Industry Study Identifies Important Trends in Help Desk, IT Service and Support Industry

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — February 7, 2006 — HDI, 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 its annual Practices & Salary Survey. The study, designed to provide high-level guidance to help desks and IT service and support center managers, identifies performance, technology, service and compensation trends. For the first time, HDI has combined its well-respected annual Practices and Salary Surveys into one report. The survey includes analyses of data in industry verticals, including healthcare, government, financial services, computer software and hardware and higher education.

Some of the key trends in help desk and IT support center practices include:
  • The cost of support has remained stable, with the median cost per incident reported via the phone, e-mail, and self-service being $20, $16, and $5 respectively
  • While phone support continues to be most costly of these three, it also continues to be the most common channel for customers to seek assistance (62%)
  • 25% of respondents answer the phone within 10 seconds; 28% answer the phone within 20 seconds. On the other end of the spectrum, 43% indicated that response time to incidents reported via e-mail exceeds one hour
  • The number of incidents is on the rise with the average number for 2005 at 7,796, compared to 7,561 in 2004, a 3% increase
  • The most reported reasons for this increase were changes (upgrades, conversions and installations), growth in the number of customers and more responsibilities for the support organization, indicating that the role of the support professional continues to expand
  • The average number of applications supported by respondents is 314. The median is 61
  • Respondents providing 24x7 support increased 5% since last year to 41%; 22% provided 24x7 support in 2003 and 36% in 2004
  • Plans to become ITIL-certified increased from 17.8% in 2003 to 27.4% in 2004 to 32.4% in 2005; and adoption of ITIL processes is also on the rise
  • 66% responded that they seek certified individuals, but do not require them
  • The top five vendor problem tracking systems are Remedy ARS, FrontRange Solutions’ HEAT, Peregrine, Remedy Magic and homegrown systems
  • Statistics regarding outsourcing remained stable over 2004. Two areas that did report a considerable increase were the outsourcing of after hour service (from 7% to 9%) and peak call loads (from 2% to 5%) “It appears that support organizations are opting for outsourcing some functions rather than increasing their staff,” commented Ron Muns, founder and CEO of HDI. “While we continue to see a move toward outsourcing, the momentum has seemed to slow down which may reflect the increased value and business alignment happening within the support organization.” Key US IT service and support salary findings include:
  • Although the overall economy continues to rebound, the IT support industry continues to experience cost pressures, through headcount reductions, numerous sourcing solutions and advances in self-help technologies
  • Overall, comparisons from year to year have seen a slight increase in salaries, and reflect the rebound in the overall technology market
  • Factors determining salary increases remained consistent with prior years. Customer service skills are the most important factors for call screeners and Level 1 support. Specific technical knowledge leads for the Level 2, Level 3 and desk top support professionals
  • The entry level salary for the call screener/dispatch position is the highest in the healthcare sector and the lowest in the education sector
  • Senior support managers in the computer industry receive an average salary of $85,309, compared to the education sector, which averages $72,460 “We are seeing a growing acknowledgement by employers that certification and certified individuals are more productive, more likely to be promoted, and in some companies, command higher salaries. I have witnessed this transition over the years and it is great to see it reflected in the data.”

    HDI collected survey data from 790 companies. The majority of respondents were HDI members (76%). The responses were collected from July through November 2005.

    Pricing and Availability

    The HDI 2005 Practices & Salary Survey is available via the HDI eStore, or by calling (800) 248-5667.HDI Member Price: $59.00; Non-Member Price: $79.00. The HDI survey was sponsored by BMC Software.

    Media and analysts who would like a complimentary copy of this report should contact Jen McClure, New Communications Strategies at +1 (650) 331-0083 or via email at [email protected].

    About HDI
    HDI is the world's largest membership association for IT service and support professionals and the premier certification body for the industry. Founded in 1989, HDI's mission is to lead and promote the IT service and support industry by empowering its members through access to timely and valuable industry information, including reports and publications; encouraging member collaboration through events and online forums; and establishing internationally recognized, standards-based industry certification and training programs. In addition to membership, certification and training, HDI produces the world's largest and highest-rated event for service and support professionals, the HDI Annual Conference & Expo. HDI is member-focused, and remains vendor-neutral in its efforts to facilitate open, independent networking and information sharing within the association network. HDI has more than 7,500 members worldwide including most of the Fortune 500, and 60 local chapters in North America. For more information, visit


    Media Contact:

    Jennifer McClure
    New Communications Strategies
    (650) 331-0083 - office
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    [email protected]