While the worst part of the COVID-19 crisis might be behind us, “we’re not out of the woods yet.” Most organizations are trying to adapt to the “new normal” – even though the new normal has yet to fully materialize yet – and we’re still living and working in the shadow of a potential second wave. Even if localized rather than national. In many ways, your IT service desk is in a position of rebuilding for this new normal. Both rebuilding how it delivers service and support to the parent organization and supporting that organization as it rebuilds itself too.
As part of this rebuilding effort, it’s important to understand what will need to change – with a big part of this influenced by the challenges that your IT service desk, and the wider organization, will come across through the rest of 2020 and perhaps into 2021 too. To help, this blog considers six of the key challenges that your IT support organization is likely to face.
Challenge #1: Changing IT support operations to match the needs of the emerging new normal
Whether these are changes to the services supplied to end users – both newly-distancing office workers and home workers – or how support is provided, it’s highly unlikely that what was appropriate at the end of 2019 is still fit-for-purpose in the new normal.
So, take the time to review what’s already changed and “fortify” this as needed. And speak to key stakeholders to better understand what still needs to change. For example, removing the continued need for home-worker VPN use through cloud-service adoption.
Challenge #2: Dealing with the financial limitations caused by the crisis
While the business and its employees now expect more of IT support, your IT service desk is still likely to be subject to budget cuts to reflect the loss of business revenues seen both during and after the crisis. To help, seek out efficiencies as you optimize capabilities and services. This might be greater investment in automation (with business case backing) or the lowering of service levels to achieve necessary cost reductions.
Challenge #3: Working effectively in the short term
This is really the combination of the first two challenges but worth calling out independently, with your service desk needing to find ways to provide the necessary services to end users in particular while working with budget cuts that might mean staff shortages. Again, look to automation and service level changes as the solution along with IT service management (ITSM) staples such as knowledge management and self-service capabilities.
To make this challenge even more difficult, not only might your IT service desk be “doing more with less” in terms of IT support. There’ll also be higher demand from business functions that are subject to financial limitations and a mandate to digitally transform, for new IT services and the associated support.
Challenge #4: Meeting higher employee expectations of IT support
It was already happening before the crisis. Employees were demanding more from IT support based on their often-superior consumer-world experiences. The move to homeworking accelerated this, with the impact of IT issues on productivity amplified with remote working.
In the short term, due to financial limitations, employee expectations will need to be managed accordingly. Longer-term, any service desk would be foolish not to invest more in offering a better employee experience and the increased employee productivity this facilitates.
Challenge #5: Playing a growth-facilitator role
Your organization will be looking to emerge from the crisis ahead of its competitors. The market might have shrunk, with it vital to back growth via innovation and technology-enabled operational competitive advantage.
This will increasingly bring up questions about the value of the IT service desk in enabling growth. So, ensure that you know how your service desk creates, or co-creates, business value. Again it would be foolish not to – in particular, in terms of facilitating corporate growth.
Challenge #6: Becoming better prepared for the next crisis
Very few organizations were prepared for the crisis. Yes, there were business continuity plans in place, but few will have factored in the need for distancing and nationwide lockdowns. Thankfully, the IT service desk in particular stepped up to help migrate office workers to home-based workers and ensured that they had everything they needed to work, including support.
Hopefully, much was learned both in terms of continuity planning and providing IT services that are more resilient. Looking forward, whether the next crisis is a “second wave” of COVID-19 or something else, it’s important to ensure that your IT service desk is better prepared - with greater agility and flexibility built into services and support.
So, that’s seven key challenges that your IT service desk is likely to face during 2020. It’s important to know that they might exist, with this the first step in handling them. What else would you add to this list? Please let us know in the comments.