Discover a powerful Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for support organizations to demonstrate efficiency and fund growth.

Managing increasing support load while creating measurable efficiency is one of the biggest challenges for IT today. This was the challenge for a global social media company as they experienced hyper growth over the past decade. Their CIO and executive leadership required IT operations, including user facing support, to deliver the highest quality employee IT experience while also demonstrating cost efficiencies over time.

The company’s IT managers struggled to meet both these objectives while also supporting hyper growth in excess of 50 percent quarter over quarter.

These struggles included:

  • Demonstrating measurably cost efficiency over time while supporting increasing demand
  • Difficulty proving that funding to grow user-facing support tooling is beneficial for the business
  • Justifying support headcount ahead of every increasing support ticket load

Because this social media company was experiencing month-over-month growth and required service to cost effectively scale over time, IT management struggled to find a way to scale user facing support. IT could not recruit, onboard and train high-quality support technicians fast enough to meet demand, leading them to struggle to deliver quality support – let alone while creating efficiencies. Introducing a new measurable, Cost Per Supported User, allowed them to measure the cost of IT services in a meaningful way that enabled them to manage their growth while delivering high-quality customer experience.

About CPSU

Understanding Cost Per Supported User (CPSU) can be invaluable for companies – like the social media company above – who need to meet increased support demand while driving cost efficiency.

Cost Per Supported User (CPSU) is a key performance indicator (KPI) that every IT manager, from VP of IT Operations to Manager of User Support, needs to define and track to effectively manage support over time. CPSU provides a way of calculating how much is being spent on IT services for each user, and tracking that number allows companies to see how their costs are trending over time, even as their service numbers grow. While IT costs will rise for growing companies, CPSU makes it possible to determine whether services are being delivered with increased efficiency. 

Although how CPSU is calculated varies by organization, it ultimately encompasses the monthly recurring operating expenses (OPEX) directly associated with IT services delivered to internal workers, including employees and contingent workers.  

Examples include:

  • Annual software Maintenance and Support (M&S) or monthly subscriptions for desktop productivity applications your Help Desk supports, such as Microsoft Office or Google Apps
  • Depreciation expense for IT support tools, including IT ticketing systems, remote support tools, mobile device management, compute fleet management and password management
  • Headcount cost associated with resolving monthly support tickets, including Helpdesk and Desktop support as well as the teams that handle tier 2 user support escalations

Gaining IT funding with CPSU

One of the biggest challenges IT managers at growing companies face is making a solid case to get the funding they need to scale support and operations services. By using CPSU, IT managers can effectively articulate the cost required to support each new employee while demonstrating how they are effectively managing growth. With CPSU, IT managers can track how IT investments will become more efficient over time by calculating how CPSU will diminish over time as the company grows.

When the social media company began using CPSU as an KPI internally and when communicating with the finance and executive teams, they were able to understand which IT costs were beneficial and gain approval for incremental operating expenses being driven by headcount growth over time. That means they were able to obtain the resources they needed to meet demand and provide quality customer experiences for their users.

CPSU and Outsourcing

Similarly, one Astreya customer was struggling to quantify their IT costs. The company was outsourcing to manage scaling their IT services, specifically their user facing support. The company quickly realized that SLAs were only giving them a partial picture of the services, making it difficult to truly gauge the quality and value of a provider’s service delivery.  

Using CPSU as a key performance indicator for the managed service provider, along with implementing an outsourced Help Desk model built around world-class SLAs and deep sentiment analysis, the company was able to ensure their outsourced user support consistently delivered quality support. Even as the company experienced recurring employee growth rates of more than 50 percent over six quarters, they were able to maintain:

  • More than 90 percent of users rating their help desk experiences as “Exceptional”
  • Demonstrate economies of scale with a 3 percent reduction in CPSU over 16 consecutive quarters 
  • A Help Desk resolution rate of more than 70 percent for global user support

Discover Astreya Service Desk for your business

If your company requires scalable high quality user support that can achieve more than 70 percent resolution with a reduction in CPSU quarter over quarter, Astreya can help. Our Managed Service Desk can be an extension of your organization designed to resolve 70 percent of user-facing support while delivering a quality customer experience that goes beyond CSAT surveys.