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How Traditional Support Models Hinder Business Performance

25/03/2024 minute read OneAdvanced PR

In today's fast-paced business environment, the service desk plays a critical role in ensuring the smooth operation of an organisation's IT infrastructure. However, many companies still rely on a traditional reactive service desk model, where technicians primarily respond to user-reported issues as they arise. While this approach may seem straightforward and cost-effective, it can lead to significant financial consequences that often go unnoticed. In this blog, we'll explore the hidden costs of a reactive service desk, understand why it remains prevalent, and outline the steps to transition to a more modern, proactive culture.

Understanding the Reactive Service Desk

A reactive service desk operates on a "firefighting" mentality, where technicians spend most of their time addressing user complaints and resolving issues after they have already impacted productivity. In this model, the service desk waits for users to report problems before taking action, often resulting in prolonged downtime, frustrated employees, and reduced efficiency.

The reactive approach is commonly used for several reasons:

  1. Familiarity: Many organisations have relied on reactive support for years and are hesitant to change their established processes.

  2. Perceived Cost Savings: Reactive support may appear less expensive initially, as it requires fewer resources and less proactive investment.

  3. Lack of Awareness: Some organisations may not fully understand the long-term financial impact of a reactive approach or the benefits of proactive support.

 The Financial Impact of a Reactive Service Desk

While a reactive service desk may seem like a cost-effective option, it can lead to significant financial consequences:

  1. Lost Productivity: When employees experience technology issues, they are unable to work efficiently. The longer it takes to resolve these issues, the more productivity is lost, resulting in reduced output and lost revenue.

  2. Increased Downtime: Reactive support often leads to longer resolution times, as technicians must diagnose and fix problems after they have already caused disruptions. This extended downtime can have a ripple effect across the organisation, impacting multiple departments and processes.

  3. Higher Support Costs: Constantly responding to user-reported issues can be more expensive in the long run. Reactive support often requires more resources, such as additional technicians, to handle the volume of tickets. Moreover, the lack of proactive maintenance can lead to more frequent and severe issues, requiring costly repairs or replacements.

  4. Reduced Employee Morale: When employees consistently face technology challenges and experience delays in getting support, their morale and job satisfaction suffer. This can lead to increased turnover, which comes with substantial costs related to hiring, training, and lost institutional knowledge.

  5. Missed Opportunities: When the service desk is bogged down with reactive tasks, there is little time for proactive initiatives that could improve efficiency, optimise processes, and drive innovation. This opportunity cost can hinder the organisation's ability to stay competitive and adapt to changing market conditions.

Leveraging MSPs for a Proactive Service Desk Transformation

In the quest to evolve from a reactive to a proactive service desk, outsourcing to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can serve as a strategic accelerator. An MSP brings to the table expertise, advanced technology, and a dedicated focus on pre-emptively managing IT environments, offering several advantages:

Access to Specialised Expertise and Advanced Technologies

MSPs specialise in IT management and have a wealth of experience across various industries. By partnering with an MSP, organisations gain access to a pool of experts who are skilled in identifying, diagnosing, and preventing IT issues before they escalate. Furthermore, MSPs invest in cutting-edge technologies, including sophisticated monitoring and automation tools, that many organisations may find cost-prohibitive to implement on their own. This access enables a swift transition to a proactive service desk model without the need for significant upfront investment in technology and training.

Scalable and Flexible Support Structure

Outsourcing to an MSP provides a scalable IT support structure that can adjust to fluctuating demands. Whether it's scaling up to handle growth or scaling down in slower periods, MSPs offer flexibility that can be challenging to achieve with an in-house team. This adaptability ensures that the service desk remains efficient and cost-effective, regardless of the organisation's changing needs.

Enhanced Focus on Core Business Operations

By delegating the responsibility of managing the service desk to an MSP, organisations can reallocate internal resources towards strategic initiatives and core business operations. This shift not only optimises the use of internal talent but also ensures that IT services are handled by specialists dedicated to maintaining a proactive, high-functioning service desk. As a result, businesses can focus on innovation and growth, confident in the knowledge that their IT infrastructure is proactively managed and supported.

Continuous Improvement and Strategic IT Planning

MSPs don't just maintain the status quo; they are constantly looking for ways to improve IT efficiency and align IT services with business objectives. Through regular reviews and strategic planning sessions, MSPs help organisations anticipate future IT needs, plan for upgrades, and adopt new technologies that drive competitive advantage. This strategic partnership ensures that the service desk evolves in tandem with the organisation, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and long-term success.

Predictable IT Spending

One of the financial benefits of partnering with an MSP is the transformation of unpredictable IT expenses into a predictable, fixed monthly cost. This budget predictability aids in financial planning and eliminates the sudden spikes in spending associated with emergency repairs and downtime recovery in a reactive service desk model.


The financial impact of a traditional reactive service desk can be significant, with hidden costs that erode productivity, increase downtime, and hinder innovation. As the pace of technology continues to accelerate, organisations that prioritise a proactive service desk culture will be better positioned to adapt, innovate, and thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape. Learn more about outsourced service desks, or get in touch today.