A volatile economic environment, increased investor scrutiny and changing regulations have put the spotlight on organizational transparency and operational risk at investment firms. These factors, combined with the rising overhead costs inherent in owning, managing and monitoring a technology infrastructure and related services, have caused technology to take on a greater importance in recent years. It’s become a competitive differentiator and – with the explosive growth of cloud computing –a game-changer for funds’ operational strategies.
One major change we’re seeing within the industry is a trend toward outsourcing. In the past, we’ve discussed a number of outsourcing options, such as cloud computing, colocation, FIX connectivity and staffing. Today, let’s take a deeper dive into one aspect of outsourced staffing: leveraging a third-party help desk for day-to-day technology questions, systems management and troubleshooting.
Advantages of Outsourcing Your Help Desk
Your team’s primary focus is on making sound investment decisions. For third-party technology providers, the focus is on delivering IT solutions and the accompanying services necessary to support your objectives. Leveraging the expertise of their staff can help your fund remain focused on what’s most important, while trusting that your technology is in good hands. Other advantages include:
24x7x365 global support: For firms with offices in multiple cities, having a help desk team that offers a central point of contact for all IT issues regardless of the day, time or geographic location is crucial to maintaining IT efficiency. In-house technologists are likely not available around the clock, whereas an outsourced help desk provider has skilled engineers available at all times.
Extensive experience: Help desk professionals work with systems like yours on a regular basis, so they possess expertise in areas such as networking, security, telecommunications and the financial applications you depend on. The best third-party providers will maintain a vast amount of documentation on your company’s nuances so that everyone on the team understands the details of your unique environment and can proceed accordingly should an issue arise.
Remote Management Capabilities: For infrastructures that are designed to be managed remotely and securely, third-party help desk personnel can access routers, firewalls, switches and more via a secure remote management system. Thus, engineers can assist your employees with IT issues that may occur even when they're not physically in the office.
IT Systems Monitoring: Not only do outsourced help desks resolve issues that your employees encounter, they can also resolve issues before you’re even aware of them. Top tier support desks are equipped with 24‐hour alert monitoring, so that if an issue occurs behind the scenes, the help desk team is the first to know. When an alert is received, they can act as first responders to work towards fixing the problem before it influences the fund’s operations.
Third-Party Applications Liaison: In addition to providing solutions for IT infrastructure issues, the help desk acts as a fund’s advocate for third-party applications. The team is able to ask the necessary questions to determine the issue and put your firm in contact with a representative who will work to resolve the problem.