How to meet the support challenges of emerging technologies


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01-May-2018 10:00:00

In my last piece, I talked about Problem Management and how it is often confused with Major Incident management. In fact, while the two are linked, they are very different beasts. However strong your Problem Management, you must be ready for business critical incidents.

With greater demand for mobility and cloud based apps, new technology continues to create complexity in the workplace. We really are at a time of great innovation and change. This is both exciting and challenging for those of us in the IT space. In this time of transformation, how can your Service Desk better support emerging technology?

Balancing Change and Governance

Finding the line between not being completely obstructive and losing all governance is a balancing act. It is in the nature of internal IT departments to conduct thorough due diligence before any IT transformation takes place. Unfortunately, this means they can sometimes get a reputation for being slow or even unhelpful and resistant to change. If you have execs or managers that are pleading for technology you can’t yet support, it can result in users going off and doing their own thing -potentially causing big issues for your firm.

One of the biggest areas for concern right now is how data is handled in the cloud. Users, or even whole user groups, may already be uploading data to different places on cloud apps. This is problematic enough when it comes to data security, but if you add the new GDPR compliance requirements into the mix, it can cause major headaches.

Encourage curiosity beyond the tickets

In an ideal world, new technology would go through the rigours of research, discovery and planning before being unleashed on your users, however, it pays to prepare for a curveball. If a senior exec announced they want to rollout new tablets or smartphones as soon as possible, will your team be ready to support the users

The pressure for emerging tech will usually come from tech savvy users, but they may not have enough of an understanding on the impact and potential pitfalls of their request. To support a change in this scenario, you have to spend time understanding the challenge. What these users are trying to achieve? Look at what similar organisations are doing to achieve the same results and learn from them.

Ultimately, the Service Desk has to proactively prepare for such changes. Service Desk analysts are often at an early stage in their careers. Encourage them to learn about new technology in their own time. Is your business a PC dominated environment? Encourage Service Desk colleagues to have a look at Apple devices and think about how they would support those vs Android devices. Guide them and fuel their curiosity with questions about how they would manage new technologies and what kind of issues might arise. Fostering this kind of problem solving attitude in an analyst can help you find the consultants, engineers and leaders of the future.

Turn tech-savvy users into Super Users

While some users will be handed a tablet only for it to fester in a drawer, there are those that devour every piece of new tech they get their hands on. It is usually these people that have been pushing the IT department for change. One way to work smarter with these users is to onboard them as an extension of your IT Service Desk. Use their enthusiasm and technical knowledge to help other users get trained on using new apps.

Engage these Super Users as the go-to resource for queries that are more training related than they are a request or incident. It is impractical for your analysts to become expert users on every application. Having Super Users train others in their group benefits the whole organisation. IT Support can put people in touch with users that know how to use advanced features; it could be for a program or an application, for example. That extra support for the wider organisation is sure to increase productivity and alleviate those tickets that are really more of a training issue than a request or incident.

Make sure that Super Users get recognised for their efforts. Bring them close and make them into IT advocates. Most importantly, make sure they understand the pitfalls of introducing new technology before the groundwork has been put in.

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Pete Canavan
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About the author

Pete Canavan

Pete Canavan is Support Services Director at Plan-Net. An accredited ITIL Service Manager, he has a proven track record in IT with special expertise in the Legal & Financial Services industries.

With two decades in the IT field, Pete has acquired extensive experience in business relationship development, service transformation, project and people management, training and client/supplier relations.

Pete's other passions, besides Plan-Net of course, are his family and football.

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