Getting IT Right the First Time: Tech Support at the Digital Frontier
As employees become more tech-savvy, new devices enter the workplace and digital solutions replace physical processes, tech support must work to support the next generation of workers and technology. How do enterprise experts ensure support services keep pace with other departments at the digital frontier?
While the rise of digital-native employees suggests a workplace environment where staff can diagnose, manage and even resolve their own issues, the data tells a different story. In fact, younger staff are struggling to cope: According to Information Age, a recent study found that Generation X and millennials are far more likely to call on IT for support with tech issues, while staff over 55 and Generation Z are more self-sufficient. Data scientist Inma Martinez suggests that these employees “excel at being digitally social, yet they are 100 percent mobile driven, lacking the necessary skills for interoperability.” When asked, 58 percent of IT experts said the root cause of IT issues was limited digital savvy on the part of employees, and 86 percent said staff need better coping skills.
But there’s another side to the story: support that doesn’t live up to expectations. ZDNet reports that 24 percent of staff surveyed said they didn’t have the right technology to get their jobs done, while 43 percent were frustrated with the lack of remote access to files and servers. Consider the case of Ireland’s Health Service Executive, which revealed that it has no after-hours IT support, according to Irish Medical Times. Employees working outside normal business hours can’t get the support they need, and — as happened in the case of a recent cyberattack — they’re forced to improvise to keep systems up and running.
Follow the Data
So how do companies deliver tech support that addresses both employee concerns and their potential overuse of IT services? According to CIO, predictive analytics is now coming into its own as a way to monitor network performance and anticipate network failures before they happen. Imagine the potential benefit if data-driven, autonomous processes could identify small errors in network communication, aggregate and interpret these errors and then warn IT staff before a catastrophic shutdown occurs. Now, consider the possibility of extending that knowledge to employees.
Employees represent a massive, data-driven network within a network. Every service they use and every app they download offers a multitude of data points that can help IT discover small issues before they become big headaches. For example, one staff member might be experiencing an intermittent connection issue. Under old support models, they must create a ticket, describe the problem in layman’s terms and wait for IT’s response. The evaluation and fix solves the employee’s specific issue but does little to address root causes.
However, through a data-first model, IT staff can monitor staff interactions with end points and services across the entire network. Now, it’s possible to see the connection issue in real-time and provide proactive rather than reactive support. Tech staff can even determine if the problem is confined to a specific device or symptomatic of a larger concern.
Think Inside the Box
Cognitive computing could offer a solution for companies struggling to keep pace with digital support services while still delivering business value. According to Information Age, cognitive solutions are already being used in sports applications to provide real-time analysis of Wimbledon matches, and Forbes notes that the tech has potential for capacity planning and infrastructure scaling. It can also take the burden off tech support with human-centered services and unstructured data analysis such as ticket descriptions, surveys and emails, along with tone analysis to improve overall satisfaction.
Tech support that matches the pace of digital change can help organizations empower employees and discover problems before they happen rather than pick up the pieces afterward.