As organizations become aware of the importance of proactive IT support, many IT support teams are adopting a more strategic approach to manage their workload and infrastructure. However, some companies are still using the traditional break/fix model, where IT professionals are only called upon when something goes wrong.
But having a reactive approach can lead to prolonged downtime, higher costs, and a frustrated workforce. It might even be causing agent burnout and higher turnover rates since they always jump in when a crisis arises.
Fortunately, you can turn to better alternatives. Proactive IT services focus on identifying and addressing potential issues before they become significant problems, which can help businesses save time, money, and resources.
Implementing it can reduce downtime, increase efficiency, and ensure technology infrastructure always operates at peak performance. But to do so, you need the right tools: InvGate Service Desk and Insight include several features that can help you kick off and improve this process.
Keep reading to learn how to encourage your IT team to be proactive!
What is proactive IT support?
Proactive IT support is a strategic approach that focuses on spotting and tackling possible issues before they become significant problems. It’s important to keep in mind that not every issue gets reported; sometimes users are too busy to do it or they don’t even notice it happening. Thus, reacting to them will only guarantee you have partial coverage.
Implementing a proactive approach can help solve unnoticed issues and prevent them from becoming actual problems.
This perspective involves building a more robust IT structure since regular system audits, performance monitoring, and maintenance activities will be added to the team’s regular tasks to ensure that systems are running efficiently and that there aren’t any potential crisis in the makings. By doing so, you’ll provide a more accurate, effective, and optimized support where the technology infrastructure works at its best.
Reactive vs. proactive support
Generally speaking, there are two main approaches to IT support: proactive and reactive.
- The traditional break/fix or reactive model only addresses issues once they have already occurred, and focuses on fixing them as quickly as possible.
- Proactive support brings a strategic angle to the job by encouraging agents to find potential problems before they emerge, avoiding future issues that might interfere with the end-user experience.
Benefits of offering proactive IT services
Identifying and acting before the appearance of IT issues has several benefits, including:
- Value improvement - It can lead you to identify opportunities for improving IT systems and processes and increase efficiency, productivity, and overall business performance.
- Avoid negative impacts - As you stay ahead of IT issues, you will avoid negative impacts on reputation and customer satisfaction.
- Cost reduction - Optimizing IT processes can help prevent downtime costs and decrease unnecessary hardware and software expenses.
- Boost employee experience - Proactive IT services can help employees stay focused on their work by minimizing disruptions caused by urgencies. Providing fast and effective support leads you to increase employee satisfaction and morale.
- User training- This process will help you educate employees on how to use IT systems and tools more effectively, improving their performance.
Nevertheless, and as with any model out there, there are also some associated challenges to consider:
- Resistance to change - Some employees may resist changes to their IT systems and processes, especially if they are used to working with specific tools or workflows. Make sure to clearly communicate the benefits it will bring. Plus, you can use InvGate Service Desk's gamification module to encourage the new work dynamic.
- Investment costs - Implementing proactive IT services may require upfront investments in new technologies, tools, or personnel.
- Lack of expertise - Proactive IT services require specialized skills and knowledge in order to be effective. Create workflows and knowledge base articles on InvGate Service Desk to clearly explain the processes and provide your team with the right information.
- Monitoring and analysis - To be effective, proactive IT services require continuous monitoring and analysis of IT systems and processes. By integrating InvGate Service Desk with InvGate Insight, you’ll be able to see the asset’s health status, have a complete view of your IT inventory, and manage the assets associated with any ticket.
9 ways to implement a proactive IT support strategy
Implementing a proactive IT support strategy means taking a strategic approach to managing technology infrastructure. Here are nine actions you can take towards it.
1. Automate asset monitoring alerts
Use InvGate Insight’s Agent to monitor your devices for potential issues or failures, and receive updated data about hardware and software. You can also configure automatic alerts to notify IT staff on certain issues so they can be addressed before they become bigger problems. Plus, you can customize the health rules to have an easy-to-read view of your asset’s status and security.
2. Proactive maintenance
Schedule regular maintenance activities to keep systems running smoothly. This can include periodic hardware and software updates, backups, and security scans. Build CMDB’s visual maps on InvGate Insight to clearly understand your IT infrastructure and register all the changes you make.
3. Employee training
Provide ongoing training for employees to help them identify and report IT issues before they become major problems. Gamification is a great ally here too since it will motivate agents to learn and apply new processes at first.
4. Create a knowledge base
Use InvGate Service Desk's knowledge base to list solutions and best practices for frequent IT issues. Include tasks and maintenance routines to ensure agents know which steps to follow for proactive IT support.
5. Root cause analysis
Use InvGate Service Desk to perform root cause analysis on recurring issues. This can help identify underlying problems and allow IT staff to address them. AI's predictive suggestions can also help agents identify when a ticket is related to a major incident that needs to be attended.
6. Regular audits
Conduct regular audits of IT systems and processes using InvGate Insight and InvGate Service Desk to identify areas in need for improvement. This can help ensure that your IT support is continually improving and adapting to the needs of the organization.
7. Make your IT infrastructure stronger
Overall, IT support is about solving problems and the best way to prevent them from happening is with a strong IT infrastructure. Make sure to map out all the information about your assets on InvGate InvGate Insight and automate tasks and processes on InvGate Services Desk.
8. Provide a complete self-service portal
There are some tasks that end-users can do by themselves, but they need the right tools and orientation to do so. Design a self-service portal that best suits their needs and behavior. Include a service catalog, a knowledge base, and an intuitive UI.
9. Implement a Problem Management workflow
Problem Management workflows are a great way to spot and tackle future issues. ITIL suggests some basic steps to build them, but the key is to create a workflow that meets your organization's particular needs and processes.
On the 17th episode of Ticket Volume (our podcast about ITSM and technology, hosted by Matt Beran), Brian Skramstad states that Problem Management must be approached from a holistic perspective. It is important to establish a well-defined process to identify potential issues before they become a problem.
Examples of proactive IT support
This perspective can cover a wide range of tasks. Start with the areas that need to be improved the most. A good starting point, for instance, is to identify the most common tickets and build your strategy from there.
Once you covered that, here are some other examples of proactive IT support to try:
- Testing patches – Use InvGate Insight to identify outdated software.
- Performing trend analysis – Analyze the performance of end-users, workstations, and computers. Improve the devices that are in need of it.
- Identifying potential problems – Find issues that could become problems. One way of doing it is to analyze previous tickets and perform Incident Management.
- Applying Change Management - Implement Change Management with InvGate Service Desk to apply changes in a controlled environment. Remember to register all the changes in the respective CMDB.
Proactive IT support is crucial in today's world to keep teams and their workload running smoothly. By using the right tools, you will be able to prevent possible problems, and at the same time, your support services will significantly improve their performance.
The key is to find the right balance between being reactive and proactive. There will always be incoming tickets about issues that users run into and that you can’t prevent. But there are also some other aspects that you can anticipate by making your IT structure harder and implementing some of the strategies we have described in this article. This way, you’ll be able to identify issues early on, solve them correctly and prevent them from happening again.