What are the key improvement areas your IT service desk needs to focus on? Of course, there are the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) you use to assess success and improvement opportunities. But what are the key trends driving IT support improvement right now and for the foreseeable future?
In this blog, I share 5 key trends. For an even deeper dive, check out the new on-demand webinar: 5 Key Trends for IT Service Desk Improvement.
1. Employee-centric IT support
With employee-centric IT support, there are both the service provider and service receiver sides to consider. A simplistic view of this is employee experience, which applies to both groups. However, IT support technicians might also be struggling with their working environment. In fact, according to the ITSM survey respondents in the recent State of Wellbeing in IT Service Management (ITSM) survey, 88% expect working in IT to get harder over the next three years.
This difference divides employee-centric IT support into two discrete, albeit interconnected, parts:
- Attitude, behavior, and culture (ABC) aspects, and their impact on employee well-being
- Employee experience and its improvement
Both are important for IT service desks to address.
In terms of the first, 67% of survey respondents indicated that working in IT has adversely affected their well-being, to some extent. Employee well-being is a ticking timebomb for IT organizations and their IT service desks.
With that said, two-thirds of organizations understood the need to deliver a better employee experience at the start of 2022, with another 18% expected to by the year’s end. However, there’s a big difference between knowing something needs doing and acting on it.
The year ahead is a pivotal time for IT service desks to switch their focus from IT-centric, or even service-centric, support to people-centric support.
2. Meeting hybrid worker IT support needs
In many ways, this second improvement trend is a continuation of the first. But it’s worth calling out the need to meet hybrid worker IT service and support needs in its own right.
The rapid migration of employees to home-based working, in the first half of 2020, brought various challenges for both IT and the employees they serve. In the initial stage, many employees voiced unhappiness with home-based working technologies, internet connections, and the ergonomics of their “home offices.” Then, as IT teams addressed the core technology issues, employee dissatisfaction moved onto the challenges of working and collaborating with others.
However, there are still two key improvement areas for IT support to attack here. The first area entails better understanding how hybrid working employees are impacted by, and feel about, existing IT service delivery and support capabilities. The second area concerns the technology employed to support remote workers – from how they engage the IT service desk for help, to the technology-enabled support capabilities available to IT support staff and to them directly. For example, while most IT service desks now have some form of remote support technology, the scope of the available capabilities can be significantly different.
3. Benefitting from AI-enabled IT support capabilities
Traditional ITSM tool automation has long been key to IT support improvement and success. Now, new AI-enabled ITSM capabilities can help even further.
However, while most ITSM tools are adding AI-enabled capabilities for IT support, they need to be correctly adopted. We need to learn from our IT self-service mistakes, in particular, with organizational change management tools and techniques used to communicate the reasons for change to everyone and minimize the resistance to change in what is a people-change, not simply a technology-change.
Ultimately, for AI-enabled IT support capabilities to deliver on their promises, they need to be used. This requires more than the technology delivery being to time, spec, and budget. It returns us to employee-centric IT support and the focus on value.
4. Data-driven decision-making and improvement
Good IT service desk managers and analysts understand their domain and usually have great gut feelings about IT support issues and opportunities. However, gut feelings can be wrong, especially when based on anecdotal evidence. Instead, we need to rise above these gut feelings to leverage the wealth of data at our disposal, to make more informed decisions.
In my experience, most IT service desks will try to improve. But are they improving in the right areas? And do the improvements, while making things better for the desk, actually make things better for end users and the wider business?
The key here is to understand what, in terms of the wealth of data stored in your ITSM tool, is most helpful to performance measurement and improvement. This includes knowing what the key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics employed mean in business outcome, rather than IT operations, terms.
5. Employee self-sufficiency
While many organizations have had issues with traditional self-service, the need for self-sufficiency isn’t going away. If anything, it will intensify – driven by the needs and expectations of both service providers and service receivers.
IT support wants to benefit from end users helping themselves – to facilitate scalability and to allow staff to focus on the more difficult tickets and tasks. At the same time, end users expect to be able to self-serve based on their consumer-world experiences. However, they also expect it to work well, and in the way they want it to be.
Importantly, we also need to recognize that these employee expectations of self-service will only continue to rise based on factors such as:
- Remote working and the increased reliance on technology that demands an immediacy of service and the removal of friction
- Ongoing consumer-world improvements, which continually raise the bar
- Pressure on employees to maximize their productivity, and the corporate call to boost efficiency
But can employees afford to use the portal channel if it significantly increases their perceived level of lost productivity (this data is shared in the webinar)?
Thankfully, several existing access channel options can be considered as immediate alternatives to the traditional self-service portal to meet these expectations. Then, AI-enabled capabilities can be employed to help deliver superior service and support via these access channels.
If you want to learn more about these IT support improvement trends, tune into my on-demand webinar: 5 Key Trends for IT Service Desk Improvement.
Stephen Mann, IT Service Management Expert and Principal Analyst and Content Director at ITSM.tools
Principal and Content Director at the ITSM-focused industry analyst firm ITSM.tools. Also an independent IT and IT service management marketing content creator, and a frequent blogger, writer, and presenter on the challenges and opportunities for IT service management professionals.
Previously held positions in IT research and analysis (at IT industry analyst firms Ovum and Forrester and the UK Post Office), IT service management consultancy, enterprise IT service desk and IT service management, IT asset management, innovation and creativity facilitation, project management, finance consultancy, internal audit, and product marketing for a SaaS IT service management technology vendor.