An investigation into the impact of the outsourcing of 'on-site' user support - a case study of the European Higher Education Centre
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This study investigates the impact of the outsourcing of 'on-site' user support positions. Throughout literature the topic of outsourcing has garnered significant attention, experiencing various trends regarding the perceived benefits or repercussions of outsourcing throughout the years. Much of this literature includes studies and research into the area of Business Process Outsourcing. Independently, literature also suggests that user support is an aspect of many organisations that is recognised as being an almost ideal candidate for outsourcing. This study seeks to address this gap in literature by bringing together these two disciplines and through the use of a case study, investigate the full impact of the outsourcing of 'on-site' user support positions. In the course of conducting the research, a case study organisation was identified and subsequently data and information were collected. The data collection followed a unique sampling model based upon the identification of four actor groups within an outsourcing contract and subsequently the collected data was analysed in two parts, first it was analysed in its isolated perspective and then a detailed analysis took place that ignored the boundaries of perspective. The research discovered that the outsourcing company within this case study operate with a significantly high profit margin which consequently meant that lower skilled technicians were being employed and a high price was being charged for this service. Furthermore, motivation of technicians was a problem due to a lack of career opportunities. The study was also able to demonstrate the requirements that the end users have of user support and indicate to what extent these needs are met, with a general model being used to categorise user support tasks and the knowledge required to complete them. The conclusion revealed a series of questions that can be asked in order to minimise surprise regarding the true impact that the outsourcing of user support positions can have: • Have the End Users been consulted regarding the consideration of outsourcing? • What is the skill level of the technician that the outsourcing company will provide? • Can a technician be employed internally for a similar cost? • ls it possible to maintain the prospective technician's level of motivation through means of career opportunities, either within the outsourcing company, or the host organisation? • What skills or qualities do the end users require or desire from user support, and can they be better provided by outsourcing or by employing a technician internally? These questions are not definitive, as circumstances will dictate the specifics of any situation, however they are best utilised by being considering as enriching the decision making process when considering the option of outsourcing user support.
BSc (Hons) Business Information Systems
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