDI are not affiliated with Customers International Limited or HDI Europe.)

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Media Contact:

Allison Wroe
HDI
+1-719-785-5355
awroe@thinkhdi.com