Solve remote working productivity pains with ITSM and automation
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, lockdown measures have seen an extended period of remote working for most businesses. Even as lockdown begins to ease, it’s looking likely that remote working will remain the ‘new normal’, as businesses of all sizes begin to develop contingency plans that allow for social distancing in order to keep employees safe in the office. This increased pressure on businesses has meant IT teams have to contend with an entire workforce working remotely, as well as increased uncertainty regarding how long this will continue and what the workplace of the future will look like.
At the very minimum, for effective remote working, employees need quick and easy access to the right hardware and devices, a user-friendly working environment, good broadband speed and a secure and reliable connection to the company network. However, even if these goals have been achieved, many issues can still arise.
IT support issues can easily be met whilst employees are office-based. However, when an entire workforce is working remotely, not only can additional issues appear, but simple IT support requests can become much more complex. This in turn can cause IT support teams to become stretched as they struggle to keep up with conflicting demands between routine and unpredictable requests.
IT service desk staff must effectively utilise their IT service management (ITSM) platform to meet these demands and avoid downtime. When integrated with their ITSM platform, automation and self-service can also be a huge help in allowing IT teams to develop a support strategy that’s up to the challenge, as well as helping staff keep on top of increased workloads. This will ultimately be integral in keeping users supported during this period of uncertainty.
Tackling uncertainty with automation and self-service
Automation is a highly effective way to ease some of the pressure faced by IT service desk teams at any time, but can be especially useful now. By deploying automation in conjunction with a seamless ITSM solution, service requests can be resolved at a much faster rate, often before they even reach analysts. This allows IT service teams to focus their attention on other pressing tasks.
Implementing an intuitive knowledge management system can alleviate the issue of simple, easily fixable issues clogging the ticket queue, by prompting users to self-serve with suggestions on how to fix an issue when they are raising a ticket. This way, a common yet simple request, such as a password reset, can be fixed quickly by driving users through a standard automated password reset workflow that will allow them to solve the issue autonomously. This will help take some of the pressure off of IT staff whilst ensuring users don’t have to wait for a resolution, as well as minimising the number of repeat tickets, which together results in more effective remote IT support. Implementing a ‘shift left’ approach with automated technology is the key to empowering users to self-serve and is vital for high user satisfaction and productivity.
The current circumstances make the need for effective self-service more important than ever. Communication has become much harder and many employees have family commitments that require more flexible working hours. Businesses must provide 24/7 access to IT support, which is where technologies such as automated voice solutions can come into play. Automated telephony systems can help users submit, access and update their tickets over the phone at their own convenience, even with internet connectivity issues.
Maintaining high standards with ITSM best practice
IT teams must still prioritise ITSM best practices, despite the help provided by automation technology. If IT staff view users as customers whose satisfaction is integral to businesses success, this will push them to resolve issues quickly and effectively and to a much higher standard. For example, by ensuring timely announcements, such as system failures, are relayed to users in order to keep them informed.
Another novel challenge brought about by the shift to remote working comes from the service catalogue. The services available may have changed so it’s integral to keep the catalogue updated (contextual) for the benefit of the remote service desk team as well as the users they support. The remote service catalogue should be consistent with its office-based counterpart, but where this isn’t possible, it should be as clear as possible to users what services they can now request.
It’s unclear how long this extended period of remote working will continue or how a post-COVID workplace will be arranged. That’s why it’s more important than ever to ensure IT support services are operating to a high standard, before productivity takes a hit. Shifting left by deploying automation and self-service, as well as adhering to ITSM best practices will keep user productivity high and allow IT teams more flexibility when dealing with unforeseen challenges by minimising strain on their resources.