IT Support Team - Future trends

IT Skills needed for 2019

Written by on November 14, 2018

Automation and cloud computing technologies have redefined the way service desks operate. Service desk teams are undergoing a structural change, and roles and responsibilities of service desk agents will be drastically different from what it is today.

Nearly 80% of CIOs and IT leaders project that the skills and knowledge their organizations will need in 10 years will have little resemblance to what they are today

Consequently, it is crucial to understand these trends and adapt to these changes.

For instance, service desk agents today fear losing their jobs due to the emergence of bots and virtual assistants. It is the responsibility of the management to allay these fears and communicate the purpose of automation clearly among employees  Change Management is necessary for businesses to plan for this in advance and execute it efficiently. This exercise demands behavioral changes from service desk agents for which proper planning is essential.  

This blog highlights important skills that are needed for the IT teams of the future.   

Reskilling & Upskilling

Reskilling helps IT agents operate in an agile environment and enable faster digital transformation and today’s IT leaders are focusing on reskilling and upskilling their support teams in order to become competitive in the cloud era.

Automation technologies and intelligent machines are redefining the nature of everyone’s work. For example, Automation will take care of L1 tickets so that human agents can focus on resolving complex L2 tickets. So, traditional IT skills are no longer sufficient to deliver great support, and acquiring new skills in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is important to stay relevant. This means that service desk agents are expected to gain more relevant skills in analytics et al. Similarly, cloud computing demands that support agents become generalists and acquire relevant skills such as customer service, marketing, analytics, and people management.       

Investing in automation technologies such as AI, ML, and chatbots help organizations free agents from the transactional first-line support roles and take over complex jobs. But that doesn’t take away the jobs of IT support professionals. It will only change them to experts in the areas of analytics and more. It also drives them to acquire new skills in knowledge management in order to improve the user experience. For example, swapping leaders across functions, such as getting service desk agents to handle cybersecurity or network operations, will help develop new skills. In addition, IT support services could conduct periodical rotational programs to ensure cross training and reskilling.  Agile software development supports this organically and therefore, adopting this culture organization-wide helps in holistic development.   

Data is King

Data drives logical IT decisions, and data crunching techniques are essential for IT support agents to understand the fundamentals of their business and take proactive actions.

But most businesses today have a repository of data that is under-utilized. For example, the service desk consists of a lot of structured and unstructured data such as search queries, incident details, and agent collaboration data that are useful for multiple personas such as CIOs, service desk managers, supervisors, and agents. Service desk agents, in particular, are responsible for data analysis and making meaningful decisions. For example, if the volume of the tickets received has been high, they should invest in automation workflows. Therefore, access to data is important for agents to understand the root cause and provide the right fix. For example, while resolving an incident, asset relationships help agents understand the interdependencies to better analyze the impact.

IT 360 – Mesh of Management approaches

The IT service desk analysts of the future need to be process-agnostic and not aligned to a single framework or a methodology. Businesses aspire to be agile by combining traditional ITSM frameworks such as ITIL along with agile development philosophy. DevOps, Agile, and VeriSM enable agility and better collaboration. Therefore, support teams should be trained in these frameworks for faster execution. However, it is important to understand the service desk’s mission and vision before implementing any framework. Businesses implement more than one framework and therefore, an integrated approach is recommended combining more than one framework.  

According to an HDI survey, 38 % of organizations use a combination of two or more frameworks to support IT. Businesses need to react faster to remain competitive and agility is crucial to achieving this

Voice of Customer

IT support of the future will go beyond just technical support agents. The agents will also act as valued partners to their customers. Support agents will act as the Voice of Customer, VoC. The modern IT support agent will be an innovator who brings change across the organization, not just within IT. They will be business agents, not just IT agents and they will bridge the communication gap that exists between IT and end-users. Support professionals will also act as digital leaders supporting digital transformation initiatives. And in IT teams, Key Performance Indicators and success metrics will be centered around customers.

Consequently, service skills will be highly sought-after and hiring the right people will become crucial to the overall success of IT. The shift from technical support to service-centric operations is critical to the success of IT.  

Summary

With every technological leap, drastic changes are bound to happen within the workplace in the way users interact or behave. There is a need for IT to get closer to the business, collaborating and reporting up to a line of business leaders. Forward-thinking is essential for IT Manager to prepare ahead for the revolution. To summarize, following skillsets are essential for an IT support professional to handle the IT revolution.   

  • Data Analysis
  • Customer service skills
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Security protocol & best practices  
  • Agile philosophy

 

Cover Image by Nidhi

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