Why IT Support Teams Need To Reorient Around Accessible and Expedient Service
Millions of people can do their jobs from smartphones, tablets and laptops—all of which can be taken anywhere with an internet connection. For IT support, colleagues working at all hours from corporate (or personal) devices highlights the value of providing them with around the clock IT help and guidance aimed at preparing for potential disruptions—both expected, like a missed software update, and unexpected, like a security breach tied to a corporate account.
Whether a company operates out of a garage in rural North Dakota or out of offices peppered all over the world, the need for IT support in a digital work environment is omnipresent. So the infrastructure behind that IT support should be built for around-the-clock activity, as well.
“[A majority] of the hours of coverage managed services teams provide are actually outside of 9-5, and many teams can't afford to do it themselves because it requires hiring and training a team of people to cover night shifts. That's where you get the financial case to say, we can cover this for you cheaper than you can do it yourself, regardless of the service,” says Eric Owens, VP Operations, Managed IT Services at Contegix.
A staff member with an IT issue should be able to access, and benefit from, the IT support process prior to a ticket being submitted, an email being sent or a call being made to signal the problem. IT support leaders and their teams should work to gain levels of employee IT activity visibility and understanding that allows them to anticipate a potential issue arising before it becomes a reality or, at the very least, alert an employee the moment something happens that a fix is already underway. The reality, however, is IT support response is commonly reactive, slow and inadequate.
In order for companies to advance from barely being able to handle requests for IT support to moving issues through a central system that funnels cases to experts, there needs to be a prioritization around putting IT infrastructure, communications systems, staff and tools in place to engage more efficiently. For IT leaders, that process also involves recruiting and staffing IT service desks with relevant expertise and resources. It also demands offering direct accessibility to, and two-way communication with, employees who may not notice potential IT issues and risks that IT support professionals can prevent.
Here are a few elements IT leaders should assess when deciding how to shift IT support talent and infrastructure from commonly inefficient to fully engaged:
Team expertise and skills gaps:
In order to resolve employee IT issues in a timely manner, team members responding to tickets and ad hoc requests should possess a baseline understanding of the company’s industry and know how to respond to common IT issues impacting daily operations. There should be a range of IT support skills and expertise that covers systems, infrastructure, networks, platforms, tools and devices. IT leaders should take stock of current abilities and gaps in order to inform investment decisions necessary to advance IT support infrastructure and outfit companies with expert teams that act quickly regardless of the scale of problem.
Levels of accessibility and accountability:
IT support teams should be visible, reachable and responsible for handling requests fielded from people working across departments within an organization. IT leaders should push executive management to present IT support operations as a core business function and make it a point to clearly communicate how to get in touch. IT support team members, for their part, should be staffed to work through tickets based on their confirmed fields of expertise, and held accountable for communicating with coworkers who submit requests about steps taken to address issues in a timely manner.
Current state of support ticket process and backlog:
IT leaders should review the systems and infrastructure that supports IT ticket submission and response activity. Advancing or improving operations might not need to be a complete overhaul, but understanding where inefficiencies, redundancies and failures occur helps to inform more strategic staffing, software and hardware investments.
Response time and resolution time:
IT leaders should also consider reviewing or implementing support team metrics tied to average performance and time from first contact from a colleague to resolving an IT support issue. In order to get a complete picture, team leads should also capture how long it usually takes for someone to claim and begin working on an IT support request. In measuring current team performance, they should note how many initial interactions led to resolution versus how many required multiple touchpoints to complete. Quantifying all of these elements will help companies understand where changes can be made from a process and personnel standpoint to move in the direction of efficiency and, eventually, proactivity.
IT support has been inherently a slow-to-respond function of business. But with the right corporate visibility, people and infrastructure, companies have the ability to move in the direction of proactivity—and everyone involved in the IT support experience stands to benefit. Companies need to invest in building an IT support team that can deliver consistent and complete service.
Interested in learning more about how Contegix Service Desk works with clients to improve IT response times and strengthen solution infrastructure? Check out our e-book.