4 Challenges That Will Define IT Support Success Going Forward

4 Challenges That Will Define IT Support Success Going Forward

August 11, 2022
Manage Systems & Machines

Companies increasingly find their people, processes, and entire businesses model dependent on anywhere access to and anywhere support of many types of machines, devices, and systems that must run smoothly 24/7 from various locations. In response, many companies are transitioning towards a new support service setup. Read on to better understand the global trends that are causing companies to rethink their service support setup – and learn which four main challenges IT operations must address in this process. [By Bhaskar Mitra]

Why does a company’s capability to support both people, systems, and devices matter more than ever before? Three global trends are causing the topic of service support to be at the top of companies’ agendas worldwide.

 

Global Trends That Cause Companies to Rethink Their Service Support

1. Expert shortage and the rise of the digital natives

In these years, the baby boomer generation is retiring, leaving a workforce that is shrinking. As a result, many industries face a dire skill shortage in key expert areas – and they cannot expect simply to replace their expert staff 1:1.

At the same time, the generations that take over where the baby boomers left, come with an entirely different skill set: As digital natives, they are used to seamless human-interface design and experiences, which is not what meets them in many company setups where conventional systems long due for an update are still quite common. As a result, companies must reorganize their support effort in such a way that they make more efficient use of the expert staff that remain – to allow time for the needed knowledge transfer.

2. Growing adoption of anywhere work

Already before the pandemic, many companies had realized the benefits of more agile ways of working through digitization and remote work. The pandemic accelerated this development and made the available workforce regard anywhere work as a natural part of modern work contracts. This puts companies under pressure to provide the needed anywhere access to and anywhere support for relevant systems and devices, so their workforce can continue to operate efficiently in the “next normal”.

3. People and processes rely on an ever-growing, heterogenous device ecosystem

Not only are people spread out working from anywhere, but devices and critical assets are too – and there’s an ever-increasing number of them to manage and support. Companies must manage legacy devices such as desktops, laptops, and workstations along with newer device types such as mobile phones, wearables, and industrial devices based on a diverse array of operating systems.

The list does not stop with the devices used by humans on a day-to-day level. This scenario is not uncommon: A company has several hundred POC (point of care) terminals that are in use worldwide. However, it is not viable to build up a service team of hundreds of people with local access to these devices. The IT operations team must now consider how the company can keep all these devices up to date and provide timely support if any one of them malfunctions.

The above global trends have caused companies, and more specifically IT operations teams, all over the world to rethink their service support setup. To ensure that, they create a robust framework, they must address four key challenges:

it-process

Challenge #1: Operation at Scale

With a growing global footprint, companies need to become more efficient at operating at scale to stay competitive, resilient, and profitable. From a service support perspective, this scalability encompasses the need to bridge and cater globally to all support use cases across the three main types of process: core processes like production or customer service, support processes such as IT operations, and management processes that monitor, measure, and ensure business continuity.

To address this key challenge, IT operations need:

  • a way to set up remote access and support capabilities for their entire infrastructure from central location
  • the ability to provide any relevant expert (internal or external), employee, supplier, or partner with instant, secured, managed, location-independent, and most importantly correct access rights to any relevant system or device in their infrastructure
  • the capability to mass-deploy system and device updates for their widespread and heterogenous system and device fleet and keep them protected
  • the option to access, troubleshoot, and fix systems and devices and minimize any downtime independent of whether a human is present on-site or not

 

Challenge #2: Management of Complexity

A high level of complexity is introduced with the growing number of spread-out people and devices that support key business processes of larger companies. Moreover, comes a myriad of systems and solutions that need to run flawlessly. IT operations must find ways to efficiently manage the many stakeholders – both internal and external – enabling them to work with the right devices, systems, and solutions while protecting the integrity of their entire ecosystem.

To address this key challenge, IT operations need:

  • ways to centrally cluster and assign different rights and roles to different user groups to make sure they have appropriate access
  • an option to ensure detailed reporting and auditability to implement transparency and compliance
  • the ability to manage different multi-tenant business units with different licence usage rights
  • ways to centrally manage not only classic IT devices like PCs and laptops but also non-standard devices pre-dominant on the shop floor and frontline operations e.g., mobile phones, embedded devices, smart glasses etc.
security

Challenge #3: Securing the Infrastructure

Security has always been one of the most critical and complex topics of IT operations. The exponential increase and diversity of devices, and stakeholders in the ecosystem, has only increased the number of threats that they need to handle proactively. How do you make sure no rouge party enters your infrastructure while enabling the right people to do so from anywhere in the world? How do you keep many types of systems up to date and handle security vulnerabilities within very tight timeframes?

To address this key challenge, IT operations need:

  • measures to ensure the best-in-class security for their assets
  • ways to automatically enforce their security policies on a global scale
  • the ability to centrally provision and deactivate user accounts
  • the possibility to tightly control both incoming and outgoing connections so that the right people have access to the right systems at the right time

 

Challenge #4: Understanding Support Effectiveness

With the increasing complexity and number of corporate applications, fuelled by new challenges due to remote or hybrid-remote work, IT organizations and support teams struggle to provide faster support services for employees and customers across platforms and devices. Companies are often unable to understand the effectiveness and value of the experience that their support centres can provide to their customers via features like session recordings, auditability, and the likes.

To address this key challenge, IT operations need:

  • to build a unified corporate application landscape, IT teams need more out-of-the-box standard integrations between their remote support and access solutions and the various platforms like CRM, ITSM or UEM
  • the ability to go beyond traditional IT support and expand to non-human-facing device support, e.g., by deploying IoT agents into Linux-based machine controllers to remotely access and support embedded devices

 

To address key challenges of today’s global economy, companies are rethinking their support setup. The aim is to efficiently operate at scale, manage complexity, secure the infrastructure, and understand the overall impact of support efforts. Companies that succeed in addressing these challenges are well-positioned to offer both employees, suppliers, partners, and customers a highly competitive and reliable support experience – something that will position them perfectly to compete in today’s disruptive tech world.

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