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IT Support Evolve

 As we approach summer, it is a good time to take stock of the current state of play in IT Support Services, how it is evolving and which of the current trends set to continue.In a world increasingly concerned with security, data compliance, tech adoption and quality of service, here is what to look out for over the coming years.

1. The after effects of GDPR

While organisations are still handling effects post-GDPR, we can already imagine the far-reaching implications it has had and will continue to have on the IT Support Teams. Because ITSM tools hold lots of personal data, I am sure every IT team will have undergone specific education and training. The policy on the storage and collection of personal data used in the ITSM system now have to be transparent and users need to give clear consent to it being stored. Users can also request their data to be removed, even from historical records. This is just the tip of the iceberg however, as the responsibility for company wide data security and timely reporting of personal data breaches have to be defined and accurately maintained.
Meanwhile, IT suppliers are likely to be jointly liable for any data breaches. This is already some some implications across not just service and system providers, but also the suppliers of cloud computing and storage. By 2020, we would expect the GDPR dust to have settled and for organisations to have achieved more competent data compliance protocols and processes. However, with the penalties for GDPR violations being so fiercely high, how businesses and business units respond to GDPR today will surely affect their near futures.

2. Reliable cloud storage

Managing escalating storage demands with limited resources is a huge challenge for many businesses today. To alleviate the burden, many organisations have already turned to the cloud. It is an especially attractive option for data storage where latency and security are of lower priority. However, as previously noted, 2020 will see enterprises that deal with personal data from any EU citizens seeking robust security assurances from cloud storage providers.

Despite there already having been a mass migration to the cloud, it has often been more reactive than proactive, usually as a consequence of an immediate need such as SaaS deployments or Shadow IT. The cost efficiency associated with off-premises storage will continue to drive demands well into the future but we expect Cloud Storage initiatives to be undertaken with more purpose, forethought and proactive planning than has been the norm so far.

3. Increased Service Requests vs Incidents

We are already seeing a shift in Service Requests vs Incidents. Where once ITIL made no distinction, since ITIL v3 was launched, there is now a very clear-cut framework to distinguish between the two.

Incidents:
An incident is ‘an unplanned interruption to an IT service or reduction in the quality of an IT service.’ An incident indicates that usual service that a user receives is being hindered so this is usually going to cause an urgent ticket and need a quick resolution.

Service or Change Requests:
A Service or Change Request is ‘a formal request from a user for something to be provided – for example, a request for information or advice’. A Service Request is therefore less urgent and less likely to be business critical. Service Requests are not limited to information and advice, such a request could also be for a standard change such as request for a password change or more memory. These services can follow a pre-approval change process and are low risk.

So why would Service Requests increase in the coming years? Increased demand for mobile services, new technologies and round the clock support will inevitably generate more service requests than ever before. User expectations are in line with their experiences in home technology and service types that they experience outside the workplace. This leads us nicely onto the next trend to watch out for.

4. Increased adoption of self-service and chat portals

In their lives as many consumers, IT users are becoming more used to using self-service guides and chat portals, thus opening the door to adoption of similar services in the workplace. With the rise of Ecommerce sites like Amazon, it is becoming more and more common to look for customer service support in a text form rather than on a voice call. While an Incident will be better served by a phone call directly to an expert, many simple Service Requests can be migrated to chat or self-service solutions.

According to the Service Desk Institute, self-service adoption has been increasing over the past few years and the trend looks set to continue. However, increasing self-service adoption in your own organisation is not without its challenges. It is not enough to set up a solid knowledge base, it must also be designed to give a high-quality and effective user experience if it is ever to attract and retain users.

5. Onshore vs Offshore support

Offshore IT Support was once upon a time praised by many as the most cost effective solution. However, under the scrutiny of cost benefit analysis, many businesses found that onshore support had more strengths and efficiencies that had been overlooked in the rush to cut expenditure. The quality of onshore communication and the ability to facilitate onsite resolutions has been steadily winning many businesses away from their offshore service providers for years. Onshore IT Support Desks can be expected to outperform their overseas counterparts in company knowledge, cultural fit and even compliance.

With compliance being such a hot topic in the coming years, it seems highly likely that onshore will continue to win out. It also seems like a natural progression that as chat portals and self-service solutions take hold, a superior quality of analysts can be afforded for Incident resolution.