A Plan for IT Support in a Virtual World

IT Support

The digital transformation is reshaping every industry. One key area is where, when and how people work. Between 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work in the US. In 2015, 3.9 million U.S. workers were working remotely. Today that number is at 4.7 million, or 3.4% of the population. And the trend is only going to rise. Upwork’s “Future Workforce Report” predicts that 73% of all teams will have remote workers by 2028. Whether it’s a virus, natural disaster, a technology failure or a man-made calamity, every organization today will need to support remote work and learning at some point.  Remote work or remote learning or remote healthcare all depend on technology for success.

Various companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Slack, Cisco, and Zoom, have led the charge to create technology and tools that make connecting and engaging remotely possible.  These types of technologies make remote work an option within reach of every type of organization. The key to success is how these tools are implemented and supported so that each person using the tools can optimize their workflow and processes and engage and collaborate with others.  This often requires more involvement and support from IT departments to address and resolve issues effectively and efficiently.

Troubleshooting Technology in a Virtual World

Troubleshooting technology is challenging enough when the technology and people using it are on-premise.  It becomes even more difficult when people are offsite. When you can’t see the desktop or only have descriptions of the problem from the user who often isn’t technical, it’s not unusual for frustration to increase and productivity to decrease for everyone. Having the right tools to support remote work doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take a long time.  

You need easy ways to provide the right kind of support, such as the ability for the to conduct remote sessions and real-time monitoring, and a platform to assist with managing and resolving support issues. This will require that you give some thought to the platform, processes and capabilities your help desk can put in place that will help to quickly resolve issues and improve the user experience.

7 Key Areas Your IT Plan Needs to Support Remote

If your IT organization doesn’t have a plan to support remote work and learning, now is the time to develop one. The plan should take into account 7 technical and non-technical considerations.  On the technical front, develop a plan that addresses at least these 4 areas:

  1. How devices, peripherals, and applications will be provisioned and supported. Be clear in this section how IT will troubleshoot a remote device and what tools are needed. If repairs require removing a device, document the process for how the remote worker will be able to continue to work.
  2. How to keep data and devices secure.
  3. How to monitor, patch, and proactively support remote devices, peripherals and applications so they stay in good operating condition. Specify how critical patches and updates to applications and software as well as usage licenses will be managed.
  4. How well technology support and management are contributing to productivity and effectiveness. Never assume that everything is working. Part of your plan should include a process for evaluating how well the technology you’re supporting is performing and what users feel needs improving. Establish remote-specific performance measures for both agents and users.

There are 3 non-technical areas your plan should address:

  1. How service requests will be processed. Having the right service desk and platform will greatly improve your organization’s ability to support your users and technology.  However, you also define and document the processes you will employ to support customer communication, manage requests and workflow.
  2. How defective devices will be quickly exchanged to allow uninterrupted work or at least minimize disruption.
  3. What and how the service desk performance and results will be measured. These measures should include both personnel and technology utilization and customer satisfaction.

Remember working and learning remotely may be new for some or potentially many of your users. Be patient, be supportive, and be communicative. The better you plan how you will support technology for remote users, the more likely you will be able to ensure a positive end user experience and maintain critical levels of functionality and productivity.

Help desks with a good service ticket management and processing platform will be able to gain valuable insights into remote working by collecting data on the most frequent technology impediments to productivity, application usage, and resource utilization. As remote becomes a standard option for how work and learning are done, IT support will need to identify and apply best practices.

Filed under: Productivity