News and Views

Choosing a Global Service Desk Solution for Your Irish Pharmaceutical Facility

by | 17 Apr, 2024

Whether you are an Irish pharmaceutical company, a multinational corporation with lab and/or manufacturing facilities in Ireland, or a company with a sales office in Ireland, you will need IT and technical support. There are multiple considerations when deciding on the best global service desk solution including, of course, cost.

Buying the cheapest option is straightforward but it will never deliver on your requirements. It will also end up costing you more in the end.

What other factors should you consider when balancing your options and making your decision? Four of the most important are:

  • Do you outsource to a managed service provider (MSP) or keep your service desk in-house?
  • Should the service desk be based in Ireland, or can the support staff be located anywhere?
  • Will general IT capabilities be sufficient or does the solution also require specific pharmaceutical industry expertise?
  • Do you need skilled engineers to provide the support, or will lower-skilled, non-technical staff be sufficient?

We can now look at each in more detail.


Outsource vs In-House

One of the first considerations is to decide to outsource your global service desk or use an in-house solution. An in-house solution could involve recruiting technical resources for your Ireland-based operation or utilising your existing in-house team based in another location.

Outsourcing offers a range of benefits over both in-house options:

  • You will have access to a wider range of skills when you outsource unless your existing team is large and diverse.
  • Your existing team may already be operating at close to capacity so will struggle to handle an additional workload.
  • You can more easily scale the service desk operation when you outsource to match the needs of your business.
  • You don’t have to worry about recruitment, retention, holiday cover, sickness, etc when you outsource.


Local vs Offshore

The next consideration is whether your service desk should be local or can the support be provided from anywhere. This consideration applies whether you are using an outsourced service or an in-house team but for this blog, we are going to focus on the outsourced option. So, should you use an Irish MSP for your global service desk needs, or will you get the support you need regardless of the MSP’s location?

One of the main reasons companies choose to offshore their global service desk is cost. The fact is, wages are typically higher in Ireland, so costs can also be higher.

That said, you will also get a substantially higher level of service when you work with an Irish-based MSP. An MSP based in Ireland will have a deep understanding of the local and European markets. It will be ingrained in Irish society and culture, helping to build relationships with your Irish-based team, as well as having local contacts in the industry – hardware vendors, software vendors, utilities providers, etc.

It’s also crucial not to underestimate the importance of having boots on the ground. A lot of the work of a global service desk can be done remotely, but there are also many situations, tasks, and projects where having an engineer on-site is not only beneficial, but essential.

A local MSP will also build closer relationships with your Irish-based staff, as well as getting a deeper understanding of your business the longer they provide you with a service. This will ensure continuous improvement beyond the basics of the service level agreement, as well as improving the performance, robustness, and reliability of your IT infrastructure.


General IT vs Pharmaceutical IT

Our clear recommendation so far is to outsource your global service desk and choose an MSP based in Ireland. The next question is do you need a provider with pharmaceutical industry experience, or will general IT knowledge be sufficient?

The pharmaceutical industry is unique given the safety and compliance issues that are a constant consideration. There are specialist software applications, equipment, and technologies that are unique to the pharmaceutical industry, plus the process of introducing new technologies requires regulatory knowledge and experience. This includes validation knowledge and experience (CSV and CSA) as well as experience helping pharmaceutical companies maintain compliance during day-to-day manufacturing and laboratory operations.

There is also the issue of IT/OT to consider, where traditional IT is increasingly being integrated with operational technologies unique to manufacturing and laboratory processes and equipment.

As a result, pharmaceutical IT expertise will deliver added benefits as well as reducing compliance headaches and risks.


Engineers vs Non-Technical Staff

The final area to cover is another related to cost-saving options. Many global service desk providers offer non-technical resources as part of their service to keep their costs as low as possible. That might be a viable option for a standard business where the most complex IT components are email, MS Teams, and wobbly broadband connections.

The pharmaceutical industry is different. Problems with your technology infrastructure, communications, or equipment can cause costly lab or production line downtime. IT issues can also increase patient safety, compliance, and cybersecurity risks, all of which are unique (or have unique components) to the pharmaceutical industry.

Therefore, it is essential your global service desk is staffed by qualified and experienced engineers. At Westbourne IT, we also prioritise consistency of service delivery, so our global service desk staff are not just engineers – they are also permanent employees rather than contractors.


The Solution

The best option for your Ireland-based facilities is to outsource to a local MSP that has pharmaceutical industry experience and a team of highly skilled, permanently employed engineers. We tick all these boxes at Westbourne IT, plus we have a proven track record providing global service desk and managed IT services to pharmaceutical facilities and operations in Ireland (get in touch to learn more).

We also offer global, multi-lingual, 24/7 capabilities – check back soon for the second blog in this multi-part series on Global Service Desk solutions for the pharmaceutical industry.