IT support refers to various services that organizations offer to end-users of computer-related technologies or services, such as hardware or software. It is an industry term that is often used interchangeably with information technology (IT) support, which is an entirely separate field. In most cases, IT support simply provides assistance regarding specific technical issues with a computer or software product, rather than offering customized support, provisioning or customization of that product, or any other support services. A typical IT support solution would include assessing the problem, suggesting possible solutions, testing the suggested solutions, implementing the suggested solutions, and/or educating users on the proper use of the computer or software product that was used in the issue. The ultimate goal of an IT support solution is to successfully complete the issue without having to make modifications to the original software or hardware that caused the issue in the first place.
Information technology (IT) support can be provided by a variety of sources.
Major companies may provide IT support as part of their overall customer support and service program. This typically involves the company providing technical support services to its entire customer base, rather than a single customer at a time. Other organizations, however, do not provide IT support as part of their overall customer support and service program but may instead contract with private firms that specialize in computer hardware, or software, as well as with service providers that provide online and telephone technical support to individual customers. Outsourcing IT support can be advantageous to smaller businesses that do not have the resources to invest in hiring in-house IT professionals, but may also be a disadvantage for smaller businesses that do not contract with established IT support firms.
Outsourcing IT support may also be related to the different types of on-demand and on-site computer support services that are provided by some service providers. Some companies may outsource on-demand technical support, which involves a service provider fulfilling specific requests from clients within a short time frame. The request could be for an update to a piece of software, a software update, or for any other type of IT support, such as help desk tickets or remote PC repair.
On-demand managed services refer to computer systems that are purchased on a monthly or annual basis, such as certain types of business software or office suites that are usually purchased as part of a contract with a specific information technology company. These contracts usually specify the frequency and amount of use of the IT support company’s services, as well as the rights to restart the computer systems in the case of a problem. Some managed services companies provide services through their websites, while others work through telephonic or personal services for their customers. Many other IT support companies provide off-site, self-managed services using remote computers at a remote location. Computer services provided by off-site computer repair companies fall under this category.
Remote PC repair is another service under the computer hardware and software information technology support job description. In this role, an individual or a team of individuals provides technical support to either personal computers or company networks. If personal computers need repair, the person or team would be responsible for providing hardware and software upgrades, repairing the computer, and providing troubleshooting instructions. For company networks, individuals who are skilled in network engineering may be hired to provide technical support to company data or networks.
Computer technicians can also provide computer support through an in-house role.
An in-house position could be for a single employee who works in the department to resolve hardware issues. Other positions in an in-house position may include a group supervisor who oversees the entire department and has authority over workers and provides training and advice to employees. Computer support technician positions in the retail sector, where many retailers store computer equipment and accessories, fall under this category. Retail stores may hire individuals to resolve common issues such as when a flash drive fails, or when the hard drive becomes too full.
- On-demand versus in-house IT support services are very different and each type has different types of skill sets required for the position.
- On-demand personnel are typically temporary employees hired by a company to resolve short-term IT support issues.
- Many companies use temporary employees from staffing agencies to resolve these types of issues because of their lower cost and because IT support specialists have more time to devote to the task.
On-demand techs are trained on a short-term basis, but can handle any problem that comes up quickly. This means that on-demand staff may need to be called in at any time to provide support for a company’s computer network, data, and software applications.
For businesses seeking IT support services, it is important to understand the different types of support services available. IT professionals are required to have a broad range of skills, knowledge, and expertise in order to effectively provide customer service. As the demand for IT support services increases, there are a variety of IT support service providers who specialize in different types of expertise. The IT support technicians who work for these vendors have the skill set necessary to handle any IT issue that comes their way.