The role of support is changing. While the service desk once depended on all-human staffs and the ticketing system, in the near future, project management and service management will become much more automated. However, with that shift, there also will be a focus on service desk software and management software that is customer-facing.
While there still is a need for service desk agents and desk ticketing, the industry is facing significant shifts in its business processes, including knowledge management and asset management. According to Service Desk Institute, more requests are coming into the service desk, which require more than one single point of contact (SPOC). The needs of customers themselves are changing as well. Demand is high for more sophisticated services and faster service that is always available on any device, from anywhere in the world. Increasingly, service catalogs need to be updated to include applications like the self-service portal, virtual agent, ChatBots, DevOps-org, Self-healing systems, incident response automation, knowledge management and AI. These are fast becoming ways to help cope with the rising number of requests, incidents and complexity. Therefore, it is important to ensure that company’s Call Centers are agile enough to respond to all types of critical events.
The IT Industry and Its Challenges
According to McKinsey, many IT organizations still struggle to support digitization. Demands have changed for the IT industry: first, digitization requires increasingly sophisticated technology in order to evolve management capabilities.
A second variable that McKinsey indicates has changed for the IT industry is the fact that greater IT-delivery performance is needed across the board. Efficiency once was the most important performance measure for most companies. Now, everything matters. Consumers are used to getting their purchases quickly, so reliability is intensely important – a lapse in service can result in a loss of sales. Security is necessary as a broader online footprint exposes new vulnerabilities and ramps up the potential for greater losses.
Finally, McKinsey pinpoints the need for senior management to become much more engaged and provide more oversight. Thanks to digitization, the value at stake is much higher than before: up to 40 percent of revenue, 20 percent of costs and at times, the business’ survival.
Seven Elements to Achieve IT Performance Improvements
The time has come to reinvent the way IT delivers digitally. McKinsey has identified seven elements it says are critical to achieving IT performance improvements:
1. Clear, central business leadership on digital. To capture value, an organization needs a clear view of its priorities. Digital-IT assets like customer data and web platforms are often created centrally and shared across markets and business units, so central agreement is important. McKinsey recommends that organizations set up a digital center of excellence that creates and drives a fact-based digital strategy and resolves competing priorities across business areas.
2. Elite IT talent. To get ahead of the curve, IT organizations want to bring in top IT talent who are familiar with leading technology practices. Yet, many companies report that top talent is being snatched up by leading technology players and start-ups. McKinsey recommends that to compete, companies should consider rebranding by encouraging a start-up culture.
3. Sourcing arrangements to scale the workforce rapidly. An unpredictable demand has increased the need for incumbents scaling up the workforce in order to deliver rapidly. McKinsey writes that this usually requires changes to vendor contracts to provide options for additional development capacity without lengthy bidding processes, and agreements with select niche vendors that can provide more specialized skills.
4. Agile development and rapid releases. McKinsey notes that delivering high-quality end products quickly requires new ways of working, such as agile development, rapid release cycles, automated testing and deployment, and a “test and learn” approach to changes.
5. Rapid innovation architecture supported by stable services. Several IT-architecture enablers are needed to deliver rapidly on unpredictable requirements. According to McKinsey, first, building blocks are created out of stable and fit-for-purpose services. IT then creates innovative components that can be used and reused in web and mobile channels. Finally, successful innovations are rolled out rapidly across all devices, markets, and brands via an enterprise-wide web and mobile-deployment platform.
6. Scalable cloud-based infrastructure. In order to meet increasing demands, McKinsey pinpoints rapid time to market and scaling to meet increased consumer demand requires lean infrastructure operations and an elastic, cloud-based infrastructure.
7. High-quality integrated data. High-quality data that is unpolluted, maintained by the business, and integrated into a single data set are needed for sophisticated technologies like recommendation systems. One way to solve this issue, McKinsey writes, is to launch a joint business-IT program that sizes the value at stake, identifies priority data, measures data quality, and agrees on remedial actions to reduce data pollution.
Self-Desk Support Trends
According to CIO, two trends are potentially disrupting the support industry: automation and the customer experience. AI, chatbots, ITSM tools and other forms of automation – many of which offer free trials – are now at the forefront of most of the systems targeted within the customer service industry. AI and automation promises to reduce the cost and overhead of delivering technology. Further, CIO estimates that automation won’t necessarily reduce the need for support staff – their roles will simply be shifted to new places such as incident management. CIO reports that organizations are recognizing that delivering and supporting a superior customer experience is becoming one of the primary drivers of competitive differentiation. Significant resources are now being put toward the creation and protection of experience-based customer value. Moreover, organizations are also realizing that the customer experience is connected to and is often a derivative of the employee experience. As a result, a new concept has been developed: the experience level agreement, or XLA.
This shift is resulting in a growing trend of service desks and other support teams supporting both internal and external customers. Since technology is now critical to the customer experience, enterprises are beginning to reimagine the role of the support organization, namely the importance of employees who are confidently able to tackle incidents and service requests.
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