Top 4 Trends in IT Support Services to look out for in 2017

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The enterprise IT support and help desk sector is evolving more rapidly than ever in line with increasingly faster and more efficient applications, alongside the prevalence of more and more cloud-based solutions.

The complexity and sophistication of the software itself is further allied to a fast growing, progressive and technology-savvy user base who are demanding more and more from their software solutions and for whom, seamless transition across a multitude of devices and platforms is a non-negotiable must.

Within this environment, the pressure is mounting on IT help desk and support professionals to be on the look-out for the best in practice methodologies for managing data security, storage and privacy, as well as finding ways of keeping on top of what appears to be an unrelenting flow of new and innovative hardware devices entering the market. Here, we examine some of the top trends affecting the IT support services market in 2017, which most corporate customer experience, customer services or technical support directors need to take into consideration as the year rolls out.

  1. Prominence of cloud-based solutions

Nowadays, users are unconcerned about whether data lives in the cloud or on-site, but with a SaaS (Software as a Service) backdrop entrenched, the cloud is increasingly becoming the go-to solution for effective customer support.

Bonnie Goertzen COO, Tek Experts pointed out, “The cloud provides faster solutions at cheaper rates, as well as a number of other advantages. These include the absence of hardware and maintenance costs, fewer data security risks, access to data from multiple devices, simple ways of receiving updates and of course, fast and easy deployment.”

2017 is likely to see a continued migration of legacy on–site software to the cloud, which means IT and/or customer support departments will effectively be outsourcing data security, upgrades, and maintenance.

The main implication of this shift for the IT help desk will be the necessity to focus less on day-to-day maintenance issues and more on getting to grips with faster changes in functionality to an expanding suite of applications.

  1. Users desire for self-service and self-development

Customers today generally find the thought of logging support phone calls to solve their IT issues to be something of an unattractive proposition. Instead, the preference is to work the issue out for themselves, thereby educating themselves and increasing their technology know-how and experience (see top 5 trends in training and education article).

Of course, to follow this path, customers need the right tools at their disposal, which can include online communities, knowledge bases and FAQ resources.

There exists also a greater tendency to seek help and advice from co-workers and for colleagues to educate and inform each other.

As time goes by, the relevant user communities and discussion forums will become more and more integrated with the help desk itself, further unifying resources, knowledge and experience.

  1. More multi-platform support

The rising popularity of the smartphone as the preferred consumer computing unit continues to have a knock-on effect in the workplace as a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) culture prevails.

Furthermore, the trend towards increased use of mobile devices has in some cases, tripled the number of hardware assets under the control of IT service management.

As the traditional lines between working and non-working hours and the office and home environments blur, IT support will need to increasingly take measures to centralize corporate mobile devices as well as seriously consider a ‘follow the sun’ support model to support your staff outside of ‘office hours’

This trend will, however, benefit from the flexibility of cloud apps, which support multiple operating systems, while as previously mentioned, such applications are more secure and easier to update.

  1. The continued rise of corporate social media

Enterprise social networking platforms such as Yammer are now being used to air various frustrations and discuss IT related issues across a number of divisions.

In the coming year, rather than being viewed as a separate entity, IT support services will be looking to involve and integrate themselves into the conversation.

Bonnie said, ”This provides the support help desk with an invaluable opportunity to harness user feedback, as well as to point contributors to relevant resources, such as knowledge bases. We can capitalize on this to deliver a better experience to client’s customers”

By efficiently directing staff at all levels to appropriate self-help resources, the IT support team can take a proactive approach to heading off potential issues before they arise.

All in all, with the rapid evolution of technology, the emphasis for IT support has shifted from detailed technical issues to broader concerns of keeping pace with software development, increased platform diversity and a more demanding user base.

To meet these challenges moving forwards, support services will also need to take a more human and communication-based approach in order to help users to better help themselves.