How to Run an IT Service Desk in a Hybrid or Remote World


Business users and IT service desk analysts must be allowed to operate outside the office. Thus infrastructure and operations management must change how they deliver IT assistance.

The IT service desk is a crucial element of the digital workplace, yet before the epidemic, it was hardly ever seen working remotely. IT support and the business users they serve were compelled to quickly adapt to the COVID-19 situation, which required much staff to stay home.

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According to Chris Matchett, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, “the pandemic creates an opportunity for infrastructure and operations (I&O) management to expedite the IT service desk evolution.” “New IT service models will enable organizations to embrace the hybrid workplace of the future, even as some people return to offices.”

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Here are four strategies to ensure that the service desk adapts to your company’s changing needs during the epidemic and after the ultimate “return to normal,” crucial IT support channels are kept open.

  1. Make remote tool access possible

Since IT support personnel cannot physically be present during lockdowns, IT service desks must be staffed differently. To minimize service interruptions, aim to recreate the IT service desk analyst’s workstation remotely.

Remote IT service desk analysts need the following:

The use of the ITSM tool. Most ITSM (IT Service Management) products are hosted in SaaS and are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection or a VPN. Older on-premises ITSM products must be opened up to remote access and given analyst client software

Consumer communications for business. This should provide access to all office collaboration and communication tools and a phone connected to the IT support desk contact center call queue system.

Tools for endpoint administration and remote control. This should contain secure remote control tools, diagnostic tools, identity access control tools, and access to VPN and ZTNA tools to address connectivity concerns, depending on the analyst’s level of skill.

  1. Control customer expectations

Most IT support service-level agreements (SLAs) are rigid; they often specify target response and resolve times of one, four, and eight hours for high, medium, and standard priority requests, respectively.

Even if there is a limited supply, business consumers who employ remote services and home-based equipment need more significant support. SLA targets are frequently unmet due to the rise in demand, potential employee shortages, and the requirement to support unfamiliar apps and devices.

Offer a new interim SLA outlining how the I&O support organization will respond at this time rather than concentrating on target resolution times. Use this chance to determine or confirm which business processes are essential, which IT services they employ, and which corporate clients will use them. Please make sure the IT service desk staff, whether in an office or at home, is aware of this information and prepared to put it to use in setting the appropriate priorities for issues and requests.

  1. Lessen demand for IT service desks

Many I&O leaders observe an increase in support demand due to introducing new services and technology. Although this demand peaked at the beginning of the epidemic, it is anticipated to stay high, particularly as some workers return to their offices.

By introducing asynchronous Level 1 contact methods, such as live chat or email for low-priority concerns, you can quickly reduce demand on Level 1 phone-based contact channels. These can maintain phone lines open for urgent issues and are simpler to access remotely than contact center telephone queues. When VoIP is not an option, this can help lower phone costs for remote workers.

Start or expedite the implementation of Level 0 contact channel programs like peer support and self-service to relieve additional pressure on the IT service desk. One advantage of peer support through collaborative platforms is that the question, the responses, and ultimately the solution are visible to everyone within the organization. As a result, the collaborative platform effectively becomes a crowdsourced knowledge base with business terminology. This can ease the burden on IT, and support teams, divert comparable inquiries away from Level 1 support, and bring the answer closer to the business user for quicker resolution.

  1. Get ready for longer-term adjustments

It would help if you prepared for the pandemic’s long-term effects. The capacity of IT service desks to handle the steady influx of difficulties will eventually come under longer-term pressure due to the backlog of lower-priority incidents, requests, and problems. Bring your device (BYOD) will also be expected, and even after their offices reopen, more business consumers will work full- or part-time remotely.

If you can navigate the turns, this gives you a chance. After employees return to the office, business consumers will rely on alternate support channels. When they work from home or wait a long time for IT support, they might learn to be more self-sufficient in handling their IT problems. This makes it easier to gain support for and participation in peer support efforts.

For many years, the most widely used support channels for business consumers have been peer help channels like asking coworkers and conducting a quick Google search. I&O executives have taken a while to notice this tendency, but those who have taken action through collaborative support channels are already better prepared to handle the current situation. I&O leaders should embrace these trends by investing in collaboration features for ITSM to be ready for changes in how business consumers interact with and get IT to help.


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