The practice of contracting with a third party for the provision of a specific business function such as tech support. Outsourcing is usually undertaken when the third party is able to provide the service better or less expensively than a company can on its own. When customers pay for tech support rather than having it free or included with a purchase, it may be called “premium tech support.” Companies can outsource all or part of their tech support, e.g., retain Tiers 1 and 3 in-house and contract for Tier 2. Outsourcing can be onshore (performed in the same country as the provider), offshore (provided in a distant location), or near shore (provided in a neighboring country).

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