The ROI of IT Support Improvements (Think Big)

Jul 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM | costs of service call escalation The ROI of IT Support Improvements (Think Big)

It's intuitively logical that improving support processes saves money. What's surprising is the level of cost savings achievable with even small improvements.

It’s hardly news to point out that service desk improvements provide numerous benefits to an enterprise: happier employees, reduced downtime, more time for IT staff to focus on strategic priorities.

And it’s intuitively logical that improving support processes saves money. What may be surprising, however, is the level of cost savings that can be achieved across a large organization through even small improvements in support practices.

According to research from MetricNet, reported in the white paper The Economic Impact of Support, the average cost of an IT support ticket starts at about $22 for Level 1 (service desk) support and rises dramatically as issues are escalated, reaching $196 per ticket for field support and a whopping $471 for vendor support.

Costs of Service Call Escalation
Image credit: MetricNet















Of course, some issues need to be escalated. But the white paper focused on the cost of escalating tickets that could have and should have been solved through first-level support. Such issues exist in every large organization. The good news is that, because of the steep cost rise as tickets are escalated, improving service desk practices to resolve more Level 1 issues at the service desk can yield enormous returns.

As the white paper notes, “The difference between the top- and bottom-quartile performers is a staggering thirty hours per employee per year! Put another way, support organizations in the top quartile are able to return nearly four extra days of productivity annually for every knowledge worker in the enterprise. When multiplied by thousands or even tens of thousands of employees in a company, the productivity gains and ROI delivered by a top-performing support organization can be tremendous!” In the case of the insurance company profiled in the report, the cost difference of being a top-quartile performer vs. a bottom-quartile company amounted to more than $6 million annually.

So how can an organization improve help desk processes to achieve that kind of cost reduction? One key strategy is to address gaps in service delivery processes incrementally. By making a series of small changes, rather than attempting a single “big bang” overhaul of IT support, staff remain motivated by achieving and celebrating a succession of small victories.

For more ideas, check out Five Steps to a Better Service Desk on

Tom Pick

Written By: Tom Pick